Marriage is work. Love is a choice. Forgiveness is to be given continuously. Hardship is to be expected.
The “world” decided years ago to start pumping this soul-mate, bliss filled, travel the world weekly & dine on romance daily idea that’s destroyed the root of what a real marriage looks like. That’s why so many either fail at it or people live miserably for the majority of the journey. It’s the expectations. It’s the idea that the honeymoon WILL actually last forever.
“What? Wait. Where’d my fairy tale go? Why does this joy tank feel emptier some days, more than full? Someone forgot to tell me this part,” part.
I’m 42. 26 of those years have been spent in a relationship with a spouse. I’ve learned a lot & some days I feel like I haven’t learned a thing. But, what I do know is that marriage is a seasonal journey.
There’s a time resembling summer. Lots of heat. Everything’s exciting, so much energy & longing to do everything possible. Travel, explore, enjoy, experience, make the best use of time. The sun is always shining on the relationship. Life always seems better in the summer.
Then comes marital fall- things cool down. A new wind blows. It’s fresh but chilly. It causes the beauty of summer to change its colors. At first the new wind is welcomed, then the leaves of circumstance turn darker & start falling. This season is comfortable & sometimes cozy, but not as joyous as summer. There may be sun, but the heat has faded to something cooler & some days you really wish you had the fun & laid back parts of midsummer marriage.
Marital winter arrives. Everything feels like something has died. There’s so much coldness you don’t want to leave the bed some days. It’s hard work to keep the heat up. The days are long. There’s no harvest in sight, no sun. You don’t even feel comfortable in your own skin. You wonder why winter is so harsh & what’s the point of this season anyway? What does ice & bone chilling discomfort ever produce that’s productive?
Then comes the spring of marriage- new life. A time to celebrate regrowth & fresh blooms. To reflect back on the frigid, cold times & embrace the warmth once more. You feel the joy returning & gratitude allows everything God’s reviving to be caught with your eyes & heart. He’s restoring things. Some things will be restored differently, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be better just because it’s different now.
You see, seasons. You won’t always stay in summer. Your spouse may be in a winter month while you’re in the spring. The fall may feel like actual falling, but this is where we go & grow or where we allow the love we’ve planted to die.
You can’t know the beauty of the plush landscape without remembering what the barren land felt like; what it taught you. You enjoy the harvest when you don’t use up your summer feast all at once, but take the bounty with you into winter; sowing seeds for fruit at a later time.
One thing I know about the marriage land is that it remains fertile & plentiful when the Master Gardener is allowed to be the caretaker. His job may take time. It may seem old fashioned the way He works, with all these “new age” ways to do things. Trusting in His methods often makes no sense. But, replacing His promise to heal my land & revive what’s been hidden with my “quick grow” ideas, always leaves my marriage & my family starving with an empty storehouse.
This may not seem like a typical, media geared, beautiful anniversary message, but it’s a truthful one. Never let anyone or thing steer you in a direction that promises you a partnership of full time sunshine & summer.
Some weeks you’ll plant, some you’ll wait, some you’ll feel hungry, some replenished, some you’ll till the land alone, & for many more you’ll experience moments you never dreamed possible.
You’ll see the hand print of God continuously stamped on the snow capped mountain as beautifully as the beach sunset. The seasons won’t feel better or worse when you accept that each one needs the other to produce.
Despite your marital season I hope you embrace each one & remember no matter where you are, the light of the Son is always shining down on you. Pull back the blinds. Raise the windows & welcome the winter breeze to blow through, just like the fall. Rest in the place you are in. New crops are just under the soil & fresh blooms will come.
Happiest of days to my forever…. there’s no-one I’d rather be hungry or full with; scattering seeds together has been a process of deep trust, but look at the life God has grown. These babies, the miracles, this restoration. The healing, the hard times, the laughter, the silence. The praise, the swearing, the confusion. The memories layered upon memories. The past, the present, the future. What a ride!
I pray we always allow God to lay us down in His holiest of water & keep raising this marriage to new life. One day the big stuff will be small & the small stuff won’t cause us to even break a sweat.
No matter where my mind or body may go, my soul is always with you in Maui. XO. J