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Surviving Marriage's Winters

Surviving Marriage's Winters

With prayerful work and a new perspective, we saw spring come again
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I'm mesmerized by spring. Flowers I thought were crushed and lifeless under the weight of months of snow come back to life. I'm most fascinated by crocuses, the earliest-blooming flowers. Their stems push through inches of frost and ice, braving the cold to broadcast their dedication and beauty. The first glimpse of green despite the freezing surroundings makes me stop in my tracks and admire something I forgot even existed.

I'm beginning to see how similar my marriage is to that delicate crocus. Like most relationships, my husband and I couldn't get enough of each other when we were dating. We stayed up much too late talking on the phone and spent the majority of our free time together. Our relationship went to an even deeper level after we got married. We laughed way too much. Had food fights. Shared our hearts and dreams. But then something happened.

Last winter, as the snow fell and life became barren, our marriage followed suit. I can't pinpoint what changed. Perhaps it came from years of issues we thought were resolved yet really stayed just below the surface, ready to jump back to the forefront whenever we got into a fight. Maybe it came as a result of the fact that I was working on a big project that demanded more of my time and energy. Maybe it was the seven-year itch I'd heard others warn me about. I can't say. All I know is that everything in our relationship changed and I didn't like it. More accurately, I didn't like my husband. I voiced my complaints. Loudly.

My closest friends knew everything my husband said or did that most affected me. Allen heard all about my heartache and disappointment. He began to feel hopeless and his level of confidence plummeted. As my finger wagged and triggered his insecurities, he retaliated, unconsciously trying to bring me down to where I took him. We began our dance on broken glass.

I wanted out. Desperately. Like a pilot in a downward spiral, I was ready to hit the ejector seat. Part of me wanted to fight for the love I had once cherished, yet a greater part wanted to protect what little was left of my breaking heart.

Hope in a Dictionary and a Mirror

I fell into a pattern of survival, clinging to anything that would help support or sustain me through that trying time. I found solace by talking to friends, knowing they loved me and my husband enough to remain unbiased and pray for us as a couple rather than just listen to my side and tell me what they thought I wanted to hear. But my greatest source of comfort came from a passage of Scripture I'd long held on to: Psalm 91.

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Displaying 1–3 of 12 comments

Stacy Voss

March 04, 2014  1:48pm

Thank you, Melissa. Your prayers mean more than you know!

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Stacy Voss

April 05, 2013  6:16pm

Oh Arlene, I can't imagine the despair you must feel after several seasons of winter, especially when they're long. Or I guess I should say I can imagine that despair because I've lived it, too. I'm praying you don't just find a sign for each day, but that you can see the green stems bursting forth in your marriage as you find a deeper satisfaction in it than ever before.

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April 03, 2013  2:27pm

Every day when I wake up I think to myself this might be the day the winter of discontent in my marriage will turn to spring. And every day I look for some sign that will help me believe that. This article was my sign for today! I've been married 20 years now and have experienced several 'winters' - some harsher or longer than others - even though I live in a tropical climate! Stacy, your description of the 'before' picture of your marriage is identical to what I'm experiencing now - my husband is distant and withdrawn while I have been trying to point out all that is wrong with him and our relationship. He doesn't even respond to my critiques any more and we resemble what Gary Chapman refers to as 'the dead sea vs. the babbling brook'. In the past few weeks I've made some conscious decisions to not voice any further complaints but to just work on me by the grace of God. Thanks for your candid revelations which I know will help many - including the ones I've already shared this with.

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