By Jolene Engle, Contributing Writer
When I thought about writing on the topic of keeping your marriage strong during trials, I thought, “Yeah, that has my name written ALL. OVER. IT!
My man and I will be celebrating 15 years of marriage next month. Awe, doesn’t that sound wonderful in today’s society?
Well, here’s the reality of our soon to be 15 years of wedded bliss…
Year one of our marriage was absolutely fabulous!
From then on out we have lived in a constant state of trials. In fact, I think ‘trial’ is a regular member of our household. And he never wants to leave!
At one point in our lives we moved 4 times in 18 months. These were not fun and exciting moves, by the way. They were depressing and exhausting! They left me wondering where God was in all of this. They left me questioning my faith. They left me with fear of the unknown. And they left me feeling more like I worked at a moving company rather than feeling like my husband’s wife!
And one day I told him just that.
With tears falling down my face, I said to my man, “I don’t feel like your wife anymore. I feel like the housekeeper going from one home to the next and cleaning and packing and cleaning and unpacking. I’m exhausted and worn-out and I feel like our marriage is drowning in all of these storms.”
I hesitated to share any of this with my Beloved because I could tell he was exhausted as well. I didn’t want to bring him down in anyway and I didn’t want to discourage him anymore than what he was already feeling. Not only was he exhausted, but he was a broken man; a man, who once provided so well for his family was now reduced to having us temporarily live with friends and then moving us from one place to another. He was broken in every sense of the word.
I wrestled with God often over all the trials in our life. We were trying to live out our life bringing Him honor and glory in all we did. To lift His name on high. To walk out the Biblical commands of loving and respecting one another. To raise up Godly offspring. To be His hands and feet to others.
And yet….we’ve faced one storm after another in our marriage.
And because of this, I had to be as intentional as possible to make sure our love for one another didn’t become extinguished by the torrential rains that God had allowed in our lives.
So if you happen to have a permanent resident by the name of ‘trial’ living in your house too, today I’m going to share with you what I’ve done to keep my marriage strong when the unwanted guest won’t leave!
10 Tips to Strengthening Your Marriage During Storms
- Communicate with your spouse as much as possible. Whether you’re faced with trials today or not, as Believers, we KNOW that we will have trials in our lives. So build your marital foundation for when the rains come and then your house that has been built on the Rock will stand.
- Avoid complacency and be on guard. The Enemy is roaming the earth to and fro seeking whom he can devour. He’d love to destroy your marriage, so don’t give him a foothold.
- Place a high importance on physical intimacy in your marriage. Staying connected in this way will ward off bitterness and it will keep your marriage from becoming platonic.
- Don’t let your trials become idols within your marriage. When you’re constantly focusing on them, it can suck the life right out of your love and passion for one another. (And, dwelling on your trials we leave you in a defeated, spiritual state. Not that I’d know anything about that! :))
- Change your perspective about your trials. Look at them as an opportunity to grow closer to the Lord and to one another. This is not easy by any means! Many, many times I was in a pit of depression and so was my man. During those years we were both still intentionally seeking Christ and following His ways. And we held on to God’s promises in His Word as we did our best to live a righteous life.
- Remain in fellowship with other Believers. When you’re empty and weary, the Body of Christ can minister to you.
- Remain in God’s Word so you can be encouraged, strengthened and comforted by the Great I Am. This will help you to not turn inward and throw that pity party we all love to throw! And it’ll give you the ability to pour into your spouse when he needs to be lifted up.
- Be in prayer. Pray to receive God’s guidance and wisdom for your situation. And pray for your spiritual growth as well as your spouse’s.
- Make the best of your situation. This is your life, your marriage, and your family. Enjoy what you have. Laugh. Be creative with your resources (if they’re strained.) And help others, (this takes your eyes off of you and your trials.)
- Read the Word of God to one another. If one spouse happens to be spiritually encouraged one day they can read the Word to the one who is discouraged. We did this often in our marriage and I can say that out of all these years of trials there were only a handful of days that we were both downcast together.
A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12
Remember that Christ is covering you. It’s easy to look within and become discouraged thinking your life will never change. And it’s even easier to look outward at your spouse and place blame or take out your frustrations. My encouragement to you would be to look up. Look up and see that Christ is covering you as the rains come down on your marriage. Don’t lose heart, He has a purpose for the storms, friend!
He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! 2 Cor. 1:4-6
Now it’s your turn! What else can you add to this list to strengthen marriages that are living through the storms? I’d love to hear your thoughts!