Marriage is a journey. A journey that can be a beautiful ride, and a journey that can also get a little bumpy. You don’t even need to do anything different than you normally do, and all of a sudden you’re off roading and tightening up your seat belts. Why is that?
Life just happens sometimes, and you have no control over that. That’s why it’s so important to recognize the times when you do have some control. No matter what life decides to do, you will always have choices in your marriage, and we want to help you choose the smooth road over the bumpy, pot hole filled one, whenever possible.
Here are 3 cautionary signs to look out for as you travel this journey together. These are your signals that it’s time to be on guard and prepared to make good choices, instead of mistakes.
Demanding problems. Problems are loud, and they are always seeking center stage. It’s necessary that they get the attention they need, but they also don’t need as much attention as they demand. When they come up, you must intentionally choose to identify the problem and then be sure to give more of your time to finding a solution instead of fixating on the problem.
Be willing to identify the problem without getting stuck on the symptoms, and then take the next step of formulating a solution. Take the time to agree now that you will be a solutions focused couple, instead of a problem catastrophizing one. Work together as a team. Don’t make the mistake of allowing it to be you two amidst a problem and against each other, but instead, let it be you two against the problem..
If only. There’s a big appeal to comparison nowadays. We’re all aware of social media and the good and bad that it brings with it. Be cautious over feelings of “if only”. If only we were like, “the Jones””, “if only” we had a vacation home, or “if only” my spouse planned a vacation for us. Falling prey to the “if only’s” is like getting stuck in a roundabout. You will never arrive as long as the target is not your destination, and as long as it’s constantly moving. Stay in your lane and on your path as a couple. Let everyone else do their own thing. Their journey is different than yours, and that’s exactly how it should be.
Hurrying. When you feel like things are taking too long to get better, keep in mind that change takes time. Your marriage will always be a work in progress. Don’t get caught up in thinking that 2 steps forward, one step backwards is a bad thing. Give each other grace and time to make adjustments, to meet goals or to learn new things. Give your problems time to be repaired. Most things in your marriage won’t be immediate. That’s ok. Don’t rush change and don’t give up because it’s not happening fast enough.
All things said and done, if you want to keep moving forward in your marriage, especially during the hard times, be prepared and solution focused for the hard times, keep jealousy and envy at bay, and add lots of patience and grace for one another. Don’t let discouragement take over.
Marriage is a wonderful journey and it’s meant to be filled with all the things; love, patience, frustration, refining, redemption, joy, goodness, all of it. Take your time in it. Savor the ride and keep growing it and building it. Make good choices for your marriage.
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” Galatians 6:9
Enjoy the Journey!