“Anything in life that truly matters can be boiled down to relationships.” – Gary Smalley
Marriage is a living thing. As with every relationship, it grows, evolves, and requires nurturing.
Like a tree that undergoes different growth phases, a marital relationship goes through different seasons of growth – each with its own set of joys and stresses.
In his book “The Four Seasons of Marriage”, Gary Chapman helps us to understand the changes in our marriage using the analogy of the natural seasons – spring, summer, autumn and winter. While we may not experience the natural seasons on our tropical island, we are familiar with their characteristics.
Spring. A time for new life. Common to newlyweds, couples often experience waves of excitement and joy. That burst of energy is often accompanied by a sense of hope and optimism for the future.
Summer. How it feels like most of the time in the tropics – hot. It is marked by increased activity and fun. Couples could be busy with career and family. The busyness could bring greater satisfaction and connection when the couple works towards a common goal.
Autumn. Falling leaves and chilly winds characterise this season. The marriage experiences a melancholic slowdown and the couple feels distant from each other. There’s a heightened sense of detachment, and one or both parties may feel unloved and unappreciated.
Winter. Snow, frost and frigidness. Marriages in this season are marked by harshness, rejection and disappointment. There’s no longer affection or connection between spouses. Unlike couples in springtime, those in winter carry a strong sense of hopelessness.
What season is your marriage in?
In your marriage, you may rotate through this seasonal cycle a few times or you may find your marriage jumping between seasons with no specific order.
There may be some regrets if you find that your marriage has passed springtime – don’t give up.
Chapman encourages us all, “every marriage is still in process; no one has the perfect marriage.”
Marriage is a work in progress; there’s no dead end. Even if we find ourselves in winter, it’s not the end of the road. With the right tools and a supportive community, we can have a better marriage than we do now.
Get a sense of where your marriage is at by taking the quiz at www.family.org.sg/SeasonsofMarriage.
The quiz serves as a tool for you and your spouse to take an honest look at your marriage. You may have different results, and that may be a good starting point to understand the assumptions or expectations each other has of the marriage.
No matter how long we have been married, we have to sow effort to grow our relationships. Like a tree, it is never meant to stop growing. If it does stop, that’s when it starts to wither.
Seasons don’t last forever but your marriage can. Growing stronger in each season and living out your vows “to have and to hold, till death do us part” is not just a dream, it’s a possibility. And in the journey, you also encourage other couples to do the same.
Understand the season of marriage you are in, and the practical steps you can take to keep your marriage growing and thriving:
In every season, you can make your marriage the best that it can be!
© 2020 Focus on the Family Singapore. All rights reserved.
Marriages may need additional support from time to time, especially when stressed or faced with new challenges such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. Would you like someone to journey with you through the issues you’re facing?
Focus on the Family Singapore continues to provide counselling support through video calls. Please contact us at 6491 0700 or make an appointment at www.family.org.sg/counselling to connect with one of our counsellors today.
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