Marriages are made or broken in the transitions of life. Between the transition points, most relationships operate smoothly. It’s the change points that test us. That’s certainly how it’s been in mymarriage.
My husband, Bill, and I were parenting preschoolers when I decided to become a re-entry college student. I had visions of the programs I could build, the books I could write and the teaching I could present to help women. My excitement was so intense that it scared Bill. He was afraid my enthusiasm would lead to more responsibility for him. The result was an ongoing argument that stretched us as a couple. We would talk, but we couldn’t resolve any of the issues. By the end of that year, some small thing set us off, and in exasperation I huffed, “Why is life so stressful? One of us must be doing something wrong, and I’m pretty sure it’s not me!”
After a few zinging comments back and forth, Bill’s words stopped both of us in our tracks. He said, “Pam, it’s not me; it’s not you; it’s just life!”
That bit of truth brought clarity to both of us. We realized that the quality of our love was going to be determined by how we handled the changing seasons that every marriage encounters.
The importance of preparation
Sometimes change comes from external pressures, other times from internal stresses. No matter the source of the change, embracing life’s challenges can bring maturity as it develops new strengths in each of us. As paraphrased in The Message, “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way” (James 1:2-4). How then can we turn life’s obstacles into love’s opportunities?
Written by Pam Farrel with Bill Farrel
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