Marriage is hard. Not many people talk about the struggles in marriage. Those who do don’t really explain how to navigate the trials and challenges that come along as we live out the covenant together.
At some point, each of us will find ourselves at a crossroads: fight or flight. In other words, will you stay and fight for your marriage or will you choose flight and take off. This crossroads is normal. In fact, a Christian counselor told me that this decision point happens 2 to 3 times throughout the average marriage. I share this to encourage you. You are not alone and the struggle is more common than you think.
My choice was to fight.
There is just one thing. We must fight well. What does it mean to fight well? When you fight well you and your spouse are brought closer together rather than being pulled further apart. Fighting well includes communicating clearly and honestly without being fueled by emotions. Practice responding to your spouse, don’t react on emotion to the situation. However, the most effective way to fight well is to do your fighting in prayer. Yes, take all of the pain and all of the anger to God. He is the only one who can change your spouse. When you take your marriage to the Creator of the universe, he will show up. I’ve seen it.
He convicted my husband’s heart and brought him to a place of repentance. But even better, God changed my heart. He revealed the area in my heart that I needed to change. Jesus didn’t just show me my sin. He gave me a patience I couldn’t explain and the strength to persevere through the storm. When Jesus reveals your sin, He doesn’t leave you there. He walks with you through the process.
As I reflect on this season of my marriage, there are three tools that were effective in proving my marriage: I started to respond to my spouse instead of reacting on impulse, I prayed daily for my spouse no matter how I felt, and I tried to do something kind for my spouse at least once a day. I encourage you to implement these action steps daily. Things won’t improve immediately but persevere and don’t lose heart. Be persistent and don’t give up, even if your new actions are not reciprocated. In the meantime, focus on the only person you can change–you. Trust God with your spouse and your marriage. He will show up.