There are some facts of nature that never fail to astound me. For instance, did you know that before it snows fir trees will retract their branches so the weight of the snow they'll have to bear is reduced?

I'm Dr. James Dobson with Focus on the Family.

This withdrawal response by trees is programmed into every branch, even in those smaller than a little finger. The Creator has enabled the tree, in effect, to anticipate the problem before it occurs, in order to reduce the effects of that natural phenomenon. And we can do the same in marriage.

You may not be able to avoid problems and crisis in marriage, but you can anticipate them and prepare for their arrival, because most of the stress points in families are entirely predictable.

One of my good friends spent a considerable amount of time with his wife preparing for the moment when their kids would move out of the house. They talked about the empty nest to each other and to friends that had gone through it, and they read books about it and applied what they heard to themselves. As a result, the transition to the empty nest was smooth and uneventful.

Into every marriage, a little snow will fall. Blizzards will blow and storms will howl. An effort to anticipate these difficult times will help you and your mate stand up under the weight of the problems that might otherwise threaten to bring your relationship down. This is Dr. James Dobson for Focus on the Family.

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