When I look back at my life I see a lot of pictures in my head of things I enjoy remembering. Moments and times that helped shape the person I am today. Events that make me smile thinking of them, and friendships I don’t think I could have survived without. There is so much a part of the making of me today and more ahead to the makings to come.
But as I stare at the pictures on my wall this morning sipping a cup of coffee with my flavored choice of creamer for the day, I started to reflect on the growth of my marriage. On the personality and the photo album in my head of all the memories leading up to today of the marriage that has been growing these past 12 years.
As much I want to look at the day I got married as the day Matt and I knew everything about relationships and each other, that’s just not what happened.
For me to become the person I am today, and for Matt to become the person he is right now, if you look at our pasts, we both had a “puberty” stage. The stage of our life when we don’t really take pictures, where we are uncomfortable with ourselves, and where we are halfway in the middle of our caterpillar transformation and hoping a butterfly comes out on the other side.
Puberty is awkward, it’s weird, and nothing about it feels pretty!
When I was little I played with makeup to feel grown-up, puberty is when I learned that make-up can hide these bumps that keep popping up all over my face. Make-up was never about hiding until I became a teenager. Middle school seems to be all about wanting to stand out, and then wishing you could disappear, and then searching for a way to blend in. Puberty is a roller coaster, it is a BODY and MIND identity crisis as you learn who you are, what the heck is happening to you, and what are you going to do next.
It was no fun…at all, for me, and probably the people who had to live with me.
Thankfully I have a survival story from that period of my life. I had to go through it for my body and mind to mature and grow. As much as I want to deny it happened, it’s a part of my story.
So what about my Marriage, or what about the rest of my life? If going through a physical puberty is what our body uses to develop us, what if we go through puberty all throughout our life, and maybe even in the relationships we live in. If puberty is the body and minds way of transforming, could we go through it at different stages of our life as well? Maybe we go through it at other times it’s just not as physically noticeable so we don’t give it a name?
I can think of plenty of times after I completed my “official puberty” that I have had other seasons of this radical and regrettable change take place in my life. My marriage is one of them. After 12 years of marriage, I don’t think much growth would have happened if we didn’t go through “the change” together as well. Just like my body needs it to grow, my marriage has a few seasons where the body and the personality of “US” has been forced into transformation. It is no fun, completely uncomfortable, and felt like it was never going to end, but I am not sure who we would be today without the break down sufferings, exposure to weakness, and extreme vulnerability seasons we have gone through together. When a season feels like it is breaking your marriage a part, remember that what breaks us down individually can join us together collectively. Getting through puberty together can grow the life of your marriage just as much as it can tear it down if you aren’t careful.
Do you have a similar story? Or maybe you’ve never thought of it that way before.
When I was younger, I made decisions I am proud of and decisions I regret. I made friends that were good for me and some that pointed me in a different direction. I gained responsibility and excelled and I had responsibility and completely blew it. I learned from the moments I enjoy remembering and I learned from the decisions or events I wish I could forget. They are all there.
I wish we only had to go through puberty once, but my honesty today wants you to hear that you go through it your whole life. You’re never done, and it’s when you think you’re done growing that your pride will be the next thing that gets morphed!
My marriage has a lot of ups, so many it is hard to count, but it is the stages of puberty we have gone through, the days we don’t have pictures of, the moments we don’t like talking about, and the times we weren’t proud of the decisions we’ve made that have grown us more than we want to admit.
Marital Puberty is a real thing…or at least it is now that I am giving it a name. Most overcomers don’t talk about their story because it is a bit taboo to even have a growth spurt redefinition of your marriage. The marriages that have some of the biggest testimonies of strength today, if they allow you into their story, will tell you about the puberty they had to go through to become the couple they are today.
Puberty is ugly, uncomfortable, weird, and a bit messy, but you know what, I wish when I was a teenager I had some friends that were going through it that we all could have talked about it. It seems like we all went through similar changes but we all did it quietly as if it weren’t happening. I don’t want to go through Marital Puberty alone in my marriage and I don’t want you too either.
- What if we talked to people about the uncomfortable stages and beautiful seasons?
- What if we looked for the growth taking place instead of focusing all our energy on the ugly caterpillar in front of us?
- What if we shared our stories of growth and heartache instead of putting make-up on our marriage every time we walk out the door?
Let’s go through puberty folks. Just embrace it. Something good can happen from the darkest days and the hardest moments, I promise. It’s a part of our story and the story of many others. There is hope for your marriage even when it stinks from body odor, grows noticeable hairs that the world can see, makes decisions that are regrettable, and develops moody shifts that are hard to deal with. There is hope through puberty!
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