Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Four Seasons of Marriage

I believe that Dr. Gary Chapman is definitely one of the Christian marriage "gurus," whom I am constantly learning from. Just recently I came across his research on The Four Seasons of Marriage. This really puts the trials and treasures of marriage in perspective. Remember that Ecclesiastes chapter 3 tells us that to everything there is a time and a season. Commitment is what allows the seasons to flow seamlessly together.

1) WINTER- A period of coldness, harshness, and bitterness. The cause is traced back to rigidity or unwillingness to consider the other person's perspective and work towards a meaningful compromise.
~Emotions in winter include hurt, anger, disappointment, loneliness, and rejection.
~Attitudes in winter include negativity, discouragement, frustration, hopelessness.
~Actions in winter include destructive, speaking harshly, or not speaking, violent

~Climate in winter is noted by detatchment, unwillingness to negotiate, arguments, withdrawal, no sense of togetherness, just existing

2) SPRING- A period of new beginnings, and the excitement of creating new life. This is marked by a return of optimism, enthusiasm, and joy.
~Emotions in spring include excitement, joy, and hope.

~Attitudes in spring include anticipation, optimism, gratitude, love, and, trust.
~Actions in spring include nurturing, planning, communicating, seeking help when needed.

~Climate in spring is noted by vitality, tenderness, openness, and a caring heart. It is delineated by new beginnings, flowing communication, a sense of excitement, and planting seeds for the future.

3) SUMMER- A period of reaping the benefits of what has been planted, and sharing a deep sense of commitment and satisfaction.
~Emotions of summer include satisfaction, happiness, accomplishment, connection.

~Attitudes of summer include trust, commitment to growth, relaxed.
~Actions in summer include communicating constructively, accepting differences, attending seminars, reading books, spiritual growth.
~Climate in summer is comfortable, attached, supportive, and understanding. Dreams of the spring have come to pass. There is an enjoyment and satisfaction from accomplishments. Conflicts are resolved, and differences are accepted.

4) FALL- A period when things are changing. Initially,things look okay to others on the outside, but are deteriorating internally until the changes in the relationship become obvious.
~Emotions of fall include fear, sadness, rejection, apprehension, discouragement, resentment, and feelings of being unappreciated.
~Attitudes of fall include concern, uncertainty, and blaming
~Actions of fall include neglect and failure to face issues.
~Climate of fall is marked by drifting apart and disengagement. A sense of detachment and confusion

It is important to recognize that trials are temporary and sometimes necessary to grow in intimacy. Anne Bradstreet, British poet, says it best: "If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome."


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