Growth Shocks: Struggling in New Phases

by | May 22, 2024 | Family Life, Marriage, Marriage Prep, Prayer, Questions, Society

One of the things no one prepares for is the “growth shock” of marriage.

Did you know flowers often lose their petals when they’re planted? Babies generally lose up to 10% of their birth weight. These things happen within the first weeks of new phases in life. When flowers are moved from nursery pots into the ground, their roots go into “shock”. Their petals tend to fade. They struggle to regain healthy growth. When babies are born and “removed” from their mother’s womb, they lose weight. They go into “growth shock”. It’s normal. We know flowers and babies will resume healthy growth. It takes care, but the growth shock goes away.

Marriage is no different.

When we get married, we are moved from our old “home” of life and moved into a new one. Schedules changes, even if we have the same job. Our priorities change, even though we’re in a relationship with the same person. We cannot live the same life we did before, no matter how much we try to. There’s an instinct we all develop when we get married. Suddenly we want to cook dinner instead of winging it every night. We want to clean the house regularly even if we didn’t before. Couples need to spend more time together, even if they thought they got enough before.

When we enter a new phase of life, we wither a little. Flowers in the ground have the soil they did in pots, but their roots are finding new places to grow. Babies (usually) still have their mothers when they’re born, but they adjust to drinking their food instead of absorbing it. Couples have the same relationship, but their new phase of life demands more. Marriage calls us to a higher quality of life, a higher quality of relationship. What we were content with during dating/engagement isn’t enough anymore. It leaves a lot of us in “growth shock”.

Growth shock is not a bad thing.

The good news is this shock is normal! It’s natural. Mothers with multiple children don’t batt an eye at weight loss. Experienced gardeners understand their flowers will temporarily struggle. These temporary shocks will go away because they are fairly easy to care for. The marriage shocks can be cared for too. It will take some adjusting, some effort, some teamwork. But we were made for marriage, just like children were made for birth and flowers were meant for the ground.

If you are struggling with growth shocks in marriage, know that it is natural. You and your spouse can care for your relationship together. Your marriage can root where you plant it. It can thrive.

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Michelle C. Martin

Michelle graduated from Texas Tech University with her husband, Joshua, in May 2021 and married him in June on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She has a degree in Communication Studies and has loved growing in knowledge of healthy and authentic relationships during her time in college and adulthood. Michelle and Joshua currently reside in Lubbock, TX where he works as an architect and she loves life as a stay-at-home wife and mother to their children, Peter and Cecilia.

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