We’ve accepted the revelation that even good change is a great challenge to our emotional state of well-being
Are you in the process of beginning again? I, Sean, know all about starting over having moved to 17 different homes between the ages of 5 and 18. After a while, moving to a new space for me didn’t seem like a big deal. In fact, I’m invigorated by conquering new places. Fast forward to my parenting years. While our children were in elementary school, we needed to move in order to keep them in a preferred school district. But our children struggled as we packed up in preparation to lease a new home. What blew my mind was the fact that the new residence was a few blocks down the road within the same neighborhood. I now understand that even if you’re moving a block away, the moment you decide to relocate, you’re beginning again. Whether being promoted on the job or changing careers altogether, you’re in a phase of starting over.
There’s a toll that life transitions take on the soul. For instance, a couple has invested two long years raising their children. It’s time for the kids to venture out into the world and move out of the house. One spouse is leaping for joy. It’s good news. We’ve successfully raised a child. The other spouse must process the grief of transitioning from their nurturing role to…well, what now? What fills the void now that the kids are out of the nest? I, Lanette, am having to ask myself these exact questions.
We’ve accepted the revelation that even good change is a great challenge to our emotional state of well-being. Imagine then how difficult the road ahead is in the aftermath of a marriage crisis. And many changes require starting over. If you want to break free from the futility of cycling through dysfunctional patterns of thought and counterintuitive behavior, welcome to the club! We’re all about living a life filled with growth and productivity. We want you to ask yourself these questions:
- What are your needs now? Sometimes the “same ol'” date night places don’t hit the spot anymore. In the previous seasons of your life, maybe the typical dating routine was sufficient, but things are different because, well, you’ve evolved. The stress levels or workload on your job may have intensified. Shift changes and daily demands have hindered your quality time. You have grown to a new level, and your needs have evolved. You may desperately need to start your romantic life over from where you are now. If not, you’ll remain stuck in a relational rut. Eventually, it will cause a deterioration of intimacy. After a while, you’ll live as roommates rather than passionate lovers.
- Who will we turn to for help? Here’s the thing, both your friends and family carry a sense of bias. It may not be best to turn to those closest to you. Think about it. They know you. They’ve also heard, most likely from you, insider information. Objective support for your relationship’s direction might not be a realistic possibility from your most intimate circle. Overcoming painful experiences or opportunities for better, isn’t easy. It would be best if you had wise counsel. If you’re keeping confidentiality between one another, you’re limiting the source of your support. Difficult discussions are filtered through the very individuals undergoing the challenge. It’s like giving open heart surgery to yourself. It won’t work.
At this stage in the Reed marriage, we’re walking up the edge of the hill. Hitting the tip of the mid-life, and honestly, we feel more influential than ever. It’s a season of leading our kids as they transition from late teens into their early twenties. Our forties are full of slow metabolisms, an increase of gray hairs, hot flashes, and mentoring—simultaneously. After clashing with our adult children, we realized it was time to relinquish some responsibilities. They’ve arrived at a place where we’re needed less as domineering caregivers and more as legacy leaders. We had to let go of the role we’d known for 20 years and lay hold to a new version of ourselves. And no, that was not an easy decision for me, Lanette.
Family is a tremendous value, so naturally, we want the family together all the time. But that’s not how life works, and honestly, the kids would go crazy. So, I weened myself off of them. As they grew older into their teens, I backed off trying to force family night, every night. I encouraged them to be free while Sean and I bumped up our dating and travel. After taking the time to process our new routine, we determined that our goal was that future generations would see in us what an intimate, Christ-centered love looks like.
Listen, we’ve all made mistakes, but that’s just part of life. The question is, what are you going to do with these lessons learned? Get proactive in nudging forward from point A to point Z. Remember, small steps still move you forward.