Keeping Marriage Strong During Life Transitions

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In Todays episode we are going to talk about life transitions, unexpected circumstances, and how we can keep our marriage strong during high-stress seasons.

This Episode is brought to you by The Unveiled Wife

This is our first traditionally published book and in it we share those first four years of our marriage. It was definitely a strenuous and difficult time of our lives, one of our biggest transitions as we share the details of getting married …

and what we faced was definitely unexpected. So in sharing about life transitions in todays episode we also wanted to give a shout out to this book as it dives deep into how we handled it all and how God led our hearts through those tough times.

You can get The Unveiled Wife on Amazon.com

Transcript:

- Hi, and welcome to the "Marriage After God" podcast.

- We're your hosts, Aaron and Jennifer Smith.

- We have been married 15 years and have five sweet children who are growing up way too fast.

- We love God and we love marriage.

- And we love to be honest about it all.

- Marriage is not always a walk in the park, but we do believe it has a powerful purpose.

- So our goal here is to open up the conversation to talk about our faith and our marriage.

- Especially in light of the gospel.

- We certainly don't have all the answers, but if you stick around, we may just make you laugh.

- But our hope is to encourage you to chase boldly after God's purpose for your life together.

- This is "Marriage After God."

- Well, we are actually doing this.

- We're back!

- We're recording an episode.

- Yeah we are. It's been a long time.

- I always think it's funny, the moment we start recording, stuff happens.

- The doorbell rings.

- And then we have two UPS drivers. I don't know why it took two for dropping off this little tiny package.

- Or kids come in, "What are you doing in there?"

- It's just funny. 'Cause we're like trying to psych ourselves up to do this after not doing it for so long.

- But are you nervous, Aaron?

- Oh, yes.

- I am.

- But, speaking of how long it's taken us to get this new season out, this episode is kind of about that.

- Yep. So in today's episode, we're gonna be talking about life transitions, unexpected circumstances, and keeping our marriage strong during those high stress seasons. And speaking of life transitions, we wanted to let you guys know that today's episode is sponsored by my first book, "The Unveiled Wife." This is our first four years of our marriage story. So we're talking about that transition from being single to married and just the difficulty-

- And all the hard things that happened.

- Yep. Yep, it was a stressful time for us and we, in the book, share how God led us through that.

- And what I love about the book is it's got your beautiful face right on the cover.

- Thank you.

- It's like memorializing you. I love it. Anyways, you should pick up a copy of "The Unveiled Wife." It's available on amazon.com or on our site shop.marriageaftergod.com. So, this week's topic is on life transitions. Everyone has life transitions and we go through them. All throughout our life, there's gonna be all sorts of different seasons in our life where we have to transition from one season to the next.

- And I feel like, I mean I could be wrong but I feel like just everybody lately has been in really big life transitions.

- Uh yeah.

- People we know, people I see on social media. I just keep hearing this kind of same phrase, life transition, over and over again. So we know a little bit about this from this last year and we thought we'd kind of use today's episode to recap where we've been, what we're doing.

- Our last episode for the "Marriage After God" podcast was over a year and a half ago.

- That's crazy. Like, where does time go?

- Which is, way longer than we expected. Because when we took our break, we were like, oh you know, we're gonna come back in the fall or like whatever the next- We were gonna just do another season. And that didn't happen.

- But there have been so many times that we thought we were on the cusp of, okay, here we are, we're gonna start up again. And I think we even let people know on social media, "We're coming back" and then something got in the way and we weren't able to.

- Yeah, and so the thing is we kind of started something that kind of got in the way of the podcast. Which is okay, 'cause things do happen. Seasons come, transitions happen. And what was that thing that we were doing?

- So we decided to build a house, which is a really cool-

- And big.

- Investment and way to move forward with our family and our life and-

- Especially having five kids, now we wanted something a little bit larger, so we were like, hey, why don't we build and let's get out of town? And so we moved south farther away from the city and built something. That's been a big deal for us. It's been over a year of us doing this and we finally just moved in actually. Which is awesome! But that, being between homes, which is why we haven't recorded the episodes for the podcast.

- Well, all of our stuff was packed away in boxes and, seriously, the moment that podcast box came out and we started unboxing it, we both got super excited of the potential. Okay, how long is this gonna take? Let's start setting up now.

- Yeah, so we kind of got the table set up, we got our spot in the room set up, and we were like, okay, let's start planning. And that's what we've been doing.

- So for all of you who have been following along on social media and seeing those couple of times we said, "Hey, we're gonna start," and then it stalled, sorry, we're so sorry. But here we are.

