Do you ever thank God for the hard times He allows you to endure? To the world, such a concept often seems ridiculous. “Why would I be thankful for pain?” However, it is often in those trying times that we seek God more, grow more, and become more like Christ. April showers come and after they are gone, we get to enjoy beautiful May flowers.
We love the “good” times, but what we don’t always realize is that we can stop growing and changing during the “pleasant” seasons unless we are on guard. Is it not easier to remember to water plants after they start wilting? When they look beautiful and sturdy, we are not nearly as aware of their need for nourishment and attention. The same is true in relationships. When everything is going swimmingly, we are not as likely to keep up “relationship maintenance.” “After all, everything is great! What is the point? Let’s just enjoy life and everything between us will be fine.”
A house may look great on the outside, but if it is not properly managed and guarded, a good strong wind can knock it to the ground. Even when we are not in a season of struggle, it is important to prepare our relationships for when those unpleasant seasons come. And they will come.
“Yes, life seems so great that I can stop guarding my mouth and actions so much. We are in such a great place now!” This may be true, but because you are in a good place, you may find yourself relaxing your efforts a bit. This is when you can easily slip up and say or do something hurtful. Continue to think about how you treat you sweetie even when it does not seem necessary.
Each night, pray specifically for your relationship and for wisdom regarding it. Keep walls around you both, not to keep love and good stuff from getting in, but to keep out negativity and poor attitudes. Guard your relationship like you would guard your home. Keep it locked. Only let in trustworthy people. If you do not believe it is in your best interest to answer the door when someone questionable knocks, don’t. And if someone tries to force his or her way in to do no good, have an alarm that will sound and notify you both to get to safety.
Don’t Become Complacent
Actively endeavor to make your relationship even better. Avoid sinking into a rut. Good times can easily turn into “normal” times, and normal times can turn into ruts. If you go out for dinner and a movie on your first date, you may think, “There is nothing better than this! I am having the time of my life!” But, if dinner and a movie is still your primary date activity by your tenth wedding anniversary, chances are the sparkle will have dulled a bit.
Just because something is great does not mean it cannot be improved. Enjoy the “greatness” of this happy season and then do something new together. Make it your goal to take your great relationship and make it even greater. Learn new communication techniques. Learn to fight more effectively and with less anger. Add countless activities to your “date box” and enjoy learning together.
If you keep walking, you will keep moving forward. If you stop walking and stand in one spot, it will be far easier to fall backwards.
Keep Making and Meeting Goals Together
What happens when men and women quit dreaming? They lose heart. They lose focus. They lose spirit. God created us to reach for something. If not, we would not long to be useful and heroic. When a couple is passionate about similar goals, they are helping themselves, and staying connected to each other.
Saturday, Eric and I had the same goal. Clean out the hall closet! It was a small goal, but a good one! We worked together, we organized, we discarded, and then we stood back and admired our handiwork together. It was a small goal, but it was still a connecting experience. The more small goals we accomplish together, the easier it will be to surmount larger feats!
Sharpen your teamwork skills now while life is pleasant, so that when you enter a season of stress or change, you will be an established force. When tough times come, you can look back on everything you have conquered as a team and know that with God’s strength and guidance, you will be able to conquer “this” too.
We adore the joyful seasons, but we must not let our guard down during those times. Looking back at history, many hard times followed times of great prosperity. When we get comfortable, we risk becoming careless. Live life to the fullest and enjoy your prosperous seasons, but keep your basements stored with provisions for harder times.
How do you guard your relationship during times of personal growth and prosperity?