Fall is my absolute favorite season of all. The crisp air, falling leaves, pumpkins, mums, pumpkin-spiced lattes, boots, flannel tops, regular visits to the pumpkin patch, and more. I love making memories with my family raking leaves into piles, baking pumpkin pie, making chili and cornbread, and putting on a light coat to walk the dog.
Just as we approach the changing season ahead and much anticipation is in the air, I believe we can learn something transformative in our marriages too.
The reality is we all face different seasons in our relationship. Some seasons are absolutely joyful and exciting while others are dark and painful. Some usher in newness of life and others are filled with dryness, stillness, and waiting.
My husband and I just finished a long season of remodeling our kitchen and dining room to better suit the needs of our family and guests. My husband worked hard on this project and I appreciate his handy work so much. But what you might not see on HGTV is how much demo and remodeling can negatively impact your relationship: communication failures, exhaustion, time consuming projects, mishaps, and financial pressure to name a few.
Different seasons in marriage also require ever-changing demands: job challenges, the birth of a child, your kids’ numerous activities, financial adjustments, accidents, health issues, mental struggles, aging parents, and more.
Sometimes we wonder, will we even make it to the next season? It feels so far away. We just can’t keep living like this.
Over the last 12 years of our marriage, I’ve learned that holding on to hope goes a very long way. As newlyweds when my husband lost his job, hope got us through that anxious time of doubt and waiting. When we struggled to get along, hope showed us that God would teach us how to love each other. When we gave birth to our four children, hope carried us through delivery and holding each child for the first time.
When my husband was in seminary and working full-time to provide for our family, we held onto hope that he’d make it across the stage to receive his degree. Years later when he was accidentally shot in the arm at the rifle range, hope carried us through our hospital stay, two painful surgeries, and a long road of recovery that impacted our children and daily life.
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Hope is a powerful thing. It enables us to get through anything thrown at us that we didn’t ask for. God also orchestrates circumstances to give us hope in miraculous ways: through the provision of others, a song we hear on the radio, God’s living word, prayer, the body of Christ, the testimony and life change of another marriage, learning from our sins and choosing differently, and watching God work in ways we never expected.
If your marriage is suffering right now under the weight of life’s trials, remember that hope is in front of you if you choose to believe it. Never forget that hope is often closer than you think. And before you know it, the expectation and longing for a certain thing to happen in your relationship becomes reality. You’re no longer looking at it from a distance, but you’re actually embracing it.
God can breathe back vibrancy, joy, and life into your relationship that you’ve never experienced before. Just keep holding on to Him. And one day you’ll look back and realize,
Hope got us through.
There’s hope in front of me
There’s a light, I still see it
There’s a hand still holding me
Even when I don’t believe it
I might be down but I’m not dead
There’s better days still up ahead
Even after all I’ve seen
There’s hope in front of me
-Danny Gokey, “Hope in Front of Me”
** This article originally appeared on TheCourage.com
Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife and mom to 4. She is the author of Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. You can connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.