I love to trail run. I love the exhiliration of running through the woods, feeling the ground beneath me. I'm usually just behind my yellow Lab. I don't live in what anyone would consider to be the Mecca of trail running.

But there is this one trail. . . I figure I have run it over 600 times. It is my standby trail, about 7 miles long. After that many runs, I know what is coming, and exactly where I am. I don't have to think about it, I just go. My mind calms and I think of deeper things, not the trivial everyday distractions.

One of the things I really love is watching the seasons change as I run the same stretch of land. I watch the progress of each season as I go: the growing warmth and green of Spring, the heat and humidity of Summer, the cool colors of Fall, and the bitter solitude of Winter. . .

Which led me to contemplate this about the seasons: Marriage is a lot like the seasons of the year. Problem is, we don't act like it is.

We like to think that a marriage is going to be just like it was when _______ (fill in the blank). We expect that we will always be gushing with the love, passion, emotions, etc., that many feel at the beginning of a marriage. Unfortunately, that is not reality.

So what if we shifted our thoughts a little bit? What if we started to expect that marriage is more like the seasons of the year?

This changes two things:

1. We stop pretending that nothing will change. We accept that things will change, and that this is OK.
2. We come to believe that the place we are will change.

In other words, things will not stay as good as we wish them to, but they won't stay as bad as they can get sometimes. Life is change. Life is shift. Life is seasons.

You may be reading this because you find yourself in the Winter of a marriage. It can all seem so cold, so barren, so desolate. It can seem that nothing will get better. We think back to the cool of Fall, wishing that even the cool was back. If you aren't careful, you can fool yourself into believing that something better can never come.

But Spring is always just around the corner, if we wait for it. I know, sometimes, we decide to just move to Antarctica, camp out in desolation. But if we just wait it out, Winter leads to Spring.

It may come slowly: kinder words toward each other, a hand held, a hug accepted. But soon, the Spring thaw takes over and there is growth. Spring can take some cultivation, action, effort. Ever worked a garden in the Spring?

I grow Banana trees in my backyard (yes, bananas can grow in Kentucky!), and when I plant the stalks each year, it is in the early days of Spring. The brown stalks have no leaves, look dead, and just sit there. . . for what seems like forever! But I have faith. I keep on watering. Then, one day, I notice a little green beginning to break through the top. Then a leaf erupts. Suddenly, the plant takes off!

But guess what? Even during the period when the plant looked dead, it really wasn't. It was hard at work on the inside, getting ready to shoot up!

Sometimes, marriage is the same way. Things just look dead, but there is lots of activity on the inside. Both individuals may be working hard to get things going, even if it is outwardly invisible. Suddenly, rather unexpectedly, Spring arrives.

And Spring is followed by Summer. Those fun, lazy days. Life just seems so much easier. The rhythm of life changes to an easier pace. Life (or the relationship) is enjoyed and savored.

But just when you think you have it figured out, some leaves start falling. Cool breezes kick up. In marriages, the assumption that you finally have it all figured out gives way to new disagreements and realizations that you really don't see things alike. The cool can be breathtaking. But it is easy to pretend that the cold is not coming. After all, there are still warm days.

Until one day, there is frost on the ground. Conversations screech to a halt. Tensions create distance. Distance leads to more cold. At that point, both people are wondering "what happened to the relationship?" How did it get so cold, so distant?

Well. . . that is the cycle of life! Winter does come. But so does Spring.

Nothing in life, or a relationship, is permanent. Bad times are followed by good times. And good times are followed by tough times. But even in those moments, the task is to not forget the inevitability of change. Then, it is a matter of doing what you can while you wait the seasons out.

As cold as it is, I still drag myself out to run the trail, because Winter may not be quite as enjoyable, it can be beautiful -- and Spring is coming!

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Baucom has been helping people to save their marriages for over 20 years! Learn how you can save your marriage at http://www.savethemarriage.com

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