Nearly seven years of marriage has taken my breath away at times. And at least for this post, by that I mean there have been seasons in mine that have felt like a never-ending sucker punch in the gut.
This post is for those of you who may be in more of a sucker-punch season.
I am on the other side of some very tough times in my marriage, and by the grace of God, I am again enjoying a season in the sun. I want to share some things that have helped me when marriage has been hard, as well as some resources that have helped others.
Pray together. Praying together is one of the most intimate things you can do with anyone, let alone your spouse. If praying out loud is too awkward at first, then try a simple Our Father together. There are many different ways to pray with your spouse.You have to be sensitive in walking the line between pushing yourself or your spouse too far out of your comfort zone and settling for a dull prayer routine that won’t end up bringing you closer to together. Intimacy comes from sharing your heart. Start by sharing a few special intentions, and go from there. You can also try reading from the Psalms or a Scripture passage that speaks to any crosses you are going through as a couple. Another great way to pray together is to pray a novena.
Open your Bible. If you don’t know where to start, go to the Psalms. They are the school of prayer, with one of their most important lessons being that there is nothing we will ever go through that is more difficult than what many, many others have gone through before. The Psalms give us the words to express what is going on inside us, and they help us to put our troubles in perspective. They also are truly God speaking right back to us in our struggles. If you are a little more hard-headed, like me, you can also try reading the book of Job.
Get a spiritual director – Work on yourself, first and always. Make it your heart’s desire to acquire a right heart and a perspective grounded in God. Seeing a spiritual director regularly can help you get perspective on issues in your marriage and on issues in your soul that contribute to unhappiness in your marriage. I think it’s important to note that many problems in our marriages cannot be “solved” by talking to a priest or counselor one time. I think that many people set themselves up for disappointment when they schedule a meeting with a priest and set all their hopes on a miraculous conversation that will help them figure out all their uglies, all at once. Another piece of advice I would give is to not be discouraged if you meet with a spiritual director and the meeting is not very helpful. Make sure to be respectful of the spiritual director and any advice you were given (provided that the advice is in line with the Church), but if you feel that you need to, make another call or two and meet with someone else. And pray, pray, pray that in His timing God would send you to the right person. Wait on the Lord, and He will act.
MaritalHealing.com – Another excellent resource, especially for marriages troubled by addictions like pornography, or by serious character flaws in one or both spouses.
Read some good blog posts – Let these amazing ladies encourage you, give you some practical advice, and maybe most importantly, let you know you’re not alone. Here are some posts that have hands-down been blessings for me. And there are many more I’ve come across that I couldn’t find tonight. Let me also humbly encourage you to check out the posts that I have written on marriage over the past six years at Humble Handmaid.
|My wedding day|
Four Things That Can Save or Sink a Marriage, by Kristen
Some Days My Marriage Isn’t Awesome, by Kristen
When Marriage is Hard, by Hallie Lord
15 Ways to Spice up Your Marriage without 50 Shades of Grey, by Hallie Lord
Marriage after Baby, by Dr. Gregory Popcak and Simcha Fisher
Dear Newlywed, You’re Probably Worried about the Wrong Thing, by Kendra Tierney
Lookin’ for Love in All the Wrong Places, by Katie Sciba
The Myth of the 50/50 Marriage and Battling Bitterness, Katie Sciba
Read some good books. There are so many more…
Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence, by Father Jean Baptiste Saint-Jure
Holy Sex, by Gregory Popcak
Good News about Sex and Marriage, by Christopher West
26 Days to Spice up Your Marriage, by Hallie Lord
The Sinner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning, by Simcha Fisher
I am praying this moment for each one of you who reads this post. I pray that a few of these things that have helped me will also help some of you.
You are not alone.
You are not doing it all wrong just because it’s hard.
Doing it all “right” won’t always make your struggles go away.
God is at work in your heart and in your spouse’s heart. Trust His plan, His timing, and His love for you.
Peace and grace be with you!