- We love you. Thank you for waiting.

- We're here, we're so excited about this season. And we've had a lot of fun brainstorming, trying to figure out what can we bring, for your guys' sake to enjoy this podcast and to learn some stuff along the way, learn stuff about us, but also just take what we share and apply it to your marriage or evaluate where you're at in your relationship with your spouse and say, "God, what do you want? What do you want from us?"

- Well, and what I'm excited about with this episode is, we kind of wanted everyone listening just to know that things happen. Like we can have all of these expectations for ourselves or these plans, we can kind of want something for ourselves and for others, something that's good. And just sometimes things get in the way and that's okay. It was hard for us 'cause there was many times we were like, man, we were on such a momentum, we were having such a momentum, we were excited about it and just, we couldn't do it. And so now we're excited to do it again. And we hope that you're encouraged by us starting back up and showing that even though you don't do what you want, you can get back up and you can try, try, and try again. Is that a song or something like that? Sorry.

- Okay, so in getting them excited about what they might hear along the way, why don't you share what we've brainstormed for them?

- We have some topics. We have some topics on money and even cryptocurrency, 'cause that's a thing now and everyone's into it. I'm into it.

- You just went straight for that, huh?

- I did, yeah.

- You just want them to get super excited, okay. So we're gonna talk about money, inflation, all these different things that affect marriage, okay.

- Yeah, our journey with pornography or against it, I should say.

- Where we were and where we are today.

- Yeah, and how to slow down when life feels so fast, which is another thing that we've felt. We have kids just growing up really fast and it feels too fast actually. And then an episode, we actually got this topic from someone from the audience, about past baggage, things from our past and how it affects us. And there's many topics like that.

- Just a reminder for all of you listening that we don't come with all this authority in all these areas. This is just things that we've learned along the way that we wanted to kinda just talk about with you guys. And so it's not like a how to do X, Y, Z for a perfect marriage. It's more just like, here's what's going on and here's what we've learned or here's what we're struggling with.

- Can I say something funny about that? Whenever someone asks me, "Hey, what do you do for a living?" I'm always like, "Uh, well my wife and I write books and we encourage people in their marriages and their faith." And they're like, "Oh marriage, huh?" And I immediately have to tell them like, "Well, we're not like marriage experts or anything."

- Yeah!

- We use marriage as a way of encouraging people. We just like to share what God's doing in our life. But what you're saying is true, we're not coming as marriage experts. We're coming to just share what God's doing in our marriage. We believe that God loves marriage and we like to use our marriage as a catalyst to encourage people to grow closer to God and to their spouse.

- Definitely.

- And get in the Word of God. And so, that's what we do.

- Awesome. So I hope you guys can look forward to hanging out with us this next season. We have 12 episodes coming at you. And we also added a cool little feature of a Weekly Challenge. Something that you guys can engage with your spouse with and hopefully we'll have some fun doing it too.

- That's gonna be awesome. So this episode, "Keeping marriage strong during life transitions," why does that matter to try and keep your marriage strong during transitions? Is that an opportunity for it to get weaker or to drift apart or for contention to come in?

- Well, always. Our flesh is always being tempted and tried, right? When we say transition, we're talking about that process or period of time where life is changing. There's things shifting, there's that space between one another where circumstances come up and we get tried in how we respond to those circumstances.

- I also look at it as like, we get seasons of comfort where we kind of we know each other a bit and we have our ways of being, we have our routines, we have our thought processes, and they've just gone parallel with each other. And then in any sort of transition or turmoil, those connections that we have get tested. And it's like, there's this drawing of like, a pulling, a tugging on each other because we get tried in new ways. And so that area of comfort gets totally shaken. And that's where we're trying to encourage in this episode, is what happens in that mix.

- So we've been in a huge life transition for the last 10 months and we know that many other people and other families have been through so many different life transitions. Housing moves, across this country moves, job moves, having babies, losing babies through miscarriage, school changes and just so much more.

- And some of these shifts may have been like just really small and micro and you don't notice them but over time they build up, and the effects on you and others, and you may be still feeling those effects as well.

- Yeah.

- And so our heart is to speak into that a little bit, I think.

- Also just launching this season, season six of "Marriage After God," we're entering into that transition from summer to fall. So everyone is just feeling that.

- Like a seasonal transition?

- Yeah.

- Episode about transition?

- The season of pumpkin spice or bust, right?

- I'm not a big fan of pumpkin spice but I know there are people that love it. So if that's your thing, cool. I'm a black coffee guy, so.

- I'm like a pumpkin pie or bust.

