Although the weather is still very hot in Arizona and will likely be throughout early October, change is in the air. I can tell that the sun is shifting, and the days are getting a tad shorter. There’s just a little more than a month until fall, with the first official day being September 23rd. Before you know it, we’ll pull out jackets and boots and will slowly start wearing them in lieu of shorts and tank tops. As one season ends and another begins, we transition from what feels normal and comfortable to something new.
Just like the seasons transition and signal that change is coming, our marriages go through seasons and transitions too. Some are planned and others are unplanned. Having children, buying/building a home, moving, a new job, caring for aging relatives, going back to school or sending the kids to college are just a few of the transitions we may face.
While some transitions are exciting, others can be scary and stressful. Or maybe a combination of both. How we do navigate transitions and change with our spouse? What can we do to stay close and strengthen our relationship during such times?
Here are three steps we can take to help our marriages thrive, not just survive a transition:
- Have a Strategy Session: It’s amazing how quickly we can get on a different page from our spouse, coming up with individual plans that don’t match up. When my husband and I were newly married, we’d sometimes have fights on Saturdays because we each planned the day out and had expectations of how the day would go. We’d get upset because we hadn’t talked to each other about it ahead of time. We had different ideas of how we should use our time. When you’re navigating a big change, like buying a home, moving, or taking on a new job with a new schedule, sit down and strategize together. Talk about all the details together before moving forward with a big decision, new routine or venture.
- Communicate Regularly: George Bernard Shaw says, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” Often, we sometimes forget to communicate with our spouse about details. Make time to connect daily to communicate and update each other on changes to plans, new prospects or activities to add to the schedule. It’s so much better to check-in or over-communicate than to not communicate well.
- Fight for Time Together: Time can seem scarce when you’re navigating something new, but it’s so important for us to fight for time together. Say no to something so that you can have regular intentional time together. It doesn’t have to be anything big or fancy but staying close to one another physically provides emotional closeness we need and desire during life transitions.
Transitions and the changing of seasons can surely test a marriage, but they can also make it stronger too. I’d love to know: how have you and your spouse navigated a transition time? What did you do to make your marriage thrive, not just survive?