The Seasons of Marriage

It's hard to believe we've been married for six months already.

Years and years ago, it feels like, when we were doing our pre-marital counselling, the book we were going through (the Alpha Marriage Course, highly recommended) mentioned different seasons of marriage. Spring, when a young married couple is in the blissful budding phase of their relationship. Summer, when children happen and life gets hot and fun and busy. Fall, when the leaves are turning and children are growing and you begin to harvest the fruit of what you planted before. And finally, winter, when children are leaving the nest and it's just the two of you; you my have lost the youthful passion of romance, but instead are enjoying comfortable, cosy days together.

Celebrating half a year with an onsen date, complete with milk afterwards.

Our pastor taking us through the course mentioned that these seasons also happen recurrently in a marriage. You're in love and romancing each other. You're enjoying life together. You begin to struggle with some withering branches. You have to be proactive to ensure you don't freeze in the chill that may have settled over your passion for each other. There are different seasons, but the object is the same: figuring out how and choosing to love and serve each other in that season.

Bento I made for my husband to show my love. He ate it at home, but still... it's the thought that counts.

Up until this point, I'll be honest, our marriage has been pretty smooth sailing. We've enjoyed a spring and summer with just a few freezing winter moments. But recently, with a temporary change in my husband's work schedule, the season is shifting. Usually, his work hours are something like 9:30 to 18:00. This is unheard of in Japan, and we are so blessed by his boss and company. However, for a couple months this autumn, his work schedule involves leaving the house at 6:15am and getting home around seven or eight in the evening, including Saturdays.

This change has meant several things for us.
  1. I am growing in my capacity to handle work and home (and free time...) without him.
  2. We are getting better at time management, realising that if we don't create intentional, concentrated time for each other, it will never happen.
  3. I am becoming increasingly thankful for his regular work hours.
This season is helping me to understand more of what most Japanese wives go through on a daily basis. (Bravo, to all of you. Hands down respect over here.) Due to the standards of Japanese corporate life, it's common for working spouses to be away from home 12-14 hours a day. I finally can say I have experienced what that's like. The other day, I got a text from him saying,
          'I get to leave work early! I'll be home around 5!'
The joy I felt was indescribable. A whole evening with my husband! And I realised then how much grace we experience daily in our lives, and never realise until it's taken away.

At our wedding, my dad gave the wedding sermon. He talked about Jesus' miracle at the wedding in Cana. He said that in the hard times of our marriage, when we have run out of wine, we can trust Jesus to take whatever water we have and turn it into wine for us. That is the miracle of His grace. And that is what I have decided to call this season. Not winter, fall or spring: but a season of grace.

More time to spend with friends in this season. This too is grace!


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