- I could do pumpkin pie. Yeah, and pumpkin spice cake. Okay, so I can do pumpkin spice in some ways but not in my coffee, for sure.

- Okay, so our life transition, let's start there. We sold our house last year and moved out in October and had this dream of building a home together, which we thought was going-

- Which naively, we thought it was gonna happen way faster.

- We thought that that was going to be a lot faster than what happened. And there were some hangups along the way for different reasons. I know one of them was just getting our permit to build took a lot longer than we thought. Lots of hangups from COVID and, you know-

- Well then it starts snowing and that just slows everything down. So, it's not like it's anyone's fault. I think there's probably people laughing that are listening that have gone through this process. 'Cause there's always this thing, is like, oh, it's always gonna take longer than you think.

- It's always gonna cost more than you thought.

- And I'm an idealist and I'm like, no, it's gonna happen faster. And it's gonna be cheaper. Nope. That's exactly what everyone says, longer and more expensive. But, it's fine.

- The cool thing about what happened was God just led us through a huge time of being humbled, having to rely on his resources and-

- And the church.

- The church.

- We had friends that invited us in and helped us and were with us along the way.

- We also took a little trip with the kids. I say a little but it was like-

- It was huge.

- Six or seven weeks. And it was really incredible just to have that time together as a family. That was one of the things we planned for and we thought when we were coming back, we'd be coming to a house and that wasn't what happened. And so, having to shift gears in the moment and be okay with that was a big deal to me. I think God taught me a lot about flexibility.

- Yeah, so speaking of flexibility, how many houses have we lived in since October?

- Yeah, it was over 30. But again, we took that trip and we stayed in Airbnbs, we stayed at parents' houses, we-

- Friends' houses, trailer.

- Yeah. It's been very interesting, to say the least.

- I've actually really enjoyed it. It was long and I did want to be in a house, but it was actually really cool seeing how our kids and how we were able to do it, that flexibility. I think our kids are gonna just look back and be like, oh, we could do anything almost.

- I hope so.

- I hope they think that. That's not to say it wasn't difficult. That's not to say that we didn't have hard times. That's kind of what we're talking about. But I really enjoyed it, I wouldn't trade it. I wouldn't, I know you would.

- No, no, no. I'd maybe trade parts of it.

- Parts of it, yeah.

- But no, it was good. Okay, so what was the hardest part of that whole transition, kind of living nomadically, displaced, not having a solid home, place to call home?

- For sure, for me, the hardest part of that 10 months of just not having a single place with all my things where they go with all that stuff was routine and consistency just disappeared. It was gone. Now I probably could have tried harder in the midst of this stuff and kept something. There was times I tried that, but man, I feel like I lost all forward momentum with like exercise and diet and being in the Word and all these things that were just part of my daily routine. I'm having to fight for that again right now. What about you?

- I think for me it was, if I put it in simplest terms, the setup and take down of each place we stayed at, even during traveling, it was like I'd go in and-

- Yeah, it was rough.

- Bring all of our clothes in or whatever we were using, and sometimes it was just a couple of days between places. And so, I felt really exhausted.

- That was rough.

- Yeah.

- Just to go back, one of the things that I really regret dropping the ball on was not being consistent with our family Bible time. And that's something I've been trying to regain again since we've been in the house and even before that, like just working really hard at getting my family back into being in the Word of God every morning as a family. So I'm sad that that happened, it did, but we're working on it.

- Something that I noticed between us personally in our marriage was usually we'd have these kind of routine dates where we'd vision cast or share, like, okay, what's on the agenda, what are we working towards, you know, goals? And I noticed that that kind of got put on the back-burner and neither one of us really brought it up for a while. And I think it was just 'cause we both felt super overwhelmed by our circumstance that, like, how could we think about the future without this other major thing happening and being final?

- It was almost like we were waiting to get over this hurdle before we recouped that. But you can also look at it like we were on a 10 month date. This was like a one long amazing date.

- I'll say this, God put something very specific on our hearts to pursue together at the beginning of the year that we've been diligent to work through. And I'm really excited about that.

- Oh I think I know what you're talking about.

- It's like the one thing that we were working towards aside from building a home. And I'm really excited to share that with everybody. But maybe we'll leave them hanging there for a minute. Or shall we just tell them?

- That's up to you.

- Okay, so just today, we turned in our manuscript for our next traditionally published book that I've been wanting to write for so long. I'm so excited about it.

- And it comes out in the fall of next year.

- Yep, so you guys can look forward to that. Do we wanna share what it is or we'll leave that part out?

- Let's leave that part out.

