If you knew your marriage would change in the way you know that summer will always eventually turn into fall, would you be more inclined to stay?
A couple weeks ago, I read a blog post that touched my heart. Andrea Howe had shared how she and her husband have made their marriage work. My favorite part was when she noted (and I’m paraphrasing) how a couple’s love for one another can change during different periods in their relationship, noting different “seasons” and what one’s love might look like depending upon the season.
I couldn’t help but wonder how many couples would choose to hold on if they understood this concept. How many of them could find some comfort knowing that things won’t always be the way they are at this exact moment? But countless couples don’t get the opportunity to see that, simply because they don’t realize that perhaps a new season is upon them. They give up. I also thought about how differently I might respond to various situations if I reminded myself that whatever is happening in our lives at this particular moment is only temporary.
For the past few weeks I have been groaning about how hot it is outside. A walk from my car to the gate to pick up my daughter from school has me boiling and longing for frozen yogurt. But the thing is, as miserable as the heat makes me, I know fall is on the horizon (tomorrow marks the first day!). I know in a matter of weeks I will have a preference for hot cocoa, and begin tucking my jeans into boots. I know that I will dress my girls in knitted sweaters and indulge in pumpkin everything. I find a bit of comfort knowing that cooler days lie ahead.
When it comes to my marriage, like most couples, my husband and I have faced our share of challenges. And even our most beautiful seasons have been sprinkled with hardships and tough choices. There are times when our love is easy and times when it is hard, but as I noted, everything we are encountering is temporary, including the moments in which we are annoyed (sometimes with each other but most often with an outside source that causes us to take it out on each other) or feeling like we have given all we’ve got.
Because life is hard it is only natural that marriage is hard. But life is also ever-changing, which means there’s a chance that the state of your marriage will change. I am banking on the fact that it probably will. As individuals we are constantly evolving, changing – growing. Variables such as commitment, communication and time give way for the most beautiful of seasons, but they also give us the strength to weather the ones that are less than desirable. The ones that are draining and so tough to weather that perhaps in the end we find ourselves clinging to one another with a reaffirmed appreciation for the fact that we do not travel this road alone.
As a love and relationship blogger I sometimes have moments in which I wonder if I’m even qualified to give advice. Those moments usually follow an argument with my husband. But the thing is, I’m not really here to give advice. In fact, I don’t like to give advice because I’m not an expert. I am however a human being with a story to share. And I share my own experiences in hopes that it will help others think or see things in a different light or even provide affirmation, even if it is just helping you see that you aren’t the “only one.” Others have been exactly where you are now. Other couples are exactly where you and your partner are now. Perhaps even me.
Despite it only being three years of marriage for my husband and me (and several years of dating), I can attribute much of our success to simply showing up and honoring our commitment to be there for one another in the good times and bad. During our favorite seasons, the ones that feel glorious, and during the ones in which we find ourselves dragging our feet, tired, irritable, and wondering where we went wrong, seasons like the one I am in now; a season where there are days when I feel like my husband is holding me up because some days I struggle to stand, we show up.
If you’ve got a good thing but are going through a rough time, perhaps you will find some comfort and/or encouragement in Andrea’s words. I did. She’s a wise woman and I appreciate her transparency. Remember that the seasons always change so that perhaps when you find yourself in the midst of one that feels uncomfortable and never-ending, you can remind yourself of what is on the horizon. And who knows, perhaps it will be your most favorite season yet.
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