Just like the Earth, life has seasons. There's the hope and joy of spring, the carefree bounty of summer, the hard work and reward of the harvest, and the dormancy of winter. And then it begins again.
I've found myself in a bit of a winter lately, and not just because I live in the Land of Everlasting Snow. My marriage has been in a winter, but like any true Minnesotan, I'm ready for spring! Here are a few ways to de-winterize your marriage, and welcome the enthusiasm spring has to offer.
- Stop pointing fingers. When things are hard it's easy to point fingers. It's likely you feel hurt and think your spouse is to blame. Your spouse probably feels the same way, so you both point fingers and wait for the other to apologize. Having a spirit of opposition does nothing for reconciliation. Instead, agree to put the fingers down and choose a spirit of cooperation instead.
- Pray for your spouse. Don't pray that they will see your way, but pray for their happiness and for their joy. God often changes our own hearts when we pray to honor someone else. Maybe spring is just another perspective away.
- Have sex. I know, it's winter and people don't like to take their clothes off in the winter. But in 1 Corinthians 7:5 Paul says, “Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” Sex is a gift God gave us, and it has the potential to meet all 5 of the love languages at once. So be together, and allow God to begin to knit your hearts together once again.
- Rebuild trust. If it has been a long and grueling winter, it's likely trust has eroded. Take some time and rebuild trust. Recognize that it won't be immediate, but gradually let your spouse in and if you're going to assume, assume they have the best of intentions, not the worst.
- Let go. Let go of your anger, let go of the issues, and take it one step at a time. Spring doesn't come overnight, but it'll never come if you're holding on to the isolation of winter.
As one who has spent half of their life shoveling snow, I will tell you that you can see winter in two ways. And often, you'll feel both emotions in the same winter.
- Cold and barren. The winter kills the plant life. Animals hibernate or move away for the winter. And it's cold.
- Time to hunker down, snuggle in, and wait for spring. Snow in the trees is a beautiful sight. Thick, heavy flakes falling from the sky. Perfect time to cozy up with a warm cup of tea.
So choose how to see your winter. Don't wish away the season, but figure out what you need to learn from it. Cozy up until spring comes, the snow melts, and plants emerge. And take joy in the hope that comes from spring.