What season of life are you in? Each one brings its blessings. The irony is that in most seasons, you’re too busy to appreciate it at the time.
- Engaged and filled with hope.
- Newlyweds discovering each other.
- Young marrieds thinking you have all the answers.
- New parents wondering and worrying about the future.
- Seasons when you are broke, then wealthy, then broke again.
- Times of extended illness or crises.
- Caretaker for your parents or in-laws.
- The season of blurred activities balancing work and family.
- Watching teenagers turn into adults.
- Watching young adult children from a distance.
- Listening to the echoes of an empty nest.
- Welcoming boomerang kids back home.
- Caring for each other in gratitude and love.
Seasons come with their own set of joys, challenges, and expectations. Seasons overlap. Seasons come to an end then come back again. You can ease in and out of seasons. Or they begin and end abruptly. Some are filled with hope. Some are filled with despair. Seasons can bring the two of you closer. Or drive a wedge.
My favorite season was when the five kids were all still at home and Alec was beginning his college search while Rae Anne was getting ready for kindergarten. Randy, Max, and Isaac were active in school and sports and there were at least 15 kid-related events on the calendar every week.
At the time, I didn’t realize the preciousness of each moment. I probably lost my cool once in a while because of tight schedules, messy rooms, late carpools, lost sports gear, and unexpected escalating expenses. There’s a handful of regrets, but I made things right whenever I could.
During your next season of life, you may discover something about your beloved that surprises the heck out of you. For almost 30 years, Rita was a behind-the-scenes kind of gal. Working hard in volunteer positions at church and our local schools, taking no credit, and always a humble servant.
Six years ago, a neighbor who was stepping down from the St. Charles City Council encouraged Rita to run for office. She did. And she won. Suddenly, my modest bride is expanding her comfort zone and taking a firm stand on zoning laws, being interviewed by the media, and officiating at ribbon cuttings and other public ceremonies.
All of which leaves me a little torn. I’m wonderfully proud of Rita. I know her efforts on behalf of our city have been worth every meeting and her many hours studying the issues. She has become a thoughtful conservative voice for fiscal responsibility and standing firm on moral issues.
But, I also sometimes feel a little out of the loop. That may sound selfish, but it’s an honest assessment. On the other hand, the pluses outweigh any negatives. Right when we thought we’d be empty nesters wondering what to do with ourselves, her responsibilities have led to a wide range of new experiences. Not just for Rita, but for me as well. I’ll escort her on city business as she surveys a piece of property or dedicates a new construction project.
Sometimes I’ll even throw on a sports coat to be “arm candy” at a fundraiser, art show, or grand opening. I haven’t missed a parade yet, waving and whistling at the City Council float. This has been an unexpected season in our lives.
Nationally, I’m a best-selling author. Locally, I’m the alderman’s husband. Neither of those titles were on anyone’s radar screen when we walked down the aisle.
The lesson here is this. Wives and husbands, I urge you to make the most of every season in your married life. They all come with their own joys and frustrations, responsibilities and surprises, blessings and sorrows, beginnings and ends.
Ladies, if the honeymoon is barely over and you’re wondering what happened to that handsome, attentive, and generous fiancé, give him time.
Gentlemen, I know you’re wondering a few things too. If you’re up to your armpits in baby drool, soccer schedules, broken appliances, and bad hair days please remember this exhausting season doesn’t last forever. You’ll miss it more than you could ever imagine. (Take lots of photos.)
Maybe you’re courageously enduring a season of true agony. You have a teenager heading in the wrong direction. Illness or loss has brutalized your family. Maybe you can’t even identify the problem, but a dark cloud has settled over your home. You may need some professional help to guide you into a brighter season, and that’s okay too. Every spring begins in winter.
The goal, of course, is to reach the season of appreciation and reflection. You get a chance to look back and make sense of the ups and downs of all the other seasons. The longer you walk with God, the more you get small glimpses of heaven and how all things work toward God’s ultimate purpose for your life.
That final season is when you’ll fully realize that your beloved was a gift from God who knew exactly what you needed and found your perfect match.
“Live happily with the woman you love through all the meaningless days of life that God has given you under the sun. The wife God gives you is your reward for all your earthly toil.” —Ecclesiastes 9:9 NLT
Wrapping up this idea: the secret to living happily through the seasons is to understand that her needs will change and his needs will change. Husbands and wives can bring meaning to life when they look at each season as a chance to rediscover each other. To celebrate and console. To give and receive. To carry each other. To serve. And be served.
Navigating through all those tumultuous seasons of life will lead a husband and wife to a depth of love and respect that mere newlyweds could not possibly understand.
Question: Describe the highs and lows of the season we’re in now. And what will you miss when we enter the next season?
Portions of this post came from Jay Payleitner’s Book 52 Ways To Connect As A Couple.