Summer- A time of fruitfulness, Winter- A time of struggle

When your spouse is experiencing a different season than you

Have you ever had a time when you were energized and excited about something?

I recently had a time in my life when I was so excited about the changes I was going through.  Life had finally slowed down a bit.  We were settling into our new house, our baby was born healthy and happy, we were getting to know some of our new neighbors who seemed to be as cool as we are, and our older kids were happy and settling into their new schools with new friends and activities.

My husband and I were set to go on 10 year anniversary vacation together, and I had recently started working out to get into shape for it.

I was also in a great period of personal and spiritual growth.  We were attending church weekly, the kids were attending Awana and sharing with us how they were growing in our faith, and I was a part of a wonderful group of women that met weekly who were supportive, caring, loving, and encouraging to one another.

I could feel God’s blessings with each breath I took it seemed.  And I was on an energized high because of it.

My husband however, was feeling winters blues.  He was struggling with some extreme changes at work, feeling down on himself that he didn’t have the time to work out and get ready for the trip like he wanted, and didn’t have the support group like I was experiencing with my group of girlfriends.

He was experiencing the harshness of winter, while I was enjoying the fruitfulness of summer.

Reflecting on this time in our lives, when he was in a much different place than I, while we were still living in the same house and experiencing much of the same things in our home, I’ve come up with some things to refer to when this happens again, as it inevitably will.

  1. Recognize the seasonal difference.
    It’s important to realize that your spouse is not experiencing the same things you are, and therefore is not in the same emotional place that you are in.  When my husband would come home depressed after a long day of working in the Minnesota winter’s cold and being unsure of where things were headed with his career, it was hard for me not to share with him the high that I was on from my day of feeling God’s blessings.  It would have been wrong for me to jump all over him with my happiness while he was feeling so blue.  It was important for me to let him work through his feelings, while recognizing his need for support.
  2. Don’t let their feelings dictate how you feel.
    While he was blue and depressed, it was difficult for me not to feel upset or angry when he didn’t have the energy to see the good we had going for us just then.  It was also difficult for me to remember that just because he was feeling down, that didn’t mean that I had to start feeling down as well.  It’s important to respectfully hold onto your own happiness even while your partner is feeling anything but.
  3. Pray for your spouse
    The importance of praying for your spouse will never change.  Its a powerful thing when you pray for someone, and praying for your spouse is extremely important to be included in your daily devotions.
  4. Support them where they are
    Listening to my husband is one of the most supportive things I can do for him.  He isn’t usually a talker, especially about his feelings and frustrations, but once he is ready to talk to me and talk out his concerns, usually he is able to better work through them.  I think most men aren’t known to be the talkers in their relationships, they are more comfortable finding ways to ‘fix’ other peoples problems rather than talk through their own.  I on the other hand, as I think may be the case with most women, find that I can work through things better when I am bouncing them off of people I trust.  If my husband isn’t able to help me through something, I have a few dear girlfriends who I know I can call up and talk through things with, who will be gracious and humble, and not cast judgement on me as we talk through the struggles at hand, and hopefully find some peace.

Sometimes it can be difficult to recognize life’s seasons for what they are, and remember that they are ever changing.  Having a spouse who is there to support you and love you through winter can sometimes make all the difference moving into spring or summer.


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