- All right.

- You'll have to find out in future episodes.

- Stick with us through three more seasons. No, I'm just kidding. We'll let you guys in on it soon.

- So we talked about things that were hard during that transition this last 10 months, almost a year for us. But, like we do with our kids, we don't always just let them do their lowlights. What's a highlight? What's something that just stands out to you, like, man, that was awesome?

- Real quick, if you don't know what Aaron's talking about, we will sit around the dinner table and just ask the kids, "Okay, what was the highlight from today?" And some of them will share a lowlight, but we always encourage the highlight 'cause that's the fun part, that's the praise. This is what makes it all worth it.

- It's a gift. Yeah. So I think God showed me just really how flexible our family can be and especially our children. They really encouraged me in this area because I just saw them going, going, going, and like nothing was really affecting them the way that it was affecting me. And so there's a big encouragement there. And I don't know, like I said, at the end of it, I was pretty worn out. But in the midst of it, seeing our flexibility as a family, it was really cool. The other thing that was a super big highlight was that six, seven week trip we were on. I can't remember exactly how long it was but we went from here in Oregon across all the way to South Dakota. We got to see Mount Rushmore. We came down through Ohio and stayed with family, which was really awesome. We made it all the way to Tennessee, which we both have wanted to explore for a while.

- We almost went to Florida.

- We almost went to Florida and decided-

- This is towards the end of the trip and we're like, let's go home.

- Yeah, that would have been a lot of driving, which already was. We went through Arkansas, which Elliot was so excited 'cause in his history book we were reading about Crater of the Diamonds. And so we got to stop off there for the kids and-

- And we hunted for diamonds.

- For hours.

- It was fun.

- Digging in the dirt.

- If you're ever in Arkansas, you should go do that. That was a lot of fun.

- We made a stopover in Waco, which I'm sure everybody knows what I'm talking about, but I've always wanted to go see the silos at Magnolia, and so we got to do that. And I also hit up a couple antique stores while we were there. So we just got to do a lot. I feel like everyone in the family got to do something.

- What state did we see that battlefield? Was that in-

- That was in South Dakota.

- That was in South Dakota? That was so cool. We got to see actual history, the historic sites of where battles took place. I had a lot of fun doing that.

- Yeah.

- For me, my highlight was seeing how simple we can live. 'Cause we did. Literally, all of our stuff was in these storage pods. So, we didn't have anything with us. And that was pretty cool. We didn't have any place to put anything, so we just had everything we could fit in our car. We had some buckets of clothes for the kids.

- I didn't buy extra clothes throughout that time because I didn't have anywhere to put them. I'd only had the buckets.

- So we had one small suitcase for us and we just did a lot of laundry whenever we washed.

- We're actually gonna share in another episode on this idea of living simple.

- Yeah, and so that was a lot of- It was really cool. I almost said it was a lot of fun. It wasn't always a lot of fun.

- It was different.

- We did have a lot of fun. But living simple, it's a pretty cool thing to see how little you need. We didn't need much. We had our car and our kids and I had my wife and we were like, let's go!

- Yeah, don't forget me.

- We did.

- Do you think our marriage remained strong during this time?

- I think you should answer that first and then I'll answer second.

- Okay. My answer is yes and no. There were definitely times that I broke down emotionally because I wasn't getting what I wanted. I wanted to be in a home where I could be where I felt purposeful and doing homeschool the way that I envisioned. And I do wanna just say thank you to you, Aaron, because you were a pillar of encouragement throughout that time, reminding me constantly that we chose this, that this was something that we decided together to make an investment for our family in building a home. And so it rattled a lot of different areas of our life, but you reminded me that we are in it together. And that was really encouraging.

- And I have always did it super gently.

- Perfectly.

- And with self-control and not emotional. No. Yes, I did encourage you. But at the same time, I didn't always do it well. But, we did do it and we made it and we survived. Here we are. I also really quickly just wanna shout out and say thank you to a friend of mine who in the midst of the times I would text her that I was having a hard time, where I need prayer, she asked me this question. She said, "What does God have for you in this?" And I love that question because, if I was ever just thinking about myself or what I wanted, that question comes in and kinda hits you in the face. You're like, oh, wait a minute. This is about him. This is about what his will is for us. And what does he have for me in this? It's definitely not to just complain or grumble or wallow in the emotional side of everything, but it's really to consider what's he teaching me. How is he shaping me? How is he using these circumstances to change my life?

