“There were once two ship builders. One was building a canoe and the other was building a ship. The canoe builder quickly finished his canoe and into the water he went where he scoffed at the ship builder by saying “Ha, I made it to the water first”. The ship builder didn’t flinch and continued to build his ship. One day, the waves of the ship knocked the canoe builder out of his canoe.” Then softly yet with authority, he eye-balled me further and said simply, “Build your ship.”

This brilliant metaphor was spoken over my life by my Chiropractor, (I know right, who else would have a Chiro who has become like a Coach to them?), when I was feeling a tad overwhelmed and stressed at the task at hand of building my marriage coaching business. Dr Dan, as I like to call him, nailed it with this one. He arrested my attention. Yes, I need to build my ship. I’ve known for a while that this thing was going to be big and I’ve wanted to build something that would reach many couples. How many can I reach if I just try to build a canoe? Canoes are not the most stable sea faring vessels. They tip over easily. They aren’t really used for the long haul or for the long term. A ship is needed. A really big ship is needed.

Now, everything I am doing has this mantle attached to it. I consider everything I am doing, to ensure I am doing it with purpose and with direction. This simple phrase “Build Your Ship” has made me even consider, am I building my marriage in a way that enables people to find safety from the harsh realities of stormy seas? Am I building a life that gives hope to others and does it encourage them to build their own lives and marriages so that they too can transport others to a safe harbour? Is my “building” inspiring others to “build” as well?        

My hope is that it does. My hope is that by me building a worthy vessel, many will follow and decide they too want to build their ship. That they would see the benefit of the hard work, that they would feel the fulfillment and satisfaction of a job well done. That the rewards will be eternal and that lives and families would be changed forever.    

But how? How do I build my ship? How do I work out what next? Simply, one step at a time. And until the first step is complete, I will remain firm and move on to the second step when the time is right.
This is the formula for building a marriage too. One step at a time. Especially for those who are not finding marriage easy at the moment. I would encourage you, one step at a time. What is your first step? Is it to look your spouse in the eyes when they return home from work and greet them with a smile? Is it to say “Hi” when they do come home? Is it to touch their arm as you pass by? Is it to thank them out loud for something, anything you have noticed they do or say? Is it to be grateful for your life (there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for and gratitude changes the atmosphere of not just your internal world but also your external world!) Is it to send a quick SMS to say “have a great day” even if you don’t really mean it? Is it choosing to bite your tongue when you really want to say your piece and choosing PEACE instead?

What’s your first step? What will you commit to? (By the way, I know firsthand how difficult these little steps can seem. I know what it feels like to think you’re the only one who ever makes the changes and who is always wanting better so in no way am I saying this is simple and easy. I know it is not easy but I am saying it is worth it.)

BUILD YOUR SHIP and if you really can’t find a reason to do so, then I’d love to chat with you and give you a place of safety and equip you to charter the waters before you.

About the Author:

My name is Sandra Denton and my husband, Matt, and I have lived in Sydney our whole married lives. We were married in 1990 as young kids who really loved each other, or, as we now know, thought we loved each other.