The Four Seasons of Relationships
We all long to be in healthy fun-loving relationships. When we think about our relationships or our ideal relationship, we picture only the good and beautiful aspects of being in a relationship with someone. We don’t think about the rough patches. All relationships experience some type of rough patch. There is no such thing as a conflict-free relationship. The book, “The four seasons of marriage,” by Gary Chapman, offers an excellent depiction of how relationships experience seasons much like the four weather seasons that we experience.
Most relationships begin in the spring season. Everything is new and exciting. Communication is flowing well, and there is hope for a beautiful future. You might say that love is blossoming. As the relationship moves to summer, the connection grows deeper. Trust and commitment are at their all-time high. The tolerance level of each other’s quirks is high. Disagreements and conflict are handled in positive ways. A great deal of satisfaction is experienced during the spring and summer.
Then there is fall. Often couples are caught off guard with the uncomfortable feelings experienced during the fall. They know something is not right but just can’t put their finger on it. I see fall as the season of warning. The concerns and disconnection that are being experienced are warning signs that the relationship needs to be nurtured. Blame tend to surface during the fall, which is unhealthy behavior that often leads to further deterioration of the situation. We all have basic relationship needs we need to be met. When those needs are not met, we feel like we are not being heard or understood. As the drifting apart continues, winter begins to set in.
The hurt and anger expressed using harsh words, dismissive behavior, or avoiding each other bring on the harshness of the winter. The relationship is so cold that everything has a negative stance. Communication has transformed into arguments or the silent treatment. Deep loneliness is felt. The attitudes and behaviors of the couple will dictate how low the windchill factor is of the relationship.
Unlike the weather seasons, spring doesn’t automatically come. Some couples choose to live in winter for various reasons. Unfortunately, most relationships will end in the winter if the season persists. However, there is hope of spring if both individuals are committed to the process of repairing their relationship. Both individuals will need to honestly share how each contributed to the state of their relationship. This can be a hard pill to swallow. Even enabling contributes to the state of the relationship. Own your part and be willing to work together to make the necessary adjustments to move your relationship to the desired season. Fall and winter, they do not have to last. You can strive each day to keep spring and summer alive by doing it together.