The Four Seasons of Marriage

As found in Dr. Gary Chapman’s book Four Seasons of Marriage.

fourseasons by gary chapman

WINTER
EMOTIONS: Hurt, anger, disappointment, loneliness, feeling rejected
ATTITUDES: Negativity, discouragement, frustration, hopelessness
ACTIONS: Destructive, speaking harshly, not speaking, violent
CLIMATE OF RELATIONSHIP: Detached, cold, harsh, bitter. In the winter season of marriage, couples are unwilling to negotiate differences. Conversations turn to arguments, or spouses withdraw in silence. There is no sense of togetherness. The marriage is like two people living in separate igloos.

SPRING
EMOTIONS: Excitement, joy, hope
ATTITUDES: Anticipation, optimism, gratitude, love, trust
ACTIONS: Nurturing, planning, communicating, seeking help when needed
CLIMATE OF RELATIONSHIP: Vital, tender, open, caring. Spring is a time of new beginnings. The flowers are blooming. The streams of communication are flowing. There is a sense of excitement about life together. Couples are making plans. They have great hopes for the future. They are planting seeds from which they hope to reap a harvest of happiness.

SUMMER
EMOTIONS: Happiness, satisfaction, accomplishment, connection
ATTITUDES: Trust, commitment to growth, relaxed
ACTIONS: Communicating constructively, accepting differences, attending seminars, reading books, growing spiritually
CLIMATE OF RELATIONSHIP: Comfortable, attached, supportive, understanding. In the summer season of marriage, the dreams of spring have come true. Couples enjoy a great deal of satisfaction from their accomplishments. They are resolving conflicts in a positive manner. Having accepted their differences, they are seeking to turn them into assets for their relationship. Husbands and wives have a growing sense of togetherness.

FALL
EMOTIONS: Fear, sadness, dejection, apprehension, discouragement, resentment, feelings of being unappreciated.
ATTITUDES: Concern, uncertainty, blaming
ACTIONS: Neglect, failure to face issues
CLIMATE OF RELATIONSHIP: Drifting apart, disengaging. In the fall season, couples sense that something is happening, but they’re not sure what. There is a sense of detachment. One or both spouses begin to feel neglected. Couples realize there are some issues they are not facing squarely. It seems that they are disengaging emotionally, and each tends to blame the other. If they have lived in the fall season for a while, their friends and family may be recognizing the changes.

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