A New Season in A Relationship: Navigating Changes, Challenges and Choices

There’s a subtle dampness in the morning air that wasn’t there before. It creeps in, or maybe crashes in. The humidity hits. I’m not quite sure anymore, I am usually too distracted by the future to notice the difference. 

We are swaddled by the warmth and sunshine to be slowly placed ever so gently on wet pavement to play a little longer, then the lightning comes, and fear settles in.

Regardless of the beautiful, everlasting sun, it can’t stay all day. Other things come into play - the temperatures from oncoming storms, the rain slowly changing, teasing, and pieces of nature melt into the soil beneath our feet.

In reality, when we enter a new era with our relationships, things crash in, creep in, tease in and ultimately, if not entirely, out of our control. 

Despite everlasting commitments and love like the sun, trials and tribulations, hard choices and hurdles will be placed in your path for you to climb. 

So the question becomes, how do we navigate the changes?

As my husband and I walk down the newlywed path, we face the “big three C’s” often: from things like me expressing I actually really don’t like grape jelly and could we compromise with strawberry? To deciding where we are going to live and everything in between.

Big “C” One: How To Navigate Changes

  • Like the seasons, change will happen, and people will change. Embracing this truth is not accepting defeat or denial, rather preparing yourself that the person you are with, regardless of the type of relationship, will not be the same person a month or a year later. 
  • Invite the other person to discuss things you’ve noticed in each other that’s changing; allow this open to dialogue to be honest - not just positive or sugar coated. Before ending the conversation, talk about ways you both can support each other or adjustments that can be made.
  • Some changes you can control, but it might take some planning. These changes are usually intentional changes. Do you want to go to the grocery shop differently to save time? Do you feel you need to take more space in the evenings to read for yourself? Whatever it is, sometimes it’s worth making a list of stuff you want to change and invite your relationship partner to join in with you.

Big “C” Two: Navigating The Challenges

  • When changes start to occur, or become more frequent, be proactive in advance to identify the ones that may pose a challenge to your or the relationship. Look, I am a bit of a procrastinator when something seems super scary - but if we jump on these harder conversations and be open about our fears in advance, you both can tackle it together.
  • Adjust and analyze how you handle conflict. This one is tricky. We must uproot, and rip out the weeds of muscle memory on how to handle hard situations. We must train our minds and rewater the grounds of our intentions. It’s okay to admit to yourself that you struggle in certain types of challenges, and it’s even more okay to admit that perhaps in a few you didn’t handle it the best. Ask yourself how and in what ways are more improved responses, and you’ll notice a big impact right away. 

Big “C” Three: How to Navigate Choices

Starting a new season with someone you love is a beautiful tragedy. Both things give us many choices. Sometimes choices can be very overwhelming. We can’t stop the season’s from coming. We can’t go back in the past, so therefore, we must make constant decisions.

  • When we must die to the comforts or things we loved about who we were, and embrace something new. We must choose to be different than we were before. We must decide then and there to move forward by shifting our way of thinking and speaking. We have to solve a problem differently or find a new coping mechanism for ourselves or be a friend, partner or parent.

Not even because we are certain this newness is “mundanely better,” but because it is good in God’s providence and grace. 

It is the moment you look at cracks in the sidewalk and have a pleasant memory, or catch a fleeting glimpse of someone’s smile and know it’s the best thing you’ve seen. 

It is the warmth in a cup of coffee that makes you sigh in total relief for a few minutes. It is when you realize the activity you’re doing was at one point in time, so hard, and now your mind performs it with ease. 

It is the new words and ideas now discussed over a plate of french toast from a series of books you read the last few weeks. 

It is the look you give someone that now translates to a million sentences, only constructed in the time you’ve had up to this very moment. 

It is the gentle touch that heals a million wounds and a hug that only encapsulates more trust with every passing second you are held. 

A new season is not romantic and rosy, far from it. It is a true and deeper love. It is filled with pain and discomfort that makes even cracks on a sidewalk remind you of a thing of beauty.

Despite these “three C’s” being at times scary, the sunny days, and even the rain, are really amazing.

Written by Sarah Edwards. Want to get to know me? Say hi! https://liinks.co/setapartcompany

This article was originally posted for Set Apart Magazine at www.setapartcompany.com

Disclaimer: Sarah Edwards is not a certified or licensed mental health professional. Rather someone sharing real life experience and findings for others to find commonality and seek actionable steps needed for them.

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