The hard stuff of life is all around us. It hits close to home in the form of job losses, sickness, death, tragedy, miscarriages, strained finances, abuse, and disabilities. It’s found in blended families and traditional families. Bullied children, kids struggling in school, kids with autism, paralysis, or mental illness all take their toll. Everywhere we look, there is evidence that we are not in the garden anymore. God’s original creation has been tainted by sin. So suffering, in time, leaves its mark on all of us.
Even though Jesus told us that trials in life are inevitable (John 16:33), we are still surprised by them, mad at them, and at times, defeated by them. God’s intent for intimacy and friendship in marriage can be severely tested when these trials come because the hard stuff has a way of testing our togetherness.
The good news is, God does not abandon us in the tough times. While we may feel helpless, in Jesus we have all the resources we need to live out our marriage vows~ together. Trials don’t have to tear us apart.
In fact, author Dan Allender writes, sometimes God “takes us into the depths of our despair in order for a new hope to be born.” It is possible to come through our trials with a hope and joy that is more securely set on the truth and promises of Christ. God can and does use the hard stuff for our good. In marriage, our trials can be a doorway into great maturity, intimacy, and dependence on God’s grace.
So how do we get through the bad stuff? How do we find hope when we’re living in the middle of the hard stuff? How do we stick together when we are overwhelmed? There is no one method or formula for dealing with all that life throws at us. And sometimes “getting over” the challenges is impossible. But there are hopeful and God-honoring ways to get through the pain, and they begin by not just getting through them but getting through them together.
Biblical love is not about how we feel; it is about how we take action. It is a deep commitment to honor God and honor each other no matter how hard life gets. We have found the following five commitments to be helpful when walking through painful seasons as a couple.
- We trust what God’s Word says and not just how we feel. It is so easy to be ruled by our emotions. Even when we don’t feel like it, we allow God’s truth and promises to be our anchor.
- We will pray and read God’s Word together regularly. We will not let our hurt dislodge us from abiding in Christ. We will run to him and not from him during this painful time.
- We will be selfless lovers. We will have a servant attitude and not allow our expectations, desires for comfort, or selfishness to get in the way of honoring Christ and each other.
- We will talk often and talk openly. We will share our hearts with each other, ask questions, and stay connected, especially when it would be easy to withdraw or shut down.
- We will not walk through this alone. We will reach out to friends, family, and our church to help us get through the hard stuff.
This post originally appeared on For The Family and was republished with permission.\
Patrick Schwenk is a husband, father, pastor, and author. Along with his, wife, Patrick is the creator of For the Family and the author of For Better or For Kids: A Vow to Love Your Spouse with Kids in the House.