Gary Thomas says, “A good marriage isn’t something you find; it’s something you make.” It is easy to go through life and not savor the good in it. A mind dominated by struggles and distractions fails to be fully present. It is then difficult to richly enjoy life and relationships.
Sometimes you and your spouse will be in a “slump” at the same time. Maybe it’s stress, maybe it’s just a stage of life, maybe it’s financial or related to health. Whatever the cause, when you are struggling at the same time, talk about it. In marriage, the problems won’t tear you apart if you’re talking about them, and having a partner in a tough time is invaluable. Here are 3 ways strong marriages overcome struggles.
Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. —James 1:2-4
3 Ways Strong Marriages Overcome Struggles
Recently, our friends Brian and Jessica were both pretty down at the same time. Thankfully, they realized it, talked about it, and kept spending time together until the clouds lifted. Strong marriages know there will always be times in life you need to simply persevere. Lean in, and allow the process to strengthen your faith and your marriage. Make sure you take time to do these three things when you’re both struggling.
First, make it a habit to reflect on God and His blessings. When I start this exercise, I usually have trouble thinking because my mind is dominated by all I have to do. Then, the dam breaks, and I am reminded how good God is. In reviewing my journal from one day: our child’s test scores went up, my health, a good workout, a generous gift from a friend, an excellent evening with my husband, my kids going swimming with friends…the more we think about something, the more it sticks with us. In an age of distraction, it is important to dwell on God’s blessings so they stick with us.
We are commanded to think on God “who richly provides us with everything to enjoy” (1 Tim. 6:17). Stop and think of the goodness of the moment. As you have a cup of coffee, think of how good it tastes. As you spend time with a child, think about the blessing of that child and take in the humor and fun of the moment. God provides…start richly enjoying and giving Him thanks. Don’t just run through life; enjoy it and worship GOD! Your spouse, your family, your home, your job…whatever…slow down and enjoy it!
Things are more fun when you really look forward to them. Brad and I look forward to going on vacation (just the two of us—no kids). If I stop and think of waking up beside him on the beach and going to dinner, my spirits are lifted. I look forward to it. Then, having thought about the trip before we leave, I enjoy the reality of the experience even more.
Grace Marriage Mission
This week, take inventory of the state of your spirit and your spouse’s spirit. Is one of you struggling? It’s the strong marriages that are able to notice problems and needs. How can the other best be support at this time? Talk about where you are, why it’s that way, and any help you need from the other. Encourage one another to take time to reflect, enjoy, and anticipate.
Marilyn Rhoads is co-founder of Grace Marriage.