Learning more about each other while working towards #couplegoals
By Focus on the Family Singapore | 22 January 2020
Do you know what weather your marriage is in? Take the quiz to be equipped with practical steps to keep your marriage growing and thriving.
It’s hot. You’re sweaty. But it’s fun because your days are packed with activities.
Differences still exist, but there is a deeper understanding of each other’s needs, wants, and temperaments. That feeling of fulfilment is not dampened even when things are not perfect.
You may not have met all your #couplegoals and are still working through the daily grind, but you and your spouse share a deeper connection.
When misunderstandings occur, they are less likely to side-track you both. You and your spouse take on challenges with new ease. There’s little second guessing about each other’s actions or motives – you are stronger and more stable as a unit.
You are satisfied and secure in your spouse’s love.
The stresses of a Sunny marriage
In hot and humid weather, flowers and fruits flourish; so do less pleasant things like mould and bacteria! Is there hidden mould in any corner of your marriage? Or are there any areas in each of your lives that exposes the marriage to bacterial growth?
Your past experiences and upbringing may affect your capacity to give wholly in the marriage. Or there may be a deep-seated issue threatening the trust in your marriage. An addiction, perhaps? Or a certain friendship with unclear boundaries that you have been turning to for comfort and acceptance?
Let your marriage be the safe space for you and your spouse to be most vulnerable and speak honestly. Choose to work through the matters that are hard to talk about.
Seek out other married couples or mentors for counsel and support. On your own, the problems may seem insurmountable, but in the company of like-minded friends, you may gain new perspectives and encouragement to keep going in your marriage.
The sun is out! You want to enjoy what we you can do in this weather, so let’s work hard at enjoying each other more.
Making the best of a Sunny marriage
For the husband
For the wife
Couple conversations in this weather
A thriving marriage in every weather
Marriage is hard work, but worth it.
Every bride and groom enters into their union with a promise to have and to hold, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until death do they part.
When the marriage hits a rough patch, consider how you can live out your vows. As someone once said: It is not love that sustains the marriage, but marriage that sustains the love.
“I didn’t marry you because you were perfect… I married you because you gave me a promise. That promise made up for your faults. And that promise I gave you made up for mine. Two imperfect people got married, and it was the promise that made the marriage. And when our children were growing up, it wasn’t a house that protected them; and it wasn’t our love that protected them; it was the promise.” – Thornton Wilder
There can be beauty and growth in each weather your marriage is in. So, hold tight to the good, work hard at the difficult, and commit to journey through life together.
No matter what weather your marriage is in, you can make your relationship with your spouse the best that it can be.
© 2021 Focus on the Family Singapore. All rights reserved.
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Can hope be rekindled when it has died?
The thunderstorm is raging, with ominous thunder and wild winds. In this weather, you feel like it is time to call it quits.
The warmth of the sun is no longer present – your words, your actions are cold and harsh. You look around your home and marriage, and feel like everything has been in vain. There’s no trace of love or positive things to show for the years you put in.
Your conversations are functional at best. Your interactions are equally distant. Perhaps you both feel that it is better to spend less time together because that means less likelihood for conflict.
Separate beds, zero intimacy – each with your own lives despite living under the same roof.
Some settle for marriage as a living arrangement for the children’s benefit; as soon as the children are independent, they want to go their separate ways.
Your marriage may unexpectedly enter into Stormy weather with the discovery of infidelity or it may gradually drift into it from prolonged periods of negligence and inaction.
Yet what is more important than the current circumstances is how couples choose to respond.
Gary Chapman has this to say: “All couples face difficulties, and all couples have differences. These differences may centre on money, in-laws, religion, or any other area of life. Couples who fail to negotiate these differences will find themselves in [a place] created not by the difficulties of life but by the manner in which a couple responds to those difficulties. When one or both marriage partners insist on ‘my way or not at all’, they are moving their marriage toward [a cold, harsh, and bitter marriage].”1
In a Stormy marriage, problems seem big and solutions appear far away. You are hurt, lonely and discouraged. There are regrets and you’ve replayed many “if only” scenarios in your mind. You yearn for a marriage in better weather, but it feels like it’s not going to come.
The hope in a Stormy marriage
Can hope be restored in this storm?
Desperation can bring out tenacity, which we didn’t know existed in us before—a desperation that drives us to fight for our marriage.
It takes only one party to put the marriage into Stormy weather, but it will take both to move out of it.
Be open to seek professional help from a marriage counsellor or family therapist. Do not isolate yourself from friends and other married couples; your community and support system are crucial for you and your spouse to walk out of this rough storm.
Remember, the weather can change. The storm is here, but it doesn’t have to last forever. You can make a change.
Making the best of a Stormy marriage
When all hope seems to be gone, take a moment to consider your marriage vows. As someone once said: It is not love that sustains the marriage, but marriage that sustains the love.
Your marriage can survive this weather, and thrive.
When cracks become chasms in marriage
Faced with gloomy skies, a person’s energy level drop and there can be worry about what those dark clouds can bring. Things can feel bleak when your marriage is in this weather.
On the surface, everything is “business as usual”; some may even say how good your marriage seems! But you know that something’s not right in your relationship.
Cracks in the marriage have widened into chasms. It could be that disagreements have peaked and can now break your marriage. Healthy communication may have come to a standstill, and you are in the quicksand of resentment or disappointment.
Neglect is the key contributor for marriages moving into Overcast weather. Perhaps you both went on autopilot – life was busy and you were occupied with different things. There have been little quality and quantity time with each other, much less time to work through disagreements or unhappiness.
Couples in this weather face one major decision: do we avoid the issues and let our marriage wither away? Or do we choose to have the crucial difficult conversations, dig deeper to remember our “first love”, and commit to move out of this stalemate together?
Think of it as the ultimatum. There’s just no waiting around, hoping the weather will turn for the better by itself.
The hope in an Overcast marriage
A wife who feels unloved and unappreciated will feel rejected. A husband who doesn’t have his wife’s trust and respect will withdraw and disengage.
What are some things that have undermined mutual love and respect in your marriage?
If negligence drove your marriage to the edge, then making intentional decisions to nurture your marriage is necessary to turn it around.
Are you too busy? Decisively cut out inessential social activities, commitments, or time-draining hobbies to make time for each other.
If you feel that your relationship lacks fun and excitement, find common activities that both of you can enjoy. Or you can take turns to do what each other likes. This shows your spouse that you want to enter into their world and it can also help you better understand and appreciate what they are like.
Pick up a marriage resource or attend a marriage enrichment programme to communicate better.
Start small, but start somewhere.
This is also where plugging into a healthy and strong community that supports your marriage is important and necessary. Is there a trusted couple you both are comfortable sharing your marital struggles with? Arrange to meet up, and invite them to journey with you and your spouse out of this weather.
Overcast skies are here. But keep calm and start doing things differently, because all is not lost; there is hope for a turnaround.
Making the best of an Overcast marriage
This is a difficult weather for you and your spouse to be in. Hold on to each other because there can be a turnaround in your marriage.
When the marriage hits a rough patch, or when you and your spouse no longer enjoy each other, consider how you can live out your vows. As someone once said: It is not love that sustains the marriage, but marriage that sustains the love.
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