Recently, the area where we reside had a ridiculously warm month of December. The temperatures were in the mid 70’s to the low 80’s for essentially the entire month. To my dismay, my grass, which would normally not be growing at all began to grow. And notwithstanding I hate to see weeds growing from my lawn, that was growing as well. However, I was flabbergasted to see dandelions sprouting up while I was stringing Christmas lights.
Married life can often be just like my lawn in December; due to unexpected seasons and circumstances, unexpected things can appear in your relationship. So, the question that comes to mind is what do you do when the unanticipated happens in your marriage? Here are a few tips to help your marriage thrive when things happen that are out of your control and out of season:
- Recognize what you can and cannot control. When I saw those darn dandelions in my grass, my first reaction was shock, quickly followed by anger, and then frustration. This is typically the progression of emotions that couples can experience when unforeseen things happen, but what we do next with these emotions will determine the immediate trajectory of our marriage. I realized that I could not control the weather, but I could control the appearance of the dandelions on my lawn. I walked through my front yard and methodically plucked up each dandelion until they were all gone. Successful marriages require work and periodically when unexpected “weeds” appear on the lawn of our union, we must be willing to stop what we are doing and put in the energy, time, and effort of removing those things that do not belong in our marriage.
- Resist the urge to complain about something or someone that you cannot change. While I was plucking each one of those dandelions, I began to complain but, that did not change the fact that the dandelions were there. I decided to stop complaining and change my attitude about the situation. The dandelions did not change, but I changed because of the dandelions. Many times in marriage, we complain about what our spouse is or is not doing, all the while lamenting that “they need to change!” However, the only person we can change is ourselves. I think that God uses our spouses as divine change-agents for us. Our actions and reactions to unexpected changes delivered by our spouse are often what God wants us to pluck up out of marriage.
- Learn to appreciate and even celebrate the unpredicted. While I could have focused primarily on the out of the blue warm season that brought bad weeds & work, I chose to focus on the great weather in December. My wife and I found several ways to enjoy the warm weather with each other. In marriage, couples must learn to expect the unexpected. Perhaps, the best way to take the unforeseen storms and seasons of life is to take them in stride and take them TOGETHER! No matter what happens or how it happens, be thankful that you are together and appreciative that each of you brings something to get through the dandelions of your marriage.
By Derrick Barbee