Anyone living in a hot climate knows the welcome relief air conditioning can bring. They may also know just how oppressive it can be when there isn’t any air conditioning. Unfortunately, our car decided that removing the heat from inside the vehicle was a little too much for it. As temperatures increased during the summer, we started to empathise with Shadrach, Meshech and Abednego wanting to escape the fiery furnace.
Sometimes life as an expat can feel a little overwhelming. There is a level of constant discomfort akin to living without air conditioning. That doesn’t mean that you can’t do something to alleviate the stress.
When you are living in another country, the pressure you experience can feel similar to life in a hot climate without air conditioning. It is important to find ways to refresh your marriage, so it doesn’t suffer in the ‘heat’.
- Don’t snap! When we feel stress, we can become irritable, and our spouse can experience us at our worst. Being snappy will make an uncomfortable situation even worse.
- Take time to cool off. Don’t allow yourself to have a knee jerk reaction to the things you experience. Find time to reflect on the situation and cool off before you deal with any problems which may have arisen.
- Go to the basement. Our home has a cool basement; where we can experience some relief from the high temperatures. In married life, it is important to find things you can do together which are fun. As you adjust to life in another country, the fun element can be ignored as you focus on survival. Find something you can do together which both of you find enjoyable.
- Find ways to take care of each other. On missionary training, we remember doing a group exercise to see how we would cope under stressful conditions. We were divided into two groups and put into a confined, hot room. The two groups responded differently to the circumstances. One group squabbled and disagreed, the other group cared for each other finding cardboard to fan each other and make it more pleasant. When we live under pressure, it is especially important to find ways to care for each other.
Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves.
2 Corinthians 13:11
Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.