Recently, I was out for a walk and was struck with the beauty of the blue sky, smell of fresh cut grass, and the cool refreshing air. I thought about how much I enjoyed spring but then quickly started anticipating summer and my upcoming beach vacation. I had to chuckle to myself about how quickly I was ready to rush through spring without taking time to enjoy the mild temperatures and blooming flowers.
I started to think about marriage -not just mine, but marriage in general. All marriages go through seasons, each bringing joys and challenges. Yet, we are eager to rush through each season to reach the next.
Young couples get married and are eager to start a family. Then children arrive. Financial pressures and stress from parenting obligations soon follow. Two people coming from different family backgrounds, customs, religion and upbringing can create a great divide when they try to determine how they want to raise their children. This is only one of the many tests that marriages endure. Couples who haven’t taken the time to build a solid marital foundation may not be equipped to weather the storms.
That is why it is so important to enjoy the marital season you’re in and not rush through it. Newlyweds need to take the time to enjoy their newly formed union and learn how to work through the challenges that will arise. Explore the nuances of your mate, travel, be spontaneous and have fun. Enjoy your freedom. It will be tough to recapture this season.
Your time becomes limited and your focus changes once children arrive. More time is spent on the children rather than your spouse and you will need to work harder to find times to reconnect. This is normal. There will be many days you will wonder how many more diapers you will be changing, how many more swim meets you’ll spend your Saturdays attending and how much more you will be paying for insurance now that your teenager is driving. This too is normal. My advice is to enjoy your children, regardless of the age or stage. They don’t stay young forever, and the time will come when you will miss the constant chatter and noise in the home.
Empty nesters get the opportunity to reconnect once again. Years have passed and life has brought about new experiences and interests. Like newly married couples, you start all over getting acquainted with your spouse’s new interests and exploring this revitalized relationship. Reclaim this time for yourself. Do the things you put off earlier because of the children. Take the cruises, the European vacations and enjoy whatever money you were able to save because of God’s blessing (Duet. 8:18). Most importantly, let your grown children be adults. They’ll run into the same problems you did at their age, and like you, they’ll figure it out!