- Yeah, what's that old adage? He cares more about our character than he does our comfort. And he uses these opportunities in our life to shape us and mold us. So the question is, do you think our marriage remained strong during this transition? I think our marriage did remain strong. I know you said yes and no, but even when there were emotional breakdowns or discouragement or even regrets, I don't believe those things were evidence of our marriage being weak, but rather a test of our marriage's strength. Because those things come. We as individuals can have weak moments, but those weak moments don't define the entirety of our marriage. So when I look at this, I don't see like, oh, because we didn't perfectly have the right attitude the whole time, we must have been weak. Well, we're in the middle of hard things. We have sometimes hard responses. It doesn't mean that it should be that way, but that happens.

- I love your perspective. And I wish it was easier for me to see things that way 'cause I do get stuck in that rut, that way of thinking where-

- That you failed or something.

- That I failed or something that I didn't do it right. Or here I went through four months and didn't pray like I should have, or been consistent in his Word and didn't respond to the circumstances with perfect attitude-

- Perfection, yeah.

- Like you said and so I get down on myself. But I love that you are saying this as a testimony of our, strength of our marriage, and how we're able to encourage each other throughout it.

- Yeah, times will get hard. Emotions will be high. Regrets will creep in. Fears will manifest.

- Yeah.

- And this is normal and okay. But if they are walked through with Christ and the Spirit, then those moments of weakness become part of the strength that bonds us.

- Yes.

- And so, was it always great? Was it always perfect? Was it always peaceful and joyful? No. But I don't see that as evidence of our weakness, as in our marriage being weak. I just see those as normal responses to hard things in life. And it's how we chose to walk those out. That is how we practice that strengthening and that strength that we have.

- That's good. Well, what do you think helped our marriage stay strong? Like, what's the practical? What did that look like between us?

- You brought it up earlier, remembering that this was something that we wanted and actually looked forward to. There's that verse that talks about counting the cost before you build. Like a builder counts the cost. And we did but it's often it's really hard to actually count the emotional and spiritual cost of something, which is actually more important than the actual financial cost of things, which we should calculate all that. But we chose it, we were like, this is good, this is what we want. This is a good investment. It's gonna be good for our family. It's gonna be long but it's gonna be awesome. But it's so hard to anticipate what the 10 months, 12 months is gonna feel like when you're just looking from your moment in time. So I think just remembering, and like me reminding you and reminding myself, like, well, this is a good thing we're doing. This is gonna benefit our family. And yes, this is hard but it's temporary. And we did want this. We have to remember, we want- This was something that we decided as a family to do.

- Yep.

- I think that helped us.

- Something to add to that list there to what you're saying that I think helped our marriage stay strong is prayer and being able to go to God and say, "Hey, we're feeling weak. Hey, we need help. Hey, this"-

- I'd say it's a lot of that.

- Yeah, there's ton of prayer. But also friends who saw what we were walking through and supported us in that time in different ways, whether it be prayer or encouragement or letting us stay at their house or just come over and use their shower. And I really appreciated that. I also really appreciated talking to you late at night about how I was feeling and you just listening. Not always having an answer, not always having the ability to fix it, but just being there to comfort one another and support each other in that way. Letting me know that crying is okay. That we shouldn't always cry, right? But-

- Yeah, sometimes-

- But it's gonna come.

- Yeah, it's gonna come. Here's a little tip for you, you husbands out there. I've been trying to practice, I'm not good at this very well because I just wanna give the, here's the answer, here's the fix. But trying to practice saying, like, listening to you in the midst of it and then just saying, "Yeah, that's hard." And then you keep going-

- It's called validation.

- And then I'm like, "Yeah. Yeah, I totally understand." Which is not easy for me 'cause I may not even understand why it seems hard during that moment specifically. Or I wanna give an answer to that why it's so hard or I wanna give a fix, but I've been trying to practice, "Yeah, that's hard. Yeah, I understand."

- You say it sincerely.

- I do. Like right now, I'm sounding funny but I have been trying to practice that and it actually helps 'cause then you- The next day you're much better.

- Yeah, 'cause I just wanna be heard sometimes. I want you to know what I'm going through. All right. We know that you guys are going through life transitions too and so we wanted to share some verses and scripture that would encourage you today through...

- Through your transitions.

- Through your transitions. So Aaron, you wanna share the first one?

- Yeah, Ecclesiastes.

- I only pass that off 'cause I hate saying that, Ecclesiastes.

- Ecclesiastes 7:8 through 11, "Better is the end of a thing than it's beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. Be not quick in your spirit to become angry for anger lodges in the bosom of fools. Say not why were the former days better than these, for it is not from wisdom that you ask this. Wisdom is good with an inheritance, an advantage to those who see the sun.

