What “season” is it for your marriage? Is it summer because things are warm and sizzling with your spouse? Or is it winter because things feel a little chilly?
I remember how it felt when Jean and I fell in love. Like many couples in a new relationship, we enjoyed being together every chance we could, and daydreamed about seeing each other when we couldn’t. It was easy to think, “We’ll always feel this way!”
But relationships are like the weather; they change. Some seasons are filled with excitement and warmth, while others seem cold or mundane. How we manage those seasons determines whether our marriage grows bitter or becomes better.
Author Debra Fileta is with us on our Focus on the Family Broadcast “Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage” to help couples better understand the four seasons of healthy relationships, what to expect during each one, and how to carefully navigate them for a stronger marriage.
The four seasons can bring out the best and the worst in a couple:
- Spring – The relationship feels new and exciting. Couples are attracted to each other and want to spend time together. It’s also a season where a couple is sowing seeds for what the relationship will look like in years to come.
- Summer – The relationship heats up. Feelings are strong, and couples reveal more of who they are. It’s also a time where they begin experiencing emotional, physical, and spiritual intimacy.
- Fall – This is a time for practicing vulnerability, learning how to handle conflict, and improving communication. As leaves change from green to orange to yellow, fall reveals the true colors of a person’s character. It’s here where people come face to face with their spouse’s faults and quirks.
- Winter – The warm feelings of other seasons have cooled, and the chill of normalcy settles in. It can be a time when peoples’ roots grow deep, or where spouses build walls of resentment and apathy toward each other.
While every marriage will experience the four seasons, they don’t happen in chronological order like seasons on the calendar. It’s possible for seasons to overlap at times. Some last for months, and others for a few years. Each season is an opportunity to grow as a couple.
While you’re online, why not take a few moments to try our free Marriage Assessment online tool? It will help you quickly determine what’s working well in your relationship and identify areas where you may need some improvement.
Before I close, I want to remind you about Hope Restored. If you’re on the brink of divorce, these marriage intensives can go a long way toward facilitating healing between you and your spouse and bringing restoration to your relationship. The intensives take place in three locations: Branson, MO; Greenville, MI; and the WinShape Retreat Center in Rome, GA. The number for Hope Restored is 1-866-875-2915, or visit online.
Debra Fileta is a blogger, professional counselor, and author of the book Love in Every Season: Understanding the Four Stages of Every Healthy Relationship, which is available when you become a special partner with us through our monthly “Friends of Focus on the Family” program. Visit our website or give us a call at 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459) for more information.