There are phases and seasons in a marriage. You have the “honeymoon” phase where everything just feels magical and the whole world looks friendly because of the love you feel in your heart to each other.
You have the “golden years” phase. After being married for 30 or more years, life is comfortable and safe with each other. You know how to walk contentedly side by side with one another.
There are many cycles in marriage. Ups and downs. Sometimes those cycles include seasons of feeling out of step with your spouse. You feel like you are working against one another instead of together. Your priorities feel different, your goals feel different, and you just wonder if you are always the one that has to compromise in order to get things on peaceful ground again.
These cycles are kind of like growing pains.
We don’t just grow together in a marriage, but we grow personally. And sometimes those personal growth issues can feel like they are at odds with your beloved’s. One person may grow at a different rate. Another may change their visions. It all upsets the basket, so to speak.
But it can be good. And it can be healthy, if you let it.
I have found that these times are scary. You have to communicate A LOT and sometimes those discussions grow heated. Hurt feelings ensue. Frustrations abound. But they also show you what you both need to work on.
It may feel like you are always the one sacrificing. But usually, both people feel like THEY are always the one sacrificing.
In reality, both parties in a marriage should ALWAYS be the one sacrificing. For if you both sacrifice, you both win. You give a little and you gain a little. It may not be the complete picture that you envisioned, but you get to move more towards what you feel you need for your life instead of not at all. And so does your spouse.
So it’s a win-win for you both. If your spouse is happier because they get some of what they want, aren’t you also happier? And if you are happier because you get some of what you want, isn’t your spouse happier?
Most of the time we feel out of step because we aren’t working cohesively as a team. It’s okay that a husband and wife don’t always have the same goals in mind, as long as you each are willing to understand and encourage the other in the goals that they feel are personally important to them. Otherwise, these cycles can enter into a downward and dangerous spiral that can do great harm to your marriage.
I think the toughest thing about marriage is that you just can’t think only of yourself. You have to think for two. And you have to constantly remind yourself that sacrifice isn’t always a losing situation, but sometimes it’s a vital and winning situation when it comes to the health of your relationship.
Being out of step with each other will happen. The key is to recognize it when it comes and to not let it grow out of control. Address the issues even if they are uncomfortable. Target areas that need to be fixed, and continue to love each other through these times.
It’s the only way to find your steps in sync once again.