GUIDANCE THROUGH THE CHANGING SEASONS
Early in the marriage, we rarely take into consideration that our spouse will enter their own seasons of change. One of the most important areas of marriage is how a husband and wife navigates the changing seasons of marriage. Read more...
The Changing Seasons of Marriage
One of the most important areas of marriage is how a husband and wife navigates the changing seasons. When we fell in love with our "forever love", there was this immense joy whenever they were around. It was easy to believe, "We'll always have this feeling!" During the marriage journey, we rarely take into consideration that our spouse will enter their own seasons of change.
As sure as the seasons change, so will your marriage. Every marriage goes through seasons of change and even difficult events. Some seasons will bring happiness and fulfillment, while others will bring sadness and pain. One of the most important areas of marriage is how a husband and wife navigates the changing seasons of marriage.
Author Gary Chapman, wrote a book titled "The Four Seasons of Marriage." He describes marriage as the four seasons of Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer. He quotes, “Marriages commonly move from one season to another, knowing that each season might repeat itself numerous times over the long course of a marriage. Marriages are perpetually in a state of transition.”
There is an ancient text in the Bible from Psalm 23. The Psalm describes a graceful relationship between the sheep and the Shepherd. If you have ever attended a church service or a funeral, you’ve probably heard this Psalm read. The first verse begins with “The Lord is my Shepherd…” Even though Psalm 23 is not written in a marriage context, it can be read through the lens of marriage, with God providing guidance for the one-flesh partnership, through all the different seasons in marriage.
Psalm 23 reminds us of the many challenges sheep will encounter. There are hills and valleys, quiet waters and roaring rapids, and all the other outdoor elements of nature. Now, if you ever take a white-water rafting excursion, you want to hire a guide – someone who is experienced and can lead you through the rough and unstable waters. In the same way, each couple will need someone to guide them through the rough “white water challenges."
The Shepherd's Guidance
1. Shepherds provide safety and security for the flock.
2. Shepherds guide and feed the sheep.
3. Shepherds protect the sheep from outside danger and wild animals.
4. Shepherds are there to keep the flock intact, keep them together.
This same imagery can be applied to a married couple, when they submit their lives to the Shepherd – God. A married couple needs to decide how they will allow the Shepherd to lead them. They can be led as individuals or together as a one-flesh couple. Some couples operate independently, meaning they are moving in different directions, with a huge gap between them. Other couples decide to operate interdependently, together, following the Lord’s guidance.
Here are some practical ways a couple can trust God to lead them through the changing seasons of marriage?
1. Anticipate the changes in marriage. Anticipating change in marriage can help a couple better prepare for it. For example, if a couple is preparing to have children, it's wise to think through the type the home environment and value system they want them to experience. Other areas of life that induce change might be health ailments, financial hardships, and death of a loved one. Be ahead if the game by anicipating change. Ask yourself this question - What changes might my spouse and I need to start preparing for?
2. Grow together through the changes. We go through the honeymoon season, parenting season, health season, financial season, empty nest season and even the death season (parents passing). But through each season, a couple can choose to grow and learn together. It might be reading a books together on a specific topic, listening a podcast, or just having a meaningful conversations with your spouse. Growing together is one way a couple can take advantage of the changing season.
These are just a couple ways you can trust The Shepherd to lead you and your spouse through the seasons of change.
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