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Over the years of this column, I have been privileged to bring you wisdom and advice from some true superstars in the world of marriage enrichment. I’m referring to people like Gary Chapman, Kevin Leman, Greg Smalley, Jay and Laura Laffoon and many, many more. Today’s guest columnists, Bill and Pam Farrell, certainly deserve to be recognized in that group. They have written this column for us three or four times and have always come through with helpful, practical insights.

I’ve also enjoyed my radio interviews with them as I plan to do this Monday on “TWOgether as ONE.” The show can be heard at 6 p.m. every Monday on KLJH 107.1FM.

Pam and Bill are international speakers and authors of more than 40 books, including the best-selling “Men Are Like Waffles, Woman Are Like Spaghetti,” “Red Hot Monogamy” and “10 Best Decisions a Man Can Make.” For free relationship resources, visit their website at love-wise.com.

I hope you enjoy reading this column, and I hope you take their suggestion at the end to apply what they have written to your own marriage. Fortunately, you did not marry a clone of yourself. You and your spouse are different in so many ways. One of the great challenges of marriage is to learn, appreciate and work with those differences.

What is my pace? What is our pace?

It is impossible to be involved with people and not be busy. So, how do you figure out how busy you should be as a couple? It begins with finding your pace. In Bill’s newest book, “10 Best Decisions a Man Can Make,” he shares a simple way to identify and evaluate the pace at which you were designed to live.

Bicycles have gears on them because there is pace you can peddle all day long without getting fatigued. Regardless of the terrain you are riding on, you can shift gears so your feet stay at the same cadence. To help with the discussion, I, Bill, have come up with five categories that describe the possibilities for the speed at which each of us can live: the muscle car, the sports car, the semi, the mail truck and the tractor. (This is a fun activity to do on a date!)

The muscle car

Muscle cars have big engines and are designed to go in a straight line with an abundance of pull and dramatic speed. This is the person who:

  • Likes to go fast and stay focused forward
  • Charges hard toward goals
  • Makes quick decisions, pursues big opportunities
  • Schedules activities that demand intensity and require his best effort
  • Easily grows restless
  • Can often be heard to say, “Let’s go!”

The sports car

Some of you move more like sports cars. These vehicles are fun, agile and quick. They prefer roads that have lots of turns and quick transitions. This is the person who:

  • Lives for the surprise around the next corner of life
  • Is most interested in new opportunities, new experiences and new discoveries
  • Gets bored when there are no spontaneous enhancements
  • Unlike the muscle car, does not just want to go fast in just one direction.
  • Loves variety and epiphanies

The semi

Some people operate in life more like a semi-truck. This is the person who:

  • Starts and stops slowly
  • Plans out and takes time to navigate course corrections
  • Once he gets moving, can travel long distances at consistent speeds without a lot of variation
  • Maintains a steady and even pace
  • Doesn’t move as fast as muscle cars and sports cars but can carry large amounts of responsibility
  • Faithfully plods along until the work is done
  • Is not spectacular or nimble but keeps the rest of us going
  • Forms the backbone of our communities, our organizations and our churches.

The mail truck

This is the person who has a sign on his back, "Makes Frequent Stops." This is the person who:

  • Is intensely interested in individuals
  • Finds life is consistently interrupted by conversations and projects to help people
  • Makes individuals feel important by being engaging and encouraging
  • Starts with energy and then stops to help
  • Eventually gets back on task but justifies the delay because others were helped

The tractor

Tractors are incredibly useful but they move slow. This is the person who:

  • Fails to accomplish tasks when driven too fast
  • Is easy to follow and keep track of
  • Doesn’t make sharp turns
  • Patiently waits for the strategic time
  • Tends to have one speed and works at that speed all day.
  • Is often taken for granted as they perform some of the most important work on earth.

Which of the five vehicles best represents the pace at which you like to live? Share your response with your spouse and then listen to their answers. You might have to compromise as a couple and go at your pace for midweek and your mate’s on the weekend — or certain times of the year (I am thinking of those married to athletic coaches or CPAs). The vital task is to decide together how to create a pace you and your and family function well at.

Ron Price is the owner and operator of Productive Outcomes Inc. and the author of "PLAY NICE in Your Sandbox at Work," an e-book available on Amazon. He can be reached at 505-324-6328.

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