Storms – it may begin with a car accident; on the same day a husband loses his job, then there is a call from the child’s school that he has been suspended. Thinking it could not get any worse: the wife’s mother dies the next day. Can anything else go wrong!
The above scenario may be a bit exaggerated. For some, it is not. If you have been married long enough, you will experience storms in your marriage. Those trial periods, in which, communication alone does not seem to be enough. If allowed, such times can threaten the emotional bond and stability in a marriage.
How do you and your partner handle a storm? Does your marriage ship sink, or like a skilled sailor? Or like a skilled sailor, do you and your spouse successfully maneuver through the storms of life.
Through the help of God in our experiences, my wife and I have learned four important elements in handling storms. They are having an anchored place, lightening the ship, tightening important values, and knowing your destination. These practices should be in place at all times, but become crucial during grievous times.
An Anchored Place
To keep the ship from being taken by the winds and waves, sailors anchor their ship. Similarly, it is essential for married couples to develop an anchored place. This can be a place and or time when both partners can come together to share their thoughts, feelings and simply be with each other. It’s not the time to discuss difficulties or make plans, although ideas may foster. Instead, an anchored place keeps the emotional state of the marriage strong in the midst of the storm. It’s a rescue place. A date night may be an ideal moment, or it could just be a special time alone away from the kids. Sometimes creativity is needed, such as sitting another hour together in the car.
Lighten the Ship
Sometimes we carry extra and unnecessary weight that hinders our relationship. They may be people who give unhealthy advice and suggestions. It can also simply be doing too much. During storms, married couples should lighten their marriage from activities, things, and people that bring unnecessary burdens to the relationship. Certain activities may need to be dropped or rescheduled. And you may need to change the company you keep. While going through the storms of life, you cannot afford to be distracted by nonessential things.
Tighten What’s Important
God, God’s will, and then the marriage are the priorities of a Christian couple. These values are non-negotiable even during difficult times. Knowing and applying core values, will keep a couple afloat even in the storm. What are the five most important values in your marriage? As said above, it starts with God. Beginning with your marriage relationship, list and agree on your other core values, and stick to them at all times.
Know Your Destination
Every good sailor knows how to navigate successfully to his destination. In like manner, every couple needs a vision, a picture of their future, and a plan to get there. A couple’s vision would include the spiritual, social, and financial expectations of the future. As the leader of the home, husbands with the help of his wife should develop a vision and a plan. This vision should be constantly rehearsed and kept in memory in the home. Writing it down may be helpful. It will be a source of encouragement and optimism during the storms of life.
Storms Create Memories
Although difficult, storms create unforgettable memories for the faithful couple. I remember one of those difficult times my wife and I endured. It had been about two months without a job, and was on my way to an interview. The interview went well. I was hired. But while driving home, the car broke down. It just seemed like everything was going wrong, one after the other. I got the job, but I needed the car to get there, and we were short on money. Anyway, I had the car towed to a mechanic, and got a ride home. That night, without a car, my wife and I walked about a mile to a local store, we held hands and talked along the way; something we had not done in a good while. Thus, we had a romantic experience, and an unforgettable memory.
The faithful couple will have many such memorable moments during the storms of life.