As we enter a new season, I find my thoughts slowly shifting from warm, sunny days enjoying the freedom and flexibility of a summer schedule to cool crisp air, shorter days, and a focused daily routine packed with activities. Fall has arrived!
With each new season I am reminded of the seasons of both life and marriage. There are the broader seasons, newlyweds, raising children, and empty nesters, and smaller possible seasons, woven throughout the broader seasons, such as birth, death, job loss, new job, relocation, teenagers, health problems, or caring for aging parents. Like Hurricane Florence arriving as the weather patterns began to change from summer to fall, often the shift from one season to the next in life can feel like a raging storm. Whether the resulting change is positive or negative, there is usually a lot of stress involved with any transition.
God permits the change of seasons in our lives and in our marriages for the same reason He created the natural change of seasons – to allow for growth. Although a season may initially appear negative, a cancer diagnosis or job loss, there is always a greater good that God wants to bring from it and will bring from it IF you cooperate with His grace in your life and in your marriage. Positives can be found in and will materialize from the less desirable seasons of life. Our marriages can grow deeper with each season we pass through when we walk in union as a couple with God in the lead.
Perhaps you are in a season of marriage where you are not walking in unison as a couple. Despite how difficult and painful this season might be, trust that God is working and has not abandoned you! Never lose hope or become numb, pain has the power to motivate you to take the action necessary and to pray with fervor to find peace in the storm until God in his wisdom and in His time brings you to the next season of your marriage.
My husband and I recently emerged this past spring from a long winter in our own marriage. For three years in a row, Troy needed to travel for his job three or four days a week, every week. With five children including one with special needs, the sudden death of both of my parents, a few health issues, and very minimal extended family support, life took a substantial toll on me. For my husband, the weekly transition from staying in hotels, eating out meal after meal, and being in the constant company of co-workers to jumping back into family life as husband and father was challenging and often exhausting. Misunderstandings among us were common, emotions were high, and next to discussing the never-ending needs and demands of a large family, our conversations were often centered around how to cope with the taxing season in which we found ourselves. We knew God brought us into this season for a reason, but like the trees in winter, our love felt temporarily dormant.
Leaves fall from a tree in the fall to allow new life to grow during the winter. When spring comes, the buds burst forth from the branches. With proper rain and sun, the buds grow into lovely leaves and bring beauty to the world. We cannot physically see what is going on inside the tree during the Winter, we just trust that although the tree appears lifeless, new life is growing inside.
Now that Troy and I have emerged and entered a renewed springtime in our marriage, we look back and see clearly how God was forming us during that time for the mission we now feel He is calling us to. Each challenge, misunderstanding, and long conversation ultimately deepened our love and strengthened our marriage. As uncomfortable and agonizing as it was at times, Troy and I both had to swallow our pride and push into the pain of the circumstance so that God could use it to transform our marriage.
Whatever season in which you find yourself, know that God is always working, always moving, and always wanting your marriage to grow deeper so it can produce more abundant and life-giving fruit! He has a unique plan for your marriage.