When you consider marrying, “survival” is not a word that comes to mind. And yet from what we can see about so many of the marriages of today’s world, “survival” is half the battle, in order to make it through the various seasons of marriage and get to the better end of matters.
But you don’t want to just survive to the end. You want to work together to the point where your marriage relationship is thriving and growing. You want to become better individuals because of the teamwork you have built together over the years, to the glory of God.
It’s like what author Dennis Rainey said in a radio interview, on the subject of growing a marriage to be the best it can be. He was quoting the book that he and his wife Barbara wrote titled, Rekindling the Romance.
“When marriage is firing on all cylinders, it’s truly glorious. You might say that marriage is the Cadillac of all earthly relationships. There is no other expression in life that rivals the indescribable ecstasy of romance and sex shared between a husband and a wife in the covenant of marriage. But it’s a glorious minefield. You see, there is a cosmic battle raging around your romance.”
Dennis goes on to explain,
“There is an enemy of your soul who wants to destroy romance between you and your spouse. For a man, the minefield may mean that his needs aren’t being addressed, or they’re not being met.”
For a woman, it may be something entirely different or different in a similar way. But the point is that the battles that rage within a marriage are deeper in meaning and consequences than what either spouse may recognize.
They want to make sure that they make it past the worst of the adjustment times together in a way in which both of them are emotionally intact, and get to a better place where in the process they have learned the skills they need to help them to enjoy the best of what marriage can offer them.
To help you with this mission:
We’d like to lead you to a radio interview which the wonderful ministry of Family Life Today put together. It was part two of a ten part series on marriage and was aired on various radio stations on January 29, 2008. You can choose to either listen to all ten interviews with Dennis and Barbara Rainey or read the transcripts, or just listen to or read Part 2.
Whatever your choice, we believe you will learn things that could help you to survive and grow through the seasons of marriage.
To make your choice, please click onto the following web site link:
It’s true, from what we’ve seen, what Thomas Whiteman and Thomas Bartlett wrote in their book, “The Marriage Mender:
“All marriages go through natural stages. A couple must progress through these stages to achieve a long-lasting and mutually satisfying love relationship.”
Adapting is Important
We need to learn to adapt to the changing stages and seasons of our marriages. It’s either that, or our marriages will never become all God wants for us as individuals and as marriage partners. He wants to work in and through us in ways that never could happen if we don’t learn to adapt to the changing seasons. We need to recognize that:
“Marriage relationships are constantly changing. Attitudes shift, emotions fluctuate, and the way spouses treat each other ebbs and flows between loving and not so loving. Sometimes, change is beyond our control. For example, when Ben’s wife, Nancy, was told she had cancer, the diagnosis changed the fabric of their lives and their relationship. They could adapt to the situation, but they couldn’t control it.
“The same was true of Tricia and her husband, Rob, a member of the National Guard. When his unit was activated, he was sent into a war zone half a world away. Rob and Tricia could adapt, but the circumstances were beyond their control. When it became clear to Jon and Carol that her mother could no longer live alone, they had to respond to a change that they couldn’t control.
“Life is full of unanticipated changes. Our only choice as couples is in how we will respond.” (Gary Chapman, from book, The Four Seasons of Marriage, which we recommend you obtain and read)
I’m going to end this article with some great advice from the book, Starting Your Marriage Right: What You Need to Know in the Early Years to Make It Last a Lifetime, written by Dennis and Barbara Rainey.
If you want your marriage to thrive in each season, here are some suggestions:
1. Focus on growing as individuals and as a couple.
Pray together; share spiritual truths; share your experience with God together. Don’t wait until tomorrow when you think you will be “more spiritual.” Respond to life’s circumstances today in faith and obedience. Your marriage will become the sum total of every choice made along the way.
2. Seek to understand your spouse’s needs in each season of life.
Look for ways to help meet them. We need this mindset in each season of marriage; in fact, I regret that I was not more sensitive to Barbara during some of the early seasons of our marriage. As a new bride, she needed my understanding, love, compassion, and a listening ear. I’m not saying I never did this, but I wish someone had challenged me to set that as a goal.
3. Prayerfully anticipate the next season of your life as a couple.
Think about the physical and emotional adjustments you’ll make. Make plans for how you will allocate your time and energy. Some couples don’t fully prepare for the seasons of their marriage. It doesn’t take a lot of preparation, but it takes prayerful, thoughtful application of Scripture, for example, to prepare for a child. Work on your values as a couple and what you want to build into children before you welcome your first one.
If you do these things, you’ll grow strong in the seasons of life, and you’ll grow deep.
Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this article.
If you have additional tips you can share to help others, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.