"...but time and chance happens to them all." Ecclesiastes 9:11b
Mr N and I had a wonderfully short courtship filled with love and romance. He was always holding my hands, looking into my eyes and saying all sorts of sweet somethings to me. Ah! I just couldn't wait to spend the rest of life with this man, who adored me. In fact, I wanted to spend my eternity with him (and I still do). But here is the thing: the hand-holding. sweet talking, sizzling romance that had enveloped me was but a season.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8
This August, my marriage will be 7 years old. Woot! woot!! In these years, I have come to understand that in marriage, seasons change just like the weather changes. These seasons don't take place annually exactly like the weather but they are there. A proper understanding of each season helps you prepare for the next. It helps you handle the not-so-so-good seasons gracefully. It helps you keep your light on in the dark.
Here are the four seasons of a marriage:
The Bible tells us about the sons of Issachar who had an understanding of the times so they knew which course to take (1 Chronicles 12:32). This is why I believe God is reaching out to you with this word of truth. It is the truth that there are seasons in your marriage and you need to understand that whatever you are going through is just a phase. Don't make permanent decisions in a temporal marital season. You can't keep wearing winter coats in the summer. You have to adjust to each season accordingly. This is how to maximise every season:
- In the spring of your marriage, spend as much time with your spouse as you can. Exchange romantic messages. Give each other back rubs and massages. Hold your hands and pray together. Prayer might be the last thing on your mind in this season because it is all cozy and sweet. You might not feel like you "need" God but trust me, you need Him. It is time to build a bank of prayer. Also, if your spouse is not the praying type, it is easier to get him/her to pray with you in this season. Speak positive things into your marriage. Feed on the word of God and gather some strength so you don't faint in the day of adversity.
- In the summer of your marriage, learn how to ignore. Do not sweat the little things. Pick up the shoes your spouse kept in that weird place. Be selfless. In a time like this, it is easy to let little things spark up a big flame. Focus on what you can give rather than what you can receive. Forgive before your spouse hurts you.
- In the fall of your marriage, don't give in to the looming gloom. All might not seem well. All might not seem favourable. The future might seem bleak but you have to keep a positive mind. Focus on what you have rather than what you do not have. Focus on what is working in your marriage rather than what is not working.
-In the winter of your marriage, do what Jesus did when He went to the garden of Gethsemane. Talk to the Father. Scripture says He is close to the broken-hearted. Don't pray on one end and keep hurting your spouse on the other. Be purposefully one with your spouse in the midst of it all. This sometimes means losing yourself, ignoring hurtful things and valuing your marriage above all else. And always remember that spring will come. Don't give up just yet.
Dear friend, I do not know about you but let me tell you about me. Sometimes, I give up easily. I try to back out in the heat. I try to run away from anything or situation that doesn't feel good to me. I always want the springs in my marriage to last forever but the seasons change. When that happens, commitment is hard. But if your marriage must thrive, you have to stay committed both in the good and in the bad times. If you keep looking for the exit door, you will hardly fix anything.
Here is the ultimate thing!
To spend eternity with God.
What shall it profit you if you gain the most respectful, romantic and reasonable spouse yet you lose your soul? Nothing! In all these, our eyes should be on our ultimate goal which is to be in Heaven where there are no nights nor tears. In that place of light, there are no undesirable seasons. When we focus on this one thing, we wouldn't lose sleep over things that do not matter. Like how he flung his socks across the room. Ha!
To marriages that last!
How else can we handle the seasons in our marriages?