- Okay, when I read this, it was so convicting! It was so convicting 'cause I, well first, just being patient or being proud, it's like in my flesh, I think I know what's right and what needs to happen and how to get it done, but I'm not patient for those things to come about. Yeah, you want the results now rather than waiting for them, knowing that they will come if you continue on.

- Yeah, so in my pride, I'm seeing what needs to happen and what I need for my life to be a certain way, and I get angry when it doesn't happen. And I feel really bad about that.

- Or if you can't make it happen.

- Yeah.

- Usually it's like, I can't get this thing to, ugh!

- And then being in that place where you think the former days were better and-

- That happened quite a few times.

- Even our kids say, "I just wanna go back to the old house." There was one time that they said that and-

- It breaks our heart because we also missed the old house.

- I know, and I almost wonder if they were saying that because they overheard one of us say it.

- Maybe.

- Yeah, it's just... Do you remember when I encouraged you? For those listening, there was an encouragement I gave to Jennifer during this season, kind of about this idea of always looking backward and always looking forward, but never looking in front of you, like looking right where you're at. Because often we do this in our flesh. We're constantly looking back.

- Which in hindsight you can see very clearly.

- Yeah, hindsight makes you think that you had all the answers, because it's in the past. And then we're constantly looking forward to the thing that we're anticipating but what that does is, if you're always living in the past and always looking to the future, then you're never experiencing the now. You're never in it now saying, "Okay Lord, I need the strength now. I need patience now, I need your grace now." So that's something that you can be encouraged with is, if you're constantly looking forward or backward, then you're gonna have a really hard time seeing the now.

- And being content in that place where God has you in the present.

- And in Ecclesiastes, Solomon says, "The only thing you have is today." Not tomorrow, not yesterday. You have today. So let's take advantage of that.

- Amen. This next verse is pretty clear. I don't even know if we need to really explain it, but it's Proverbs 3:5, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding." So when your pride does flare up and you do think you know what something should be, being able-

- Your understanding.

- Yeah, being able to lay that down at the foot of Christ and say, "I'm gonna trust you. If this is what you want me to walk through, I'm gonna trust in you."

- What I actually think is funny about this is when we don't trust the Lord with all of our hearts, our understanding is usually, I don't understand. Why is it this way? Why is this happening to me? Which is a telltale sign that we're not trusting in the Lord. Okay Lord, you have a reason. What's going on is your will. I wanna trust you.

- Sometimes we can look at life transitions and it can be easy to identify what was hard about that because it's what we complained about or what we focused on the most or what we were-

- We felt the most.

- What we were frustrated about, yeah. A good thing to practice though in hard life transitions is to take what James tells us to heart. James 1:2 through 3 says, "Count it all joy."

- All.

- Count it all joy.

- Well that all really doesn't mean all. What it really means-

- Aaron, stop.

- "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness." So here's the answer. We go through hard things and the testing of our faith produces steadfastness. We become better.

- When we count it all joy. We don't become better when we count it all as suffering or hardship or complaint. But when we counted all joy-

- We're able to receive.

- Yeah. When we praise God like, okay, thank you for this hard season, teach me what you have for me. Help me in the season. And also what Paul tells us in Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there's any excellence, if there's anything worthy of praise, think about these things, having a-

- Wait, wait, wait. How can you think about whatever is pure and lovely and commendable when you are stuck in complaining?

- Yeah, this isn't lovely. This is not commendable. This is ugly like, yeah.

- So is your encouragement that those going through life transitions and it being hard, look for the things that are commendable or-

- That's it. Philippians 4:8 tells us that's what we should be thinking about. There might be things that are hard or ugly in the midst of-

- Or that we don't understand.

- But what in the midst of it is good? What in the midst of it is lovely and pure and excellent and commendable? And so going back to that idea of, hey, we chose this.

- Being thankful for it.

- Yeah, okay. That's good and commendable, we chose a good thing. These things are also hard.

- What happens if you don't choose it and you're going through a hard life transition?

- Well, you're gonna be stuck in the, oh, if you didn't choose the hard transition now-

- Because you can't rely on saying, "Well, we chose this." It's just something that's happening.

- Well that was just one thing in our situation. That was a good and commendable and pure thing to consider, like, oh, this was a choice we made. And that's okay. If it's something that's being done to you, something that you have no control-

- Out of your control.

- For which, most transitions in life are out of our control.

- I know.

- In reality. We still think about what's good and commendable and pure. So it's a heart of thanks and thankfulness and looking for the good in God's will and it saves us from so much heartache and frustration. 'Cause the other way, it just leaves us with heartache and frustration.

