In the Season of Winter
 

In the Season of Winter

Can hope be rekindled when the fire has died?

By Focus on the Family Singapore | 26 May 2020

Do you know what season your marriage is in? Find out more and take the quiz to be equipped with practical steps to keep your marriage growing and thriving.

 

Sub-zero temperatures, snowstorms, bare trees and shorter days!

In this season, you feel like it is time to call it quits.

The fire has died completely – your words, your actions are cold and harsh. You look around your home and marriage, and feel like everything has been in vain. There’s no trace of love or positive things to show for the years you put in.

Your conversations are functional at best. Your interaction, equally distant. Perhaps you both feel that it is better to spend less time together because that means less likelihood for conflict.

Separate beds, zero intimacy – each with your own lives despite living under the same roof.

Some settle for marriage as a living arrangement for the children’s benefit; as soon as the children are independent, they go their separate ways.

Winter may unexpectedly arrive in your marriage with the discovery of infidelity, or from prolonged periods of negligence and inaction.

Yet what is more important than the current circumstances is how couples choose to respond.

Gary Chapman has this to say: “All couples face difficulties, and all couples have differences. These differences may centre on money, in-laws, religion, or any other area of life.

“Couples who fail to negotiate these differences will find themselves in the middle of winter – a season of marriage created not by the difficulties of life but by the manner in which a couple responds to those difficulties.

“When one or both marriage partners insist on ‘my way or not at all’, they are moving their marriage toward winter.”

In this season, problems seem big and solutions, far away. You are hurt, lonely and discouraged. There are regrets and you’ve replayed many “if only” scenarios in your mind. You yearn for a better day, but it feels like it’s not going to come.

The hope in winter

Can hope be restored in this season?

Desperation can bring out tenacity, which we didn’t know existed in us; a desperation that drives us to fight for our marriage.

It takes only one party to put the marriage into winter but it will take both to move out of it.

Be open to seek professional help from a marriage counsellor or family therapist. Do not isolate yourself from friends and other married couples; your community and support system is crucial for you and your spouse to walk out of this rough patch.

Remember, seasons change. Winter is here, but it doesn’t have to last forever. You can make a change.

Making the best of Winter

For the husband

What can you do in this season?

  • If the relationship is so tense that you are no longer speaking to your wife, write down your thoughts on how you want the marriage to improve and pass it to her.
  • Listen attentively and engage her through eye contact when she is speaking to you. You may not be ready to respond, but choosing to stay and listen shows her that you still care.
  • Find a male mentor or coach whom you can confide in and take advice from.

Things to watch out for:

  • Draw clear boundaries so that you don’t try to find intimacy in other friendships. This would only complicate the issues that you and your wife have to work through.
  • Avoid replaying the blunders in your mind and rehashing pain from the past. It can become a vicious cycle, making it harder for you to forgive and move on.
  • Habits can be hard to break. Don’t go back to old ways of dealing with conflict, but consciously choose healthier patterns of communication, even if it feels counter-intuitive.

For the wife

What can you do in this season?

  • Take care of your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing, and guard yourself against the downward spiral of despair.
  • Spend time recalling and noting down the better days in the marriage – how was it like? What did he do that you loved? Share these memories with your husband.
  • Surround yourself with friends and family members who will support and encourage you in restoring your marriage.

Things to watch out for:

  • Protect your heart and mind so that you don’t try to find love and acceptance elsewhere. This only drives you further away from your husband.
  • Be careful not to put down your husband in front of your family or friends, whether within earshot or not.
  • Habits can be hard to break. Don’t go back to old ways of dealing with conflict, but consciously choose healthier patterns of communication, even if it feels counter-intuitive.

Couple conversations for this season

  • What were the dreams and goals we had for our marriage?
  • How have I hurt you the most in our relationship?
  • What does it mean for us to “forgive and forget”? Can we let go of all we need to so that we can move forward together?

A thriving marriage in every season

Every bride and groom enters into their union with a promise to have and to hold, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until death do they part.

When all hopes seem to be gone, take a moment to consider your marriage vows.

“I didn’t marry you because you were perfect… I married you because you gave me a promise. That promise made up for your faults. And that promise I gave you made up for mine. Two imperfect people got married, and it was the promise that made the marriage. And when our children were growing up, it wasn’t a house that protected them; and it wasn’t our love that protected them; it was the promise.” – Thornton Wilder

There can be beauty and growth in each season. There's still hope for your marriage. So, hold tight to the good, work hard at the difficult, and commit to journey through life together.

Your marriage can survive this season, and thrive.

? 2020 Focus on the Family Singapore. All rights reserved.

 

Marriages may need additional support from time to time, especially when stressed or faced with new challenges such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. Would you like someone to journey with you through the issues you’re facing?

Focus on the Family Singapore continues to provide counselling support through video calls. Please contact us at 6491 0700 or make an appointment at www.ourgreektv.com/counselling to connect with one of our counsellors today.

We are here for you. Get more content to fortify your relationships in this COVID-19 season.

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