Thank you for those of you who shared a bit about your ups and downs in your own marriages after the last marriage post. I know your experiences will inspire and encourage all who read them!
Some of the low points that we experience in marriage are temporary. Situations and circumstances change, emotions and hormones balance, and you and your spouse can move forward from where you had "left off" so to speak.
Other times, you grow and change as a person and there is no "picking up where you left off." No two people grow at the same rate, nor do they deal with stress and difficulty in the exact same manner. It is easy to see why it is during the lows of marriage and life that many look at their spouse and say that they "aren't the same person that I married." But in truth, what a blessing that they aren't! Imagine for a moment (especially those of us who have been married for several years) if your spouse was the same person in depth and character as when you married them...yes, they may have been more carefree and even more "fun," but is there any part of who they are now that you would miss? Are you the same person that you were when you said, "I do?"
Life doesn't stay the same. Needs and desires rarely stay exactly the same. Relationships are meant to change and grow. It took me awhile to learn this in our marriage. When my husband was in the midst of a long and difficult season of health I longed for those first couple of carefree years of marriage. I found myself almost demanding them. I realized that I felt that I deserved that easier, uncomplicated life. It was a defining moment for my maturity level when I realized that I had signed up for this. I had vowed to journey through life with my spouse - through the good and the bad, the highs and the lows. When we can finally stop demanding what we thought we deserved and embrace what we have; our love can deepen and grow with our spouse.
In a recent post titled, Our New Normal, my friend Ellyn shared this (Eli is the child that was stillborn into their waiting arms):
"It's been a long two years of ups and downs...and downs, and downs, sometimes to the point where I have wondered if we would ever get back to being the happy, carefree couple we once were. And I've come to terms with the fact that it probably won't happen...that we are both irrevocably changed because of Eli, that he has changed each of us to the very core of our being. Some changes I wish had not happened, and some of them are huge blessings. Either way, good or bad, they're there....this is our new normal, and we have learned to love each other through, because of, and in spite of our new selves."
Regardless of what each of our actual circumstances are, I believe Ellyn has beautifully articulated this concept. What have you (or your spouse) been irrevocably changed by? It seems the things we are prepared to deal with don't happen to us. Those that we never saw coming become our lives. God has purpose in that. In our weakness, He is strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10-11) When we long for sweet fellowship with our spouse and they simply aren't there yet, He is. (I John 1:3; Exodus 15:2; Phil. 4:19) When we are in despair that our spouse will never overcome a specific sin or addiction, He invites us to come and lay our burdens at His feet and to trust that He is able. (Psalm 40:1-2; Matt. 11:28; Ephesians 3:20) When we have more disappointment or grief than we believe we can physically bear, He comforts us. (John 16:33; Romans 15:13; Jude 2)
In all trials of life, God is at the source of the solution. We have been created to be in relationship with Him. He has created and sanctified marriage. It is His desire for your marriage to be a beautiful, sacred relationship. So, what is your scenario? Are you committed to this marital journey with your spouse? Do you need to embrace a "new normal?"
Next week I am planning to post on "The In-betweens." Those times when you find your marriage in a holding pattern of life.
May God be stirring up your passion for your marriages!
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