This October, my wife and I will celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary. It has been many years of ups and downs and highs and lows. We’ve experienced the best of marriage and the worst of marriage. And, although we don’t have the perspective of a couple who have been married for many decades, we do have a view that I believe transcends years.
Marriages have regular seasons to them.
Much like the seasons of the year, I believe that marriages go through specific seasons and there are different things required of both the husband and wife during those seasons so that they go well.
- Spring – this is the season where things are new. This can be when you are newlyweds or when you experience the birth of a child or when you’re an empty nester. Things are new and exciting…but they can also be scary and unsure. Conflict often comes in the form of fears about the future and disagreements on the best way to move forward.
- Summer – this is the season where you are in between. Know what I mean? It’s like the time for a child between first grade and second grade. For a marriage, this is the time immediately after you’ve decided that you’re not having any more children or when you’ve settled into your forever home or you’re in the career that you could see yourself in until retirement. This can be tough because you struggle to find things to look forward to. You know that a new season is right around the corner, but you cling to the past like a safety blanket that you don’t want to ever let go of…because it was familiar and comfortable. Husbands and wives during this season begin to look to each other for excitement and hope, but can be left disappointed because their partner lacks the ability to provide these things like the thrill of the things mentioned in the Spring season.
- Fall – this is the season where things change. A new city and a new job. Your youngest child beginning kindergarten. Your youngest child graduating from high school. A parent passes away or a spouse is diagnosed with a terminal disease. Change is happening…some of it expected and some of it unexpected. Change requires a husband and wife to communicate at a level where Spring and Summer didn’t. Change requires patience and flexibility. During this season, a marriage can easily take a turn towards Spring – but it rises and falls on the couple’s ability to react positively to the change.
- Winter – this is the season where things are finishing. A spouse graduating from college. A spouse retiring. Paying off your debt including a mortgage. Regardless of what is coming to an end, a couple that finds themselves in the middle of a Winter season must remember that although things are ending, it is not a reason to stop. As one chapter ends, another one should begin. It is important that a couple support one another and help each other move towards a new chapter. Collaboration is key. Different than other seasons, this one requires a husband and wife to create a shared vision for tomorrow – together.
The first step for each of these seasons is to recognize the season that you find yourself in. Once you’ve done that, you will be on your way to working through the season in a healthy way.
Remember, each season has ups and downs. No one season is bad or good in itself. It is important to move through each season as a team with love and to not linger in any one season too long.
What about you and your spouse? Which of these seasons do you find yourself in? Why? Comment below and let me know! I’d love to hear from you!!