Today's guest post on marriage is by Laurie Messer. I have enjoyed her challenge to build my marriage, and I know you will too!
One of the best things I've ever learned about marriage, and that has given me hope, is that there are seasons of marriage. This may sound strange to you, so let me explain what I mean.
This April my husband and I will celebrate 17 years of marriage. We have experienced ups and downs during our marriage, but I can look back now with a heart of gratitude for all that the Lord has brought us through. Those ups and downs I refer to can also be known as seasons of marriage. I discovered this amazing truth after reading the book,The 4 Seasons of Marriage by Gary Chapman. Today I'd like to share with you some of what my husband and I learned while reading this book together.
|Phil and I at our daughter's wedding in May 2013.|
A marriage in the season of summer is characterized by a deep sense of satisfaction and security. Marriages in the spring season are filled with hopefulness and new beginnings. These are the times in a marriage that can be the fuel needed to carry couples through fall and winter. Fall marriages deal with unwanted change, uncertainties, and an unsettledness that can drive a marriage straight into a winter season of bitterness, harshness, and distance between a husband and wife. If you find your marriage in a fall or winter season, there is hope that you can get to a season of spring and summer. I learned through The Four Seasons of Marriage that there are seven strategies we can use to move our marriages from the bitter cold of winter to the sunny warmth of summer or from the unwanted changes of fall to the pleasant new beginnings of spring. I want to share these strategies with you today.
- Strategy 1: We need to deal with our past failures. This includes identifying the failures of the past, confessing those failures and repenting of them, and asking for forgiveness.
- Strategy 2: Choose a positive attitude. We should never allow negative attitudes to dictate our behavior. It’s the fastest way to end up in winter in our marriage. Instead of focusing on the negative, choose instead to focus on the positive.
- Strategy 3: Learn to speak the love language of your spouse.Gary Chapman has a book, The 5 Love Languages, that will help you learn about each of the five love languages.
- Strategy 4: Learn to be an empathetic listener. Empathy means to put yourself into your spouse’s shoes to see the situation from his or her viewpoint. As we learn to be an empathetic listener, communication will be opened as a positive environment is created.
- Strategy 5: Find joy in helping your spouse succeed. Do what you can to help them reach their potential for God. Offer encouraging words to your spouse during times of difficulty in their life that will breathe life into the situation.
- Strategy 6: Embrace your differences. We are unique creations of God. He brings our unique differences together as one when we say I do. We are now a team working under the direction of God to fulfill His purposes.
- Strategy 7: Be a positive influence. If you are in a season of fall or winter, you may have to do these strategies alone for a period of time. You can be a positive influence on your spouse which in turn can influence them to join you. Don’t give up.
I have only skimmed the surface with what I have shared with you today. If you would like to learn more about the seasons of marriage, I would encourage you to get a copy of Gary Chapman’s book, The 4 Seasons of Marriage. My husband and I read it together several years ago. We try to do at least one marriage-building activity together every year. What we have learned through this book has greatly influenced our marriage. I hope it will do the same for your marriage.
Walking in His Grace, Laurie
Laurie is a daughter of the King, wife to a wonderful husband, and a mother to two beautiful children and one waiting in Heaven. Her desire is to be filled with the empowering presence of God which enables her to be who He created her to be and to do what He has called her to do. God answers this prayer by giving Laurie grace-filled moments in her journey called “life”. You can find Laurie blogging at Grace-Filled-Moments. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Google+.