If you’re just joining in, you can catch up here with Day 1: Learning to Love.
If you’ve been married for any length of time, you have probably experienced some hard times – difficult even. Believe me, I understand hard times. In our ten and a half year marriage we have dealt with our fair share of tragedy, misfortune and trials. But even as difficult as they were, I would not change that time for anything. I know what you’re thinking, “Seriously?” Yes. Seriously.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Those times were some of the toughest I’ve ever experienced. Looking back though, I’m not sure how I survived. How we survived. We have been through 5 miscarriages and lost babies. Job losses. Bankruptcy. The death of my Dad. And a move to a new ministry more than 600 miles from our family and friends.
But we did survive.
By the grace of God – and lots of prayers.
So how can you survive the hard times and remain in love through it all? How can we continue loving through the hard times? It’s not easy. It takes work. Hard work. Some days will be easier than others. And some days you’ll just feel like throwing in the towel because it seems like too much work. And you know what? It is. Marriage is a lot of work. It is give and take. Every. Single. Day. But there are some things you can do help ensure your marriage will make it through the hard times.
- Put God First. I know I keep saying this, but it’s true. If God is not the center of your marriage – it will almost surely fail. Spend time on your own in the Word. Spend time together in the Word. Pray separately for your spouse. Pray together for your marriage. When the Lord is first in your life and in your marriage – all else pales in comparison.
- Ask for prayer. Don’t be afraid to ask family and friends for prayer with no explanation. But more importantly, go before your church to ask for prayers. The Church is your spiritual family. They are the ones who are supposed to be there to help carry the load and burden with you. You still don’t need to offer an explanation, but simply say you need wisdom, guidance from the Lord. During these times, it is important to know that your church family is also interceding on your behalf.
- Don’t keep secrets. You would think this is a given in a marriage relationship, but often times my husband would keep things from me so I wouldn’t worry. Although I saw and appreciated the sentiment, I reminded him that we were in this together. I also reminded him that if I didn’t know what was going on, I couldn’t lift it up in prayer. We are not only their spouse, we are intercessors before the Lord on their behalf. Not to mention how damaging secrets can be to a marriage. It’s not worth it. Don’t keep secrets!
- Don’t play the blame game. Now is not the time to place blame. If you truly love your spouse, then you need to move toward forgiveness and moving on. Blaming each other does not bring about peace and healing, it only brings about pain. Often words are hurled in anger that cut like a knife. They are hurtful and difficult to erase from your brain, which only makes healing and moving forward more difficult.
- Seek wise counsel. Sometimes it is important to seek counsel from others who have been where you are. It is important for husbands and wives to be able to “vent” to someone other than their spouse. Now, this is not a time to place blame, but a time to really talk and work through some of the issues going on in your marriage. I highly recommend this person be someone impartial and not a friend. Although there are times you may be able to utilize a friendship for “venting”, it’s not always appropriate. That leaves the friend with a heavy weight on their shoulders now too.
- Do not talk to your parents. I am as guilty as the next woman at calling my Mom when I’m upset or irritated. But, when you are going through those really tough times, resist the urge to run to your Mom. I’m speaking from experience here, ladies and gents. Women – when you run to your Mom, you have now changed the image she has of your husband (and likely the image your father has of him too). While she knows he’s not perfect, he took a vow to care for you. If you’re in money trouble that can alter her thoughts of him and give her cause for worry, which she does not need. If nothing else, it alters how he interacts with her! He is already sensitive to this, because he feels as if he’s failed by not providing fully for his family. Don’t do that to him!! Men – do not run to your mother and talk about your wife. Your Mom has always been the “woman” in your life and there is a chance that she still wants that role. This can make the mother~daughter-in-law relationship even more strenuous. Don’t put each other in situations that demean you or make your spouse look weak. It only makes matters worse.
While this list is not exhaustive, I believe it is a great starting point. And if you follow these tips you will likely avoid many of the more painful aspects of difficult times. Following these tips will also help your kids, who are likely feeling your frustrations and anxiety as it is. If you put these things into place, it can help alleviate some (if not all) of their uneasiness. When they see that their parents are united and trusting in God’s power, they will also learn to trust God through it all.
Have you suffered through difficult times? What are some tips you would add to this list?
Read the next post in this series: Day 5 ~ 5 Ways to Love Your Man