If you’ve been married for any length of time you might have noticed that marriages tend to go through phases of more or less closeness, better or worse communication, and greater or lesser comfort. In The Four Seasons of Marriage author Gary Chapman analogizes these phases to seasons, and describes how couples can move out of hard seasons into better ones, or maintain status in a good season.
I found the seasonal descriptions helpful. The book includes a short diagnostic test to help you figure out which season you’re in, but you can probably pick up a good feel for that after you read each section. Some of the descriptors used for the seasons are:
- Winter – hurt, disappointment, hopelessness, cold, bitter, negativity, discouragement
- Spring – excitement, anticipation, optimism, love, communication, open
- Summer – happiness, satisfaction, connection, trust, relaxed, comfortable
- Fall – neglect, coasting, resentment, feeling unappreciated, drifting apart, detachment
After describing what characterizes each season, Chapman offers constructive advice for how to change your marriage season, how to deal with your differences, how to encourage your spouse, and how to strengthen your marriage. Although some of the material is covered at greater length in Chapman’s other books, I found the overview helpful, especially in light of the seasons paradigm.
I think this book would be helpful to most couples, but especially if you feel stuck in a season of marriage that isn’t the best. This book would give you the tools to move past a feeling of hopelessness and give you ideas to improve your marriage. Even if you’re in a pretty good place in your relationship, I think this book is valuable for it’s exhortation not to start coasting or resting on your laurels. Even when things are going well, you’re still sowing the seeds of the future in your marriage, and should always be working on it. The book is a quick read, and will give you lots to think about and talk over with your spouse.
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