Twenty-seven years ago, when my husband John and I moved from our home and families in the Chicago area to Washington D.C., it was a huge change for us. John was required to attend a seminar on transitions and while he was there he had to take an assessment that assigned points to the the different changes in your life.
For example, we were moving away from family for the first time, expecting a new baby (I was 8 months pregnant when we moved), buying our first house, starting a new job in a new church culture. Each of these got points assigned to them indicating the amount of pressure in our life.
John came home and said, “Honey, I have good news and bad news. The good news is, we WON! (We’re really competitive, so anything we can win is good news.). We had more points than anyone there! The bad news is they said we should have been in counseling a long time ago!”
The people who ran this seminar recognized that times of change and transition bring anxiety. Change, even positive change can result in stress that has physical symptoms. Studies show that stress suppresses the immune system. People get sick more easily during times of change. You can also experience feelings of grief, fear, or anger.
Whether you’ve moved recently, just had your first baby, or have your first child leaving home or getting married every marriage will go through multiple transitions over the years. Next week John and I are teaching a group of newly married couples on this topic so we’ve been thinking about what has been helpful to us.
What are the practices and boundaries we can put in place to ensure that our marriages will continue to flourish and grow through times of transition?
- Being aware of the impact of change is the first step. Give yourself and your family extra grace during times of transition.
- Anchor your marriage in the one thing that is unchanging – God and His character. Make a practice of voicing the many things you’re grateful for. Specifically thank God for who He is, not just what He does.
- Cultivate habits that make your marriage a priority over parenting or your job. Your relationship with the Lord always takes priority, but beyond that you are married for life. Invest in it wisely. Make time to develop shared interests, take time away together, serve one another.
Those are a couple of things that have been helpful to us. What about you? What would you add?
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race.
He has made everything beautiful in its time.
He has also set eternity in the human heart;
yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
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By Laura Crosby
Wife to John, Mom of 2
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member, Pastor, and Blogger