Everyone faces uphill battles in marriage. None of us are immune from those. What happens, though, when those times seem to become the norm rather than the exception? What about when a situation turns ugly and you don’t feel secure telling your girlfriends or small group about things that are going on?
I never expected to find myself in that situation. I had a strong marriage to a man who had been a Christian pretty much from birth, as I had. We had our ups and downs, but I never expected the bottom to nearly fall out in my marriage. The shock and hurt that I felt was overwhelming.
Everything that I knew to be real and true in my marriage was stripped away. All that remained was a bare and broken heart. It wasn’t long before the question became, “Are you going to stay?”
We spent a lot of time in various ministries at the church and our entire support system was there. There was support if I wanted to leave, but there didn’t seem to be much hope if I wanted to stay. I felt utterly confused by the lack of support as we walked this dark road. Over time we moved on from that church, wondering what God might have for us next, but still facing uphill battles in our marriage.
Overcoming the Uphill Battles in Marriage
Trust in God
It’s so easy to trust in people we can see, isn’t it? Perhaps it even seems easier to trust in people. But faith is about trusting in what we can’t see, or can’t know.
During this time in my life, I had to rebuild that trust in God. The worst had happened, and I didn’t know how to deal with it. I had to decide to anchor my life in the faith and hope in God, or take my chances on myself.
I recently heard someone share about how we deal with God, knowing that He doesn’t necessarily protect us from bad things in life. We tend to hold up these hurt-filled, tragic moments as *the* measure of what God does for us. Honestly, though, we need to hold up these moments and compare them to our history with the Lord.
As I looked at my faith in the Lord over the years, I was able to see countless times where He never let me down. This one situation wasn’t about me, although it hurt me tremendously.
This was an opportunity for me to choose to trust in God, to begin to climb this uphill battle with the Lord.
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Choose Your Battles
Here’s some truth, though it may be difficult: We can’t fix everything at once.
When a trauma hits in life, and as we face the uphill battles in marriage, there are impacts on different areas – physical, emotional, mental, even spiritual. We experience many emotions and may have physical symptoms as well. I remember feeling tremendously overwhelmed and drained in every way.
When we are feeling this way, it’s not wise to try to “do it all”. We need to choose our battles – figure out what things are a priority and focus on those.
Perhaps you’re just generally fed up with your marriage and wonder how you’re going to get through all of this.
Can I let you in on a secret? It has to be one step at a time. Your marriage isn’t immediately going to be awesome again. In fact, it’s likely that it’s going to take a lot of time and a lot of work. So focus on the priorities, and work forward from there. You’re probably thinking, “But it’s all a priority.” It does seem that way, but what’s most important?
Perhaps it’s rebuilding trust and establishing honesty again. Don’t choose this time to fight about whether the laundry gets into the hamper. There will be time for that.
For now, though, choose your battles and work on those that are foundational issues.
Ask for Help
This is a tough one for many of us. In my own life, there was a fear that if I asked for help, I would have to explain the nitty-gritty details. However, if you have a trusted friend or family member, ask for help when you can.
These times often feel like a death has come, and we have to figure out how to survive. When a friend offers to help, try saying yes.
As I mentioned earlier, there seemed to be a lack of support for staying in my marriage. What I came to find, though, was that God was setting up a new support system, and as I became brave to ask for, and accept help from others, I started to see what He was putting into place.
Take Time to Rest
Working through, and overcoming trauma is not easy, and trying to climb out of a pit of trouble is exhausting. This is a long journey, so be sure to rest when you need to. Perhaps you need a weekend to just lay in bed and watch movies. Or maybe you need a day to just take a drive and get away.
I think many of us are wired to do, and fix, and run ourselves ragged for our families, and there are certainly times when we need to be that way.
But we also need to find rest and refreshment in the toughest times, and that’s a choice we need to make for ourselves.
Uphill battles in marriage are very challenging; I won’t try to tell you otherwise. But, friends, we can survive these times.
Be sure to check out these tremendous marriage resources.
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