Remember the long wait between the day you got engaged and the day you got married?
Mistakenly, many of us think that once we’re married, the waiting is over and our life can really begin. But then life throws a wrench in the works and we find ourselves stuck in a holding pattern we can’t seem to shake. So how do we handle waiting for something we really want–possibly for a long time?
Long waiting periods can put a significant strain on your marriage relationship. When couples are focused on what they don’t have, it can create stress and sadness. We understand it; when a deeply-held desire doesn’t come to fruition, it does hurt. But there are ways to hold onto one another during this time that can help deepen your relationship, rather than strain it.
Make gratitude a daily ritual
Expressing gratitude seems counterintuitive when we don’t have the things we want. In fact, it can feel quite alien to let go of something we’ve been obsessing over, in favor of being grateful for what we have. But a grateful attitude can actually go a long way toward improving our attitude and quality of life.
Talk with your spouse about how the two of you can make gratitude part of your daily life. Will you talk with one another every day–or even a few times a week–about what you’re thankful for? Will you commit to journaling? Will you be accountable to one another for practicing gratitude while you wait?
Try not to ruminate
It’s easier said than done, but try not to spend too much time thinking in negative terms about the thing you’re waiting for. Some might say, “Don’t spin in it.” While it’s useful to address the subject at times, it doesn’t help to get caught in a thinking loop and become stuck in rumination.
Instead, take action every single day toward the thing you want. Looking for a job? Keep submitting applications. Paying down debt? Continue watching your budget. Staying in motion will help give you a sense of control over the trajectory of this situation, even if just a little.
Remember you’re in this together
Long waiting periods can drive a wedge between you if you’re not intentional about sticking close to one another, no matter the circumstances. So if you’re dealing with a long, frustrating season of waiting, remind yourselves daily that you’re on the same team. You’re not enemies, and you shouldn’t let this situation turn you against one another.
Try to make time to do enjoyable things together that will nurture positivity and love. Date nights, shared activities, and meaningful connection will help you while you wait.
It’s not easy to accept the reality of a difficult situation–particularly one that may be prolonged and beyond your control. Remaining in denial about a particular situation can prolong your pain. It can also create unnecessary conflict not only within yourselves, but between you, as well.
In these cases, it’s best to come to terms with your situation as soon as you’re able to. And be aware that you may experience denial and acceptance as two stages of a grieving process. When the life we’ve dreamed about doesn’t unfold the way we hope it will, that disappointment can turn to grief. The important thing is to recognize it, acknowledge it, and continue moving forward.
Keep on keeping on
The good news is, waiting periods are usually temporary. Most of the time, our waiting feels like it takes forever. But once it’s behind us, it can feel like it wasn’t really that long at all.
So hand-in-hand, keep moving forward toward your goals. Stick close to one another through this season, and you’ll come out on the other side stronger than before.
Have you and your spouse had to wait months–or years–for something that was very important to you? What was it? How did you handle the wait? We’d love to read your stories in the comments.