In childbirth it’s the time when birth is eminent. Pain precedes birth bringing joy unimaginable.
Imagine if a woman in the throes of labor, decided to quit when the time of transition arrived. Transition is when the labor nurse says, “PUSH!” If the woman refused to do so, the safe delivery of her baby would be jeopardized. Pushing through the pain is required if new life is to come forth.
In the same way we must be willing to do the hard work when major transitions come our way. It is a joint effort, not something one can do alone. Pushing through the difficulty together will help you get to the other side quickly.
When Tom lost his job after we sold our business, it was a huge transition for us. We immediately planned a getaway in order to talk, pray and consider our options. It wasn’t the time to wait and see. We needed to make a change and it wasn’t one we saw coming. The emotions are raw in such transitions, requiring empathy and support. Thankfully, God opened doors for us. Doors we wouldn’t have necessarily chosen for ourselves. But life and growth in our marriage occurred as a result.
Eye glasses also come with transition lenses. These lenses automatically adjust to the surrounding light. If it is bright, the lens goes dark to protect your eyes. If it is dark, the lens lightens to allow you to see clearly. Transition lenses actually make the transition easier on your eyes.
Transition lenses are needed in marriage when you are having trouble agreeing on certain topics. You see it one way, your spouse sees it another. No matter how much you talk about it the outcome is the same. Communication becomes tense and outbursts of anger are often a hurtful comment away.
Choosing to put on these lenses as you talk helps level the ground. I like to think of these lenses as looking at the situation through the lens your spouse is using, and vice versa. Oftentimes we dig our heels in and refuse to consider any other viable option. Remembering that your spouse’s opinion is just as important as yours goes a long way in helping you to talk with each other in a civil manner. Many disagreements could be avoided if we took the time to see the situation from our spouse’s perspective.
It must be noted, however, that the lens doesn’t change quickly. It takes time for them to fully adjust to the light. In the same way we must give the conversation time for understanding. If your spouse doesn’t get what you mean right away, be patient. Explain your side again. Ask good questions for more clarity. The goal in communication isn’t to be heard, but to be understood.
When transitioning from one season to the next, fog is likely to occur. It can be difficult to drive through thick fog, though the roads haven’t changed, your ability to see it has. It is best to go slow until the fog lifts.
Changing seasons are the most common type of transition because every marriage faces them. And the best part is they can be anticipated and planned for. What makes season changes the most challenging is the fog that clouds the path. What was once an easy road to travel becomes dangerous to navigate. You need to move slowly and keep your eyes opened and attentive. Some choose to stay home and avoid the fog altogether. This may feel safe, but precious time is wasted. Rather than moving forward, you are drifting backwards for there is no standing still in marriage.
Weather forecasts help us know how to plan in the same way changing seasons help us know what to expect. We know that Spring follows Winter and that the frigid climate won’t last forever. If we are trusting our marriage to the God who created us, we can be assured growth will come if we give it time.
When Tom retired last year it took time for us to adjust to the new norm. Nothing felt the same. Our daily routine was altered and it left both of us feeling out of sorts. Again communication and understanding are the key in such transitions. If we are looking back with sadness missing what was, we will miss the good of what is. Maybe this is God’s intention with the fog–keeping us focused on the here and now. We can’t see behind or ahead, all we can see is where we are.
Transitions are meant to take our marriage to a new place. Avoid clinging to what you have. It only prolongs what God is wanting to do in and through your marriage.
I share these three types of transitions to help us position ourselves for what is sure to come. Every relationship goes through transitions: childbirth, major moves, job loss or change, sickness, and many others. How you walk through the transition makes a huge difference in the growth of your marriage.
Are you positioned for transition?