"Man, It's Dark up in Here!"
Today marks the beginning of one of my favorite seasons: winter.
One of the many reasons I love winter is because it's the only season that houses Christmas. I love everything about Christmas. I could start and stop with my love for Christmas at the reason for the holiday. But it's also the songs, the smells, the lights, the hot chocolate, and the overwhelming sense of kindness that caused me to fall head-over-heels in love. You find yourself striking up conversations about tabletop centerpieces with the blue-haired, great-grandmother in the middle of Michaels Stores, or chuckling about the time your grandchildren tip-toed down the stairs in the dead of night and ripped open every single Christmas gift with the gentleman your seven year-old granddaughter mistakenly thought was Santa Claus, himself.
But the winter season also brings with it some not so pleasant phenomena, one of them being darkness. Winter is a time when the entire earth experiences the least amount of daylight. In other words, with all of the warm fuzzies, festive music, and gingerbread cookies, winter is also the darkest time of the year.
Every marriage, if it has lasted at least a year, will experience seasons of winter - seasons of darkness. These seasons are rude. Most often, they show up loud and announced. They may enter your life through open doors of infidelity, betrayal, financial mismanagement, soul ties, etc., or they may force their way through locked, solid doors and built up fortresses. Whatever the method, rest assured, they will make their way in. Dark seasons have no sympathy. They are everything but empathetic. They will slip in under the cover of night, when it's already dark, and they will brazenly intrude upon a happy home when the sun is shining at its brightest. It simply doesn't matter to them.
Remember though, winter is a season whose days are numbered. It will end, and spring will come.
Whenever you are faced with a winter season in your marriage, it is important you recognize it for what it is. It is a season, so treat it as such. Prepare for it. All year long, we know winter is bound to come. Depending upon where we live, we may purchase snow chains for the tires, cut down lumber to burn in the fireplace, or buy extra candles or kerosene lamps in case a winter storm descends and wipes out all electricity. All of these preparations are made before the winter season arrives.
In the same way, we have to winter-proof our marriages before the winter season actually comes. We have to put some safeguards in place. It's a great idea to sit down with your partner and discuss things he may like or things she struggles with. Ask him what it is he'd like you to do more of. Ask her what she'd like you to improve upon. And do this routinely. Just like seasons, people change and what worked when you first got together may not work in the current season or the next.
Maybe you initially enjoyed how Carl licked your ear and breathed his flaming hot breath into your ear canal, but after you contracted an ear infection and was placed on antibiotics that also gave you an intolerable yeast infection, you began hating the idea of having sex with Carl. Even fantasizing about Denzel didn't work for you. Now when you notice your husband undressing, you immediately become nauseated. After the ear infection, you struggled through sex for far too long, never really enjoying it. In fact, you had it all timed out. At 32 minutes and 11 seconds, the romp would be over and you'd dart from the bed, dripping wet, frantically searching for a Clorox® wipe to clean your ear. For years, you potentially missed out on some of the hottest, most satisfying dalliances in your entire life because you refused to tell him the season had changed for you. And then the door opened and the dark season put forth its foot and stood on the other side of the now, open door.
But even when the dark season enters our lives, his days are still numbered.
Wait the season out; but wait it out wisely. Realize that the arrival of a dark season is not an indictment against your marriage, but an opportunity to strengthen it. Never, ever make lasting decisions in the dark unless you make the decision to fight through it together. You see, for some marriages, seasons of darkness may prove to be a necessity. Seeds of hope, longevity, faithfulness, and loyalty are often planted in utter darkness, only to spring forth and bud when the light comes. If you're in a dark season in your marriage right now, hold on! Don't make any sudden moves or decisions. Instead, plant. Plant seeds of commitment. Plant seeds of faith. Plant seeds of longevity, and wait it out. While you're waiting the season out, why not wait on each other? Serve your spouse with love and without judgement. Take some intentional time to discuss your desires and your needs. The ones you realize you can fill for one another, fill them. The ones you cannot fill for one another, release them to God. And then wait out this season of darkness, together. I promise you, it will end.
Just like Annie said, the sun will indeed come out tomorrow.
Man, I love marriage!