Yesterday I shared eight ways Paul and I persevered through the roughest season of our marriage. It was a seriously difficult time in our married life, but we were both committed to staying the course in our covenant and we took actions to demonstrate that.
It wasn’t easy. It didn’t feel natural. And it didn’t show any immediate results.
We did it anyway.
In hindsight, there are some actions we should have taken in addition to those eight I shared yesterday.
What are some things we should have done in addition to the ones I shared yesterday?
1. Don’t cut out being intimate. We didn’t stop completely, but way too close to that. Intimacy is incredibly important to a marriage. If this disappears, it truly threatens a marriage’s life. Keeping this gift may be incredibly difficult, but dying to self, loving the other spouse, and talking about it is key.
I think this is one of the hardest issues to push through when you don’t feel like you are connecting with your husband. I really do know how hard it is and how much we want to turn over and curl into a ball, ignoring the man on the other side of the bed. Yet, that action will build more distance and hurt.
Saying, “I know we are having a rough time, but I love you and I want our marriage to be good again. Kiss me, baby.” Or something like that.
We aren’t youngsters who don’t know what is important or how to talk about it. Just do it.
2. Meet with a trusted, godly Biblical counselor. We should have done this. A year is too long to go the way we did. Even if one of the spouses doesn’t want to go, the other should. Getting help is vital when a ship is taking on water, yes?
If you can’t go to a trained Biblical counselor (not to be confused with a “Christian counselor”), then talk to a godly older couple.
Don’t hang out your dirty laundry, so to speak, but get wise, loving counsel from a couple you admire who is committed to marriage. Meet in confidence and pray for one another. I suggest someone older than you, who has been married longer, who has experienced more in life. While younger friends may have the knowledge, they won’t have the same amount of compassion and empathy for your situation. This is where godly older couples can really minister.
3. Go the extra mile in the “love languages” department. I know many people aren’t a fan of the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman and I’m sure they have super valid reasons. I don’t think the book is accurate in that “everything depends” on getting our love languages met. I don’t believe that. I do believe that we can build up a person and encourage and connect in ways that hit the mark perfectly, though when we utilize the five “languages”.
If you don’t know your spouses’, figure it out. And work hard to show love in those ways.
If physical touch is his: hold his hand, pat him on the back, rub his arm. It doesn’t have to be sex. It just has to show you care and “see” him. If it’s words of encouragement: write notes, send sweet texts/emails, say kind words. It doesn’t have to be long letters. It just has to be words that encourage and show that you “see” him.
I should have tried harder and looked outside myself more in this area.
Friends, marriages are failing, crumbling, and floundering. Many of them are self destructing due to the lack of effort, lack of pushing through the pain, lack of conversation, and lack of commitment. There are things we can do to save our marriages.
If you are hurting and your spouse is unwilling to do the work, how much work are you really doing? Please know I say this in love because I have walked the path of pain and distance. I had to evaluate how much effort I truly was putting into helping our one flesh.
Take the time to seek God’s face, the Holy Spirit’s conviction, and Christ’s grace to fight the good fight for your marriage.
Start working and praying. Then, after you have put noticeable effort…. lovingly, gently, and kindly speak to your spouse about the pain and the fear you have in losing your marriage.
I am hear to pray for you. Seriously. Email me or leave a comment.
Distance and difficulty in marriage is painful, and awful, and scary. But it doesn’t have to lead to hopelessness or divorce.
How many of these tasks have you invested in your marriage?