I was looking out the window the other weekend mesmerized by the pattern of rain. It took me into a meditative like state as I watched the drops fall onto leaves seemingly silently bending them as they made their way to the ground.
The sight of so many drops falling across the grass, the patio and the trees took me into a world of thought about how important rain is to regeneration and that winter is a time for hibernation, reflection and renewal.
This led me to consider that the season of winter has a direct correlation to relationships and that every relationship goes through the four seasons and the ability of a couple to negotiate and adjust to what the seasons bring determines the future of that relationship and whether it blooms in the spring to flourish in the summer or wilts in the autumn to die in the winter.
Given the time of year I write this I will start with winter.
Winter is where we have a chance to nestle into a protective space and review what has passed, repair and rest. It is a time where we tend to stay indoors more, by the fire, reading, sleeping and nourishing our souls with warm hearty stews and retiring earlier to bed to stay warm under the doona. This is a time of texture and depth, deep connection and renewal. This is the time to connect. For existing relationships this is a critical time to renew. All relationships pass through this season when they need to hibernate and regenerate. This is a time of self-reflection, review, discussion, repair and plan for the future and what it could hold or look like.
Spring is where we have endured the long winter and are now coming out of our cocoon, refreshed and renewed. Our muscles are not yet tested so are weak and need building. Our skin is pale from the dark and rainy days so sensitive to the light and strength of the sun, but time is on our side to prepare for the full force of the next season. In relationship terms this is where we are exploring new possibilities and plans, stretching ourselves and goals and keeping an open mind to new adventures. This is a time of excitement and possibility and this is a stage that all new relationships go through. It is what you feel when you first meet someone. The prospect of having found that special person, of falling in Love and the prospect of incredible intimacy. This is the courting phase and is full of excitement and butterfly nerves and for established couples this is a really important season to inject new excitement, plans, ideas and hope and foster a new energy to revitalize their relationship and take it up a notch to a new level.
Summer is by its nature, the hottest season where the fire burns brightly. Where the days are long and nights are sultry and steamy. This is where everything is connecting. It’s all just fallen into place. This is the honeymoon phase where its hard to put a foot wrong. Everything is rosy and the fun keeps coming. You have found your groove and are just connecting so well. For established couples this is where you seem at your best and you are getting and giving the best. This is a time where you proudly extol the virtues of your Loved one and every time you think of them you get a warm feeling in your heart and pit of your stomach. You don’t feel nerves. Your friends talk of you both as great examples of a loving relationship and committed partnership and it’s all about living the best life you can together.
And now comes Autumn, when the leaves change colour, wilt then dry and then fall off the tree to gently waft to the ground. This is where the relationship is reaching its cyclical zenith and is fading and in some cases dying. It’s the same for all relationships, whether it’s your first winter or tenth or thirtieth. This is a natural stage of Love as the relationship has expended so much energy, passion and excitement and has run its course and has no more energy to give. It needs rest. This is a dangerous time as the light is almost blown out and will start to flicker and fade. Don’t panic. It doesn’t mean the end. It just means it’s time to wind down, reflect, restock and repair. Refill and replace. Celebrate what has passed don’t mourn and together explore what you have learnt, gained, experienced and grown. Enjoy the rest of the season and make the most of the days and nights and come together to prepare your nest for the winter ahead.
You have enjoyed your first full year and are entering your next year. Consider what you hope for, what you want to avoid and what you want for each other. If you do this right you can look forward not just to another year but another four seasons of deep meaningful Love and the promise of a Love that will not only withstand the rain, sleet, cold nights and windy days, but will burn deep, bright and hot even on the coldest nights of the year and carry you all the way until death do you part.
July 8th 2019
Ginny Lindsay is a Sydney based relationship counsellor and psychotherapist who supports individuals and couples moving from pregnancy into parenthood. With 40% of divorces happening during pregnancy or in the first 3 years of a child’s life, Ginny established From 2 to 3 to offer support early before a relationship breaks down.