We’re in the middle of some crazy weather patterns. It’s in the lower 80’s one day, and then the lower 30’s the next. It’s like going through all the seasons in the span of a week or two.
Marriages go through seasons, and each season requires something different from spouses. To have a long and happy marriage, you must learn to navigate seven seasons…
- The honeymoon. This is the the season where everything is new. It’s just the two of you, you’re both spending a lot of time and attention on one another and there’s plenty of playfulness and passion. This is the easiest of the seasons.
- Building a home. In this season, the two of you begin to establish your routines and rituals. Passion begins to make room for projects as you turn your home into a place of comfort and refuge.
- Beginning a family. This is the season where you begin to make room for children. You begin to divert your attention toward pregnancy, nurseries, and sharing your life with an infant.
- Raising a family. This season is filled with the frenzied activity of school-aged children. At home, there are meals to make, laundry to do, baths to take and homework to oversee. Outside of home, there are school activities, sports practices and doctor visits. This is also the season where many are building their career. All this brings on the added stressors of limited time, limited energy and limited finances.
- Launching a family. This season begins with teenagers and struggles over forms of self-expression, friendship choices and who’s going to be in control. When those teenagers become college students, there are worries over the cost of tuition and the direction of their life and career.
- Empty nest and reinventing marriage. For so long, your marriage relationship has felt at the mercy of seasons #3-5. Now the two of you have the time and resources to reinvest in your relationship, but you have to re-learn how to be just a couple again…and it can be awkward. So much so that some marriages fall apart at this season, because the only thing they had in common was the kids.
- Enjoying grandchildren and managing health issues. This stage of marriage is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, your heart thrills at thought of your grandchildren. On the other hand, you become more concerned about managing your increasing health issues.
These seasons are undeniable and inescapable. Couples who have long and happy marriages are couples who face these seasons and manage them well. To navigate the seasons of marriage well you must…
- Be realistic about the season you’re in. Not every season will feel as wonderful or peaceful as the honeymoon season. It is the nature of some seasons to be more difficult, and you need to be realistic about your desires and expectations in each season. It’s unrealistic to think that playfulness and passion should be the same at the launching a family stage as it was in the honeymoon stage. They are two different seasons and must be treated as such.
- Don’t surrender to the season you’re in. The roadblocks for closeness increase with each season, but just because you’re in a difficult season of marriage doesn’t mean you should just give up on feeding your relationship. Yes, the demands of raising children can take a bite out of the passion and playfulness of marriage, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on it all together. Just because your teens are turning on you and driving you crazy doesn’t mean you have to do the same with one another. No matter what season you’re in, you can invest in your relationship with your spouse. It may not be everything you want, but it can probably be more than it is.
Yes, it’s a delicate balance, but being realistic without surrendering in each season of marriage is the key to a long and happy marriage.
In what stage of marriage are you currently? Where do you need to be more realistic with your desires and expectations in this stage? Leave a comment and share what stage of marriage you’re in and one way you’ve found to keep from surrendering to that particular stage?
Copyright © 2017 Bret Legg