Every relationship (every person) goes through seasons of transition. We move. We become engaged, get married. We take a promotion or change jobs. Experience a death in the family. A miscarriage. A birth.
Transitions can be highs or lows. Sometimes the transitions are less obvious: a project at work is completed, a simple comment at home leads to a defining argument, something imperceptible shifts the mood of one or both of us.
However they come, transitions are hard to navigate. They are complicated. Sometimes we don’t want to leave a season and sometimes we want to leave it so badly we aren’t aware of the dangers we are leaping into.
Change and Expectation
Every time a season or circumstance changes, a new set of expectations comes alive within us. It may be subconscious or super evident, but they are there. We expect things to go a certain way. There is also a feeling of loss from the season before. Even if it was a bad season, letting go of the familiar is always challenging work.
Because of these reasons, communication is vital during seasons of transition. It is difficult because change brings with it a barrier to communication. We are afraid the other person is not changing at the rate of speed we are. We are worried we’ll say something that hurts feelings.
Being honest and clear about how we are feeling and what we are thinking is an important first step for navigating seasons. When you are in a relationship, you are on the same team. Part of the beauty of relationship is figuring things out together. Yet our tendency is to not share anything we are thinking until we can make complete sense of it. So, we end up yelling about something trivial that doesn’t matter to mask our inability to communicate what is really going on. Facing the mystery head on is the best practice.
But the best tool for navigating seasons is a dose of healthy perspective.
When babies are young, they lack object permanence. If you put a hand or a blanket in front of a toy they are looking at, they will cry. They think it is gone forever. Teenagers have matured a little, but they still view their week as eternal. If someone breaks up with them or makes fun of them in the halls, the loneliness and shame they feel seems like it will last forever. Mature adults have developed the experience and ability to see things as an epic journey.
Unfortunately, most adults aren’t actually operating in this maturity. We think where we are now is all there is. And we are shocked when things change. The best way to navigate changing seasons is to expect change. To be ready for it. Don’t be surprised or devastated by The Mood Curve. It is a part of the journey.
There is, of course, a delicate balance. We have to be able to at once be present in our current seasons and be aware they may not last forever. This is a hard tension to hold. We tend to let go of one or the other and grab tightly to the leftover.
Relationships experience a sense of dizzying whiplash when seasons change. The best prep is to know that change is inevitable and it is good. It is actually neutral – it can be good if we adopt a proper perspective.
And if we have a vision we can commit to. Something that won’t change or transition. Something that truly defines who we are. Then, change is just about circumstance, not identity. And we are better equipped to adapt our purpose to our circumstances rather than feeling we have lost our purpose because our circumstances have changed.
To read more on perspective click here for a free download of the Yellow Balloons eBook! Use code: TRUTH at checkout.