This morning I felt a peace about myself as I got out of my car and, walking into work, heard the birds singing. It’s dead of winter in Indiana, right smack in the middle of the 3 worst months of freezing temperatures and snow and ice. This is the first week we’ve had in awhile where the temperatures weren’t below 20 degrees Fahrenheit! I am always hopeful when I hear the morning birds singing as it is a sign that Spring is right around the corner and everything will begin to thaw out and come back to life again.
Hearing the morning birds sing on such a bland, cold winter day, reminded me of the moments of hope that come during marital counseling. We feel hopeful, then that hope gets dashed as a huge snowstorm rolls into your marriage and brings everything to a standstill. It takes what seems like forever to recover and, because the marriage Getting isn’t fixed, you’re still in the dead of winter and bracing yourself for the barrage of storms ahead of you. The days are gray and lifeless and there is little realistic hope that you will get through this without significant weather interruption. But then, out of the blue, you hear the birds sing and there is hope. It’s not a long-lasting enduring hope that you can hold onto with both hands, but rather just a flash. It gives you just enough hope and strength to get through the day and face the devastation of the next storm.
As the counseling continues, you remain in limbo, not knowing if the marriage is going to work out or not. It is a very uncomfortable place to be, but after awhile, you become accustomed to it. This is more like Spring. There are no snowstorms that bring everything to a halt, but instead we experience thunderstorms that may be intense, but we can function in the midst of them. An occasional tornadomight knock us off course, but the threat of one is always much bigger than the odds of being struck by one. The days have leveled out enough now that we have cautiously optimistic hope most days. Eventually, the grass greens up and the flowers begin to bloom and it looks like we’re going to be okay.
Weathering the storms during counseling is indeed a difficult task, but we must hold onto the little signs of hope that keep us going. The storms are unavoidable, all we can do is brace ourselves and learn as much as we can while we’re stuck in it. And if we hold onto a sliver of hope, eventually the storms will be less frequent and less severe and we will view them as the Spring rains that make everything grow.
No marriage is devoid of conflict and, like the storms in our weather system, they serve a necessary purpose to our ecosystem. Don’t lose hope, the oncoming storm may be just what you need to save your marriage.