When a couple says their wedding vows they are promising to be committed to each other through all the changes life will throw at them. Some will be expected, others will hit them out of no where making it difficult to find their course. But in order to make a marriage work, you must discover for yourselves the best way to navigate these waters.
In our 37 years of marriage we’ve faced all kinds of changes:
- growing family
- schooling options
- church involvement
- caring for aging parents
- loss of dear friends–either by death or by them moving away
- changing hormones
- extended illnesses
Through all of these God has taught us what works and what doesn’t, and we want to share with you what we’ve learned. Maybe it will help you at least to ask the right questions.
When considering a ship at sea the captain must be alert for needed alterations in the course ahead. The goal is to reach the destination safely with its cargo safely in tack.
- First, make sure you understand what all the options are. It’s easy to assume you’re both going the same direction, but you must take the time to talk about it. You may be shooting for different points on the compass, which may not make much difference at first, but as you continue further you end up way off course.
- Be willing to listen to what your spouse is saying, not what you are hoping to hear. Manipulation will not serve you, your spouse or your marriage when facing major changes. All it does is make the changes harder to accept.
- Seek God’s will in the matter. As you both pray and make your requests known to God, He has promised to lead you in the way in which you should go. You can trust Him.
- Seek the counsel of others with whom you trust. It’s amazing how much this one practice has helped us face unexpected changes the most. Our friends often have more faith for us than we do ourselves. The encouragement from others carries more weight than you realize.
- Look at the changes with eyes of faith not fear. For some this comes natural. For others it’s very difficult to take that first step. God has promised He will help those who cry out to Him. Try it and see if it doesn’t help you as well.
- Remember that when you’re facing changes, it’s not the end of the story, just the beginning of a new chapter.
- Embrace the adventure together. Many times change brings a fresh gust of intimacy as you hoist the sails of faith not knowing for sure what lies ahead. It doesn’t have to be a frightening experience, it can be quite invigorating. Enjoy it!
Our pastor said over and over through the years that constant change is here to stay. We used to laugh at him. Now we nod our heads in agreement. We haven’t always jumped with both feet into the changes we’ve faced, but the older we get the easier it has become to let go and see where God take us.
How about you? What changes in navigation has the Lord brought your way? What did He show you in the process?