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The joys of Summer
It’s hot. You’re sweaty. But it’s fun because your days are packed with activities.
The sense of anticipation that marked spring is over. You and your spouse have tackled some difficult issues together and have grown through it.
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. 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 Summer
In summer, flowers and fruits flourish; so do less pleasant things like bees and hornets! Is there a hornet’s nest in a corner of your marriage garden? One where you get too near and end up with a surprise attack and stinging barbs?
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 fuzzy friendship 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.
Summer is here. You want to enjoy this season, so let’s work hard at it.
Making the best of Summer
For the husband
What can you do in this season?
- Keep up the romantic gestures and break out of daily routines to surprise her. Be attentive to your wife’s needs as your lover, not just a great friend.
- Compliment her, making her feel attractive and good about herself. Find ways to fill her love tank so that she is not running on empty.
- Make time and initiate constructive ways to work through issues that have come up.
Things to watch out for
- Avoid treating your wife like a great housemate!
- Pay attention to your personal grooming. Just because you are really comfortable with your wife doesn’t mean that your physical appearance shouldn’t matter anymore. She still wants to be attracted to you!
- Enjoy intimacy with your wife. It is about sex, and more. Emotional intimacy is important to a marriage’s longevity.
For the wife
What can you do in this season?
- Encourage your husband to find a few good guy friends to confide in. While it is easier for women to share openly with their girlfriends, the opposite is true for the husbands.
- Maintain intimacy in your marriage. Communicate your expectations and be proactive in meeting his needs as well.
- Take every opportunity to keep up with date nights, and make it special. Couple time is scarce in this season so be intentional to schedule it.
Things to watch out for:
- Do not seethe over bothersome issues. Choose honest conversations with your husband instead.
- Criticism is toxic in any marriage. Many men may just “shut down and tune out” when they feel disrespected.
- Beware of unhealthy communication habits, like expecting your husband to know what you are thinking. You may be growing in togetherness but he is not telepathic; you still need to verbalise what’s in your heart.
Couple conversations for this season
- What brings you most joy in our marriage?
- What is one thing that I can do regularly to show how much I appreciate you?
- How can I bring you greater physical and emotional intimacy in our marriage?
A thriving marriage in every season
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.
“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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