- I recently had re-posted this next verse on my Insta Stories, but I shared a graphic poster that was done by Scripture Type and it's so beautiful. And so I posted it I think on a Friday, Saturday, and that next Sunday, my friend came up to me and was like,

- Oh yeah, so pretty.

- Hey, I wanted to give you a heads up before I got here, but don't buy that for yourself 'cause I got it for you. And she gave it to me as a gift and I love it so much. So, if you love your friends, stop their stories and then get good gift ideas from that. Okay.

- From things they post.

- Here it is, Isaiah 48: "The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God's will stand forever." And this is just that encouragement that our circumstances are constantly changing and shifts will occur and happen. What we have now will not always be, but what is faithful? The Lord's Word. And we can trust him and we need to be in the Word to be encouraged by it.

- Yeah, I like that 'cause the grass withering, the flower fades, this in essence is-

- Seasonal.

- Well it's saying that sometimes the good things and the beautiful things that you hold onto-

- Will come to an end.

- They will come to an end.

- Yeah.

- But that's okay. Everything's gonna burn away. But the Word of God doesn't. And we can stand on that. And so in these seasons that are hard, husbands encourage your wives with the Word of God, which does not change. Remind them of the truth. And then wives, encourage your husbands with the Word of God, which does not change. And it's true.

- Yeah. I admit that during our transition, I was not very good at pouring time into reading God's Word. Because we kept shifting so much, there was just no consistency. And I was dipping in here and there, but it just wasn't the same as what it had been. And I was in this cycle of staying busy, and then tired, busy and then tired, busy and then tired, just waiting for my circumstances to change. I can't implement another routine until this one thing is done.

- I'll be better when this happens.

- Yeah. And so looking forward and pushing everything off until that happened. And I'm just sharing that with you guys so that you don't do what I did. So just learn from my mistake and know that the number one way you can remain-

- Constant.

- Constant and-

- And steadfast.

- And steadfast in a season of life transitions is to be in God's Word and to be in prayer. And feeding your mind and your heart and your spirit with him.

- Hm mm. We can't hope to remain strong if we're not feeding. Like if you're working out and you don't have the protein and the carbs and all the things your body needs, you're gonna have atrophy and you're not gonna be able to do it. You'd be too tired. It's the same in our spirit. God wants us to- We don't read his Word to earn anything from God. We do it to gain what comes from reading his Word, which is strength and power and steadfastness and authority and purity and all these things and transformation.

- Yeah. Speaking of transformation, I've been going to the gym. I've been having a coach walk me through.

- Jennifer's taken on all the things that I used to do. And I'm not doing them now and she is.

- I had to jump in and do something for my body.

- Proud of her.

- Thank you. But remember that perspective that you were sharing earlier about just not wallowing in failure and being able to do the next right thing? Well, I had a conviction when I was learning a new lift. My coach encouraged me, he goes, "You're gonna be doing this thing. And while you're doing it, I'm gonna walk you through areas you can improve, like micro movements."

- You love that when people tell you like how you should be better and-

- What Aaron is saying is I don't like being told what to do. Okay, ha! I get it. But for the sake of lifting properly, I'm trying to pay attention to everything he's saying but I love that he came and gave me that encouragement first that, what he said was is, "Don't think about how you're doing it wrong. Just listen to me as you go and try and make adjustments to do the right thing." And as he is talking, I'm immediately thinking about God saying this to me about a conviction that I've had about my prayer life, especially during this life transition and being in his Word. And it's like he was saying to me, "Don't wallow in failure that you didn't"-

- Do it right.

- Do it right throughout this transition but I want you to do the next right thing. I want you to make adjustments. And so I have been taking those steps and I've been feeling so much better, so much closer to the Lord. And so I just wanted to encourage you guys that if you're in a place where you're like, well, I haven't been doing it right, or I see myself as failing, just pick up right now and do the next right thing. Make those adjustments that you need to do.

- Hm mm. Yeah, that's really good. I'll leave it at that.

- Okay then.

- So even though we've been talking about life transitions and how circumstances can shift our lives and our routines up, other words that define transition are growth, development, progress, transformation. Like what you were talking about. We can look at these seasons of our life as negative things or hard things, like, oh, I hate when change comes or this is too hard, I wish we can go back to our comfort that we had. But that's really what a transition is, is going from, you got comfortable-

- And now you're not.

- Now you're not!

- I was gonna say, when I go through life transitions, I don't feel like there's development or progress or transformation. Like you don't feel those things in the midst of it.

