by Erika Townsend
“Mommy, and look! Fire in the sky,” my daughter recently exclaimed with excitement as she pointed to the fall foliage. One of the things I love most about Richmond is the divine show that she puts on right before the winter. With all of the bright red, orange, yellow hues that dot the city, nature has a way of doing change in style.
The change in season is highlighted even more with the change that is happening in our nation. With the election of Barack Obama, there has been paradigm shift. What was thought to be impossible is now possible. Unity has triumphed over division. Dreams have now become reality. It is not only a shift occurring in politics, but in our homes, hearts, and minds. For many, this change has been both emotionally and spiritually overwhelming. Many are still in shock, and are pinching themselves to see if they are dreaming. We may wonder how we can get that raw constructive energy transferred into our own personal relationships when they undergo big changes. We are forever evolving, and so are our relationships. We go from casually dating to marrying “the One.” With the birth of children, we create our families. We buy homes and plant seeds for our future. Although our personal accomplishments may not ever find the pages of a history book, they are still defining moments of who we are and who we will become. It is important to approach the changes in our lives in the right fashion.
The first step is to recognize and celebrate the challenges that were overcome in the past and use that strength and wisdom found in those situations to build for a better tomorrow.
Much like the turning of the leaves, change tends to start slow and catch on fast. Once we acknowledge and accept the normal cycles of change in our relationships, it is easier to prepare for them.
Second, setting some goals, or laying a foundation for you and your family is essential. To do that, you must know where your relationship has been in the past to know where you can take it in the future.
Once you have set your minds to the future, one of the best tools to utilize in times of change is the serenity prayer, most commonly attributed to Detroit minister, Reinhold Niebuhr. The Serenity Prayer asks: “God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things that should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.” You may recognize instances in which it is better to leave your partner alone versus trying to comfort them. As a couple, you will be able to maneuver in situations that are unfamiliar or uncomfortable to you because you will know your strengths and weaknesses as partners. By adapting to the current environment you set for your relationship, you can achieve the flexibility needed to handle anything that may come your way.
Finally, the glue that keeps our relationships strong through all types of weather is trust. Next time you step outside this fall, let the symphony of colors remind you of the certainty you may strive for in your relationship. It is only natural for the season to change, but it is our knowledge of that phenomenon that allows us to truly enjoy it.