The weather here today has been yucky.
North of us were heavy snows and high winds. Schools and churches closed for the day, and lots of people I know tucked themselves in with hot chocolate and cozy afghans. To the south of us was a lot of rain.
Where I live, however, we’ve had a combination of snow, rain, freezing drizzle, more rain, and more snow. The temperatures were hovering around freezing, and from one moment to next we didn’t know whether the precipitation would stick or not.
Leaving for work today posed a dilemma. I’d chosen an outfit that allowed me to wear shoes that would help me avoid slipping, but I didn’t know what outerwear to choose. If I wore a winter coat and knit hat, I would stay warm. However, at a certain point the coat and hat would get drenched and I would be stuck in wet clothes stuff for the rest of the day. If I wore a raincoat, on the other hand, I would stay dry—but my raincoat isn’t lined, so I was likely to be cold. My winter coat and hat are easy to put on; my raincoat always seems a bit tricky.
Do I dress for winter or for spring? I wondered. Do I choose to stay warm and get wet, or be cold and stay dry?
No matter what outwear choice I made today, I realized that I would be comfortable in some ways and uncomfortable in others. Neither choice was wrong; they just carried different consequences.
I decided to go with the raincoat and an umbrella. I don’t like being cold, but I knew that as soon as I got inside a building, I would warm up fairly quickly. If I got wet, however, it would take me hours before I felt dry again. I made my decision based on what would be the least difficult to recover from.
In some seasons of marriage, we face the same kinds of choices. We know that whatever we choose, we’re going to be uncomfortable in some ways and comfortable in others.
Some choices may leave us feeling unloved for a while. Others may leave us feeling alone. Or exhausted. Or overwhelmed. Or sad.
As much as we might want to just tuck ourselves in with hot chocolate and a blanket, we need to figure out how to gird ourselves for the season we’re in.
Remember that a season is just that—a season. It isn’t the way things will be forever. It’s just the way they are for right now.
If you have to choose between several difficult and uncomfortable things that are not wrong, make the choice that will be easiest to recover from.
During a difficult time in our marriage, I made choices based only on how easy they seemed at the time. I gave no thought to the fact that in choosing one form of comfort, I was also choosing another form of discomfort—and some of that discomfort took me years to recover from. Although many of my choices were not exactly wrong, they created situations that took a long, long time to untangle.
We’ve been in a yucky season of life recently. We’re in the midst of a highly stressful situation with a loved family member. Big Guy is recovering from recent surgery and is adjusting to medication changes. I’m juggling multiple projects related to work and ministry and have some difficult tax stuff to figure out. Big Guy and I are both depleted, physically and emotionally.
Some days it seems that every choice we have in our marriage will be uncomfortable in some way. We remind ourselves that it is just for a season, and we are working to stay connected in ways that will sustain us through this season rather than leave us with challenges that are hard to recover from.
It isn’t always easy, but so far it’s working.
Besides, it’s only for a season. Fortunately.
How you sustain your marriage during difficult seasons?