- No, but if we don't recognize it, we might, as the Bible says, kick against the goads. We're trying to be led a certain way. The idea by being kicking against the goads is that the oxen would have a goad on their heels so that if they kicked to fight against where they're being led, it would hurt them. And it said, "No, you're gonna go where I want you to go." And so we could kick against the goads and then we won't. We'll just remain in our old way of thinking, our old way of being our old comforts. When I think God wants to use everything in our life to grow us and transform us and mature us.

- So what you're saying is we need to remain humble and teachable.

- Pliable.

- And pliable and-

- And joyful and count it all-

- Count it all joy.

- Count it all joy, yeah.

- Philippians 3:12 says, "Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect but I press on to make it my own because Christ Jesus has made me his own." And this is the why we do what we do as Christians. This is why we counted all joy. We choose to be faithful and rely on God because Christ has made us his.

- And it's not that we've already obtained any of it, but we press forward, we press on to what God has for us. So the perspective we hope to leave with you today is seeing how our life transitions move us toward growth, as we choose to do what is right, as we respond to those circumstances. When we change the way we think about them, we change the way we receive them and walk in them, I think we can- I don't think. We will grow and we'll mature and we'll be better for it. Amen?

- Amen.

- Weekly Challenge, 'cause this is the end of it. We're gonna do a challenge-

- Ding, ding, ding, ding!

- This is a new thing.

- I feel like we need a little insert of chimes or something.

- Some noise.

- This week's challenge is to play game together. You might have one already that you can use. You could borrow one from a friend or just go buy it. Hit up Amazon.

- If you don't have any games, you should go. 'Cause we've known friends that don't like games.

- You don't have to like games to play it-

- But you should own some.

- You should have some. Okay, so here are just a couple that you could play with just two people. Chess, checkers, Scrabble. Card games, like War. But if you wanna be more active, pickleball is one of my favorite right now. I love pickle ball.

- Volleyball is fun too but you need a few more people I think.

- Yeah, probably. I mean you could volley but just with the ball.

- Oh yeah.

- You could play Catch.

- That's true. So the challenge this week is get out or in and play a game with your spouse.

- It'll be fun, I promise.

- So Jennifer, we're gonna keep doing this and we always have done this. Will you close us in prayer?

- Yes. Dear Lord, thank you for the transitions of life. Thank you for walking us through different seasons and circumstances to show us areas of our lives you want us to grow in. The varying seasons of life help us to learn to be patient. And they also teach us to be content where we are. Lord, we know transitions and changes will always come. Some may be anticipated and some may be unexpected. Some may even be tragic. But in all these things, please teach us to rely on you, to run to you for our hope and to remain in your Word, to sustain us and strengthen us. We pray for the husband and wife listening right now. We pray you would be their shelter and their strong tower. We pray they would walk in thanksgiving and joy during whatever transitions they're currently going through or about to enter into. Lord, you are so good. We love you and we ask that you would help us to keep in step with your Holy Spirit no matter what life brings. In Jesus' name, amen.

- Amen. We love you all and we look forward to having you for our next episode next week.

- Thank you for joining us for another episode of the "Marriage After God" podcast.

- If you found today's episode fun and encouraging, please take a moment to share it on social media or in an email to some of your married friends.

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- We hope you have an incredible week and look forward to sharing more with you next week on the "Marriage After God" podcast. ♪ La, la, la, la, la, la ♪ ♪ La, la, la, la, la ♪ ♪ La, la, la, la, la ♪ ♪ La, la, la, la, la, la ♪ ♪ La, la, la, la, la ♪ ♪ La, la, la, la, la ♪

Weekly Challenge:

Play a game together - you might have it already, you can barrow it from a friend or go buy it! Chess, checkers, scrabble, card games like war, more active pickle ball or horse or catch

Prayer:

Dear Lord,

Thank You for the transitions of life. Thank You for walking us through different seasons and circumstances to show us areas of our lives You want us to grow in. The varying seasons of life help us to learn to be patient and they also teach us to be content where we are. Lord, we know transitions and changes will always come, some may be anticipated and some may be unexpected, some may even be tragic, but in all these things please teach us to rely on You, to run to You for our hope and to remain in Your Word to sustain us and strengthen us. We pray for the husband and wife listening to this right now. We pray You would be their shelter and strong tower. We pray they would walk in thanksgiving and joy during whatever transitions they are currently going through or about to enter into. Lord, You are good. We love You and ask You to help us keep in step with Your Holy Spirit no matter what this life brings.

In Jesus’ name AMEN!

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