Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
How do you feel about change? I wouldn’t say I like change. I could even say I hate change. I can happily eat the same food every day and not get bored. I can quickly get anxious if I know significant changes are ahead. I am the type of person who likes things to remain the same. The problem with that attitude is that life is constantly changing. As a couple, you are going to face many transitions. Those transitions can happen fast and furious in marriage.
You survive the first year, and then there may be job transitions, family transitions, even transitions in your relationship. I want to share some tips on how to prepare for changes that may happen in your marriage and how to navigate them together. Whether it is moving from parents of tweens to parents of teens, becoming empty-nesters, changing churches, or job changes, you can be prepared for the transitions and face them together.
It is crucial to prepare for transitions. Some of them will be things you are aware of, like having children, and other transitions will result from something outside of your control, leaving little time for preparation, like an illness, job loss, or the death of a loved one.
My husband and I have tried to look ahead in our marriage and parenting. We started listening to parenting experts before we even had our first child. We look to older couples and watch how they navigate the changes and transitions that happen in a family. Preparation is the key to success.
One of the early transitions in a marriage is transitioning to becoming parents. There is nothing like a sleep-deprived couple to raise tension in a home. The transition to mom and dad can easily hide the loving couple you once were. Go into the season of new parents prepared. Discuss how you will handle different roles.
My husband and I were exhausted when our twins refused to sleep during the night for months. We finally agreed that any short answers or hurt feelings that happened during the night when we were in survival mode needed to be quickly forgiven and not brought into the next day.
Look ahead at the transitions your marriage may encounter and communicate how you can go through those transitions prepared to face them together.
Don’t forget you are on the same team
Transitions can divide a couple. One of the largest segments of people we work with when couples face separation or divorce is empty nesters. Couples who transitioned into becoming parents then focused on their marriage relationship and put it solely on their children. When those kids leave for college and begin their own lives, it is not uncommon for a couple to feel like they no longer know their spouse.
When you face transitions in your marriage, don’t leave your spouse behind and adjust on your own. You are a one-flesh team. Work together to meet the changes that come. That doesn’t mean you will face each transition with the same feelings or attitude, but it does mean that you can be loving and respectful if your spouse handles a change differently.
Prayer changes things. Don’t go through life trying to handle things in your own power. That is a recipe for disaster. Seek the Lord together. Ask Him to guide you through the life transitions that will happen. Ask the Lord to give you both patience with one another. Ask the Lord to help you prepare physically, emotionally, and spiritually for the transitions that are ahead.
Whether your life transitions take you to a new home, a different job, or a new role as grandma and grandpa, you can honor each other and honor Christ in how you handle the transitions.
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Ephesians 5:21-25