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The joys of Spring
Ah, spring! New life abounds and flowers bloom.
Most marriages start in springtime. It’s a season of new beginnings.
Commonly called the honeymoon period, it’s a time when you discover new things about each other. Enveloped in that honeymoon glow, there’s an optimistic magic in the air.
There’s anticipation, joy, and excitement. You work hard at doing things together, for each other; it’s effortless to go the extra mile. You express love spontaneously. This reciprocation fuels a wonderful sense of being desired.
In such an atmosphere, love and trust blossom. There’s no second guessing each other’s actions. Giving your spouse the benefit of the doubt is easy as mutual trust is strong.
Yet springtime is not only for the newlyweds. Maybe you have been married for over 30 years, and now – with an empty nest – you find yourselves in springtime again as you explore new things to do together. Or you could have a young family with kids who are growing in independence, and you can now carve out regular couple time. Everything feels new again.
The stresses of Spring
As attractive as spring may be, it comes with its challenges. Just as some are allergic to pollen from blossoming flowers, relationships can get the sneezes and wheezes too.
Unexpected irritants can be found in each other’s quirks, like how he leaves the dirty dishes in the sink overnight or she can work with piles of books on the study table. A bigger hiccup could be realising she really doesn’t like visiting your parents, or that he expects to have sex every other day!
Some couples find their differing attitudes towards money a constant sticky point. Others experience tension with chores or childcare demands.
Whatever it is, don’t let the irritants distract you from the big, beautiful picture. Work through the things that bug you so that they don’t fester and become a springtime scab in your marriage.
You may also be (re)discovering the strengths each of you bring to the marriage – you may enjoy budget while DIY is in your spouse’s DNA. We are always learning new things about each other – some more welcome than the rest, and how we approach it is key.
Talk about it, listen well to each other, and don’t let a “strength” leave you or your spouse feeling unappreciated.
Spring is here. Let’s celebrate and make memories for keeps.
Making the best of Spring
For the husband
What can you do in this season?
- Initiate new rituals to strengthen your relationship, such as date nights, pillow talk, etc. Set time aside to connect with your wife, beyond just juggling work and the household.
- Seek out other married couples you both enjoy hanging out with or look up to. Go on double dates! This is a great way to form a community to journey with you and your wife.
- Create a Vision Board to express your hopes and dreams for the year. Take time to listen to your wife, understand what’s important to her, and be her biggest cheerleader.
Things to watch out for:
- Most women thrive on communication and connection. Don’t brush off the need to communicate and have healthy emotional talk when you sense something’s wrong.
- Don’t expect your wife to change to be more like you.
- In the day-to-day, don’t assume that she feels your love. Take steps to express your appreciation and affection for her.
For the wife
What can you do in this season?
- Learn how best to communicate with your husband. You may want to elaborate with stories when talking about an issue, but your husband may prefer that you get straight to the point. Talk about talking!
- Discover each other’s love language so you don’t end up showing love only in your preferred love language. This way, you both avoid feeling unappreciated if your spouse doesn’t seem to respond!
- Encourage and affirm your husband when he initiates conversations or does the chores.
Things to watch out for:
- Comparisons can be toxic in a marriage. Don’t try to change your husband or make remarks about how you wish he could be like your friends’ husband.
- Control the urge to nag, or irritably repeat instructions in order to change a particular behaviour. Instead, tell him it bothers you, explain why and leave it to him to change.
- Don’t stay quiet to avoid “rocking the boat”, or give him the cold or silent treatment when you are angry. It sets an unhealthy communication pattern in your marriage.
Couple conversations for this season
- How are we similar to each other? How are we different?
- What is one quirk or habit about me that frustrates you?
- What is one thing that I can do regularly to express my love for you?
A thriving marriage in every season
Take time to celebrate and enjoy each other!
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.
“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 season. So, hold tight to the good, work hard at the difficult, and commit to journey through life together.
In every season, you can make your marriage the best that it can be.
© 2020 Focus on the Family Singapore. All rights reserved.
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