Any kind of hardship can take a toll on our marriage. Financial strain, stress at work, frequent travel with work, difficulty with kids, major illness, broken trust, moving, or problems with extended family are some common issues that cause a husband and wife to argue or pull away from one another. But, the truth is, the hard times are when we need each other the most. And, here’s how we can protect our marriage from the damage that hardship can bring.
There have been several times, in my fifteen years being married to Dave ,that we’ve experienced various forms of hardship. In the grand scheme of things, ours weren’t “major,” but we both felt the strain nonetheless.
One tough season that comes to mind happened about six years ago when we decided to move states. We were willingly leaving a place that we loved but very excited about starting our new adventure in a new place. But, the moment we got there, I felt loneliness creeping in. We were staying in a tiny rental right beside some water, and that was especially hard since I had two extremely loud and active small boys who couldn’t swim yet.
Dave was busy at his new job, and I was trying to hold down the fort at home with two small children. As the months slowly crept by, Dave and I both felt weary and uncomfortable with our new city. It was a tough adjustment. There were even times when I was a bit resentful towards Dave because it seemed like he was adjusting so much better than I was. Even still, I continued to trudge on through the long days at home with my restless boys–feeling a bit lost and alone.
The tension between us began to rise, because we gradually stopped being intentional about telling each other our true feelings about the move. I think both of us were so exhausted at the end of the day that we just couldn’t even find the words. Eventually, this bad habit caught up with us. We both became so edgy towards one another, and we weren’t prioritizing date nights or time together like we once did.
The relational dynamic between us was becoming more sinister by the day. And, I hated it. I wanted things to be better. I wanted to love where we were living. But, I was so homesick and frustrated with the sate of things.
I remember Dave coming to me, with tired eyes, one day. He grabbed my hands, and he said,
“Sweetie, this has been a really hard move for both of us. I don’t know why, but it just IS. What do you think would make things better for us?”
I was so relieved to hear him say those words. I wasn’t alone in my frustration. Dave felt it too.
Tears welled up in my eyes as I poured out my heart to him. I told him how much I missed my friends and family. I expressed my frustration with the boys not listening. I asked Dave how things were going at work, and he talked about some frustrations he was experiencing there.
Neither of us held anything back. It felt so good to just let it all out and to call this season what it really was–HARD. And, it was good to know that we BOTH had each other’s back.
Friends, when we are going through a tough season–and we ALL will at some time or another, we MUST resist the urge to face it alone and allow resentment to take hold of our heart. This is help you to endure this hard season and keep your marriage strong.
We need to go to our spouse and tell him/her what’s on our mind and heart. Tell him/her everything–the good, the bad, and the ugly. And, then ask your spouse to do the same. When you both do this, you will feel the weight being lifted off your shoulders. The two of you are on the SAME team. You win together or lose together. You lean on one another through thick and thin. That’s what our marriage commitment is all about.
Your hard season may linger, but you can make it through when you face it together–hand-in-hand, heart-to-heart, day-by-day, and step-by-step.
If you and your spouse are struggling right now in your marriage, we want to help you. Please go to Fighting for My Marriage, for more information.
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