In the vast sea of Reality TV shows, one rises to the surface for me – The Amazing Race. The show debuted on CBS in 2001 in the US, and has won 8 Primetime Emmy Awards. The premise involves 11 teams of 2 people in a race around certain locations around the world, completing tasks and trying not to be eliminated by being the last to arrive at the check-in mat with the host, Phil Keoghan waiting. All this is done for the fun, challenge, oh and a million dollars, too.
I was watching an episode with my wife and I noticed the different parts of the race. There are cards placed in a marker box placed at certain points of the race, and are drawn by the teams as they locate and arrive at the box. They include;
1. Detour, in which the team can choose one or the other task to complete. Once the task is completed, the team can progress forward,
2. Roadblock, a task in which only one of the team members must complete to continue,
3. Fast Forward, a task that once completed by a certain team, can bypass the remaining tasks for that leg,
4. Yield, a card that will allow one team to give to another team and cause them the stop the race for a predetermined amount of time,
5. U-Turn, in which a team must complete the other task on a detour that they initially chose not to complete,
(Note: There are other cards on various seasons, but we will stop here.)
I was thinking about how marriage can seem like the Amazing Race, and how some of the elements of the show would actually be good teaching points for couples.
One of the greatest elements of the show is the fact that we need someone else in life, and especially a relationship. As skilled, rich, athletic, or intelligent we are, we will face a situation that someone else brings in a skill that we don’t have. The two keys in life are; 1. Know what you are good at, and 2. Know what you aren’t good at and find others that can fill that void in you.
Early on in a relationship, people can hold reality back by dressing impeccably, not pushing certain issues, and avoiding difficulties, but life brings difficulties. The Amazing Race is a great metaphor for all relationships. It is interesting to see two people who may think they know each other, but as they face adversity and struggle, the “real” person comes out. Some dating relationships don’t last after the race, but some do. Life isn’t just about the fun and easy parts of a relationship, those are the rewards. Most of life is facing, dealing with or overcoming difficult situations. We all have difficulty, but how you deal with it is what matters. We are much stronger than we know, but the only way to see it is if we are tested or face difficulties.
There are times that you are tired of a certain circumstance, and want to give up. Obviously, there isn’t a million dollars at stake for continuing on in a relationship, but growing in a relationship and helping your partner to grow, as well can be worth more than a million dollars.
We all grow at different stages, and you may have to wait for your partner to ‘get,’ a concept or responsibility in a relationship. Waiting is a part of life. Patience in a relationship is caring enough about your partner to not put your mold on them, but understanding that the world isn’t like you.
There are choices in life. Which path to take, which way to handle certain circumstances, etc. Some will hold off on making a choice, because they fear it will be the wrong choice. Many great lessons can be learned by stepping out and making a choice, even a bad choice. Some learn by seeing the bad choices of someone else, but most of the time we must learn the hard way and make bad choices ourselves.
There are points in our life when we are progressing forward, but all of the sudden we need to step backward and focus on a situation in the past that was not resolved. Life is full of tasks undone. There may be a situation in our past that we thought we had avoided for so long, that it faded away, but life can hand us a Roadblock or U-Turn card for it. Sometimes we cannot move forward, unless we face and resolve a task in our past that was unresolved. It it nice to know we have someone running in this race with us that will be there for us through it.
I do enjoy The Amazing Race with my wife. Even though she and I have different tastes in shows from time to time, we agree on this one. If you have never watched the Amazing Race, I would recommend that you try it out. If you do watch it, I hope will watch it now with new set of eyes seeing the ups and downs of relationships, that may help yours.