Every marriage will face hard seasons. Some are happy even when a certain amount of stress surrounds them. Some are tragic and very difficult. The time to be intentional about drawing close to your husband is during these times.
It’s easy to feel close when everything is going well and no major life events are taking place. But when large amounts of stress creep in (whether we want it to or not), it’s important to recognize our husband isn’t the enemy.
My husband and I are uprooting our family and moving to a new city. God is calling us to the community where our church is located and we are excited! But it’s also a little scary. Okay, a lot scary. Currently, we have a signed purchase agreement on our home with a contingency attached to it — that we sell once we find a home in a certain amount of days.
So far, we have exhausted the list of houses that would work for our family. We have not yet found our home. Whether we want it or not, there is stress involved in this big decision and all the details that surround it. It’s easy to allow this stress to mount and snap it at the one person who is on the same team as me–my husband.
I have done my fair share of apologizing to my husband for snapping at him for no good reason in the last few weeks. A simple “snap back” can quickly escalate because the multiplying stress needs a place to be released.
Our husband shouldn’t be that place. If he is stressed too, it can just be really ugly and by the end of it all, you’ll be wondering what happened and why you’re fighting over where the dog breath spray belongs. (True story).
Here are some ideas to prevent walls being built in your marriage as you walk through a hard season.
Think before you speak.
If the past few weeks have taught me anything, it’s to choose my words carefully and not just blurt out the first thing I’m thinking. Typically, I don’t do this. But when we are in a hard season or stressful time, this takes more effort and more reminding.
But don’t forget to communicate, and often. Not communicating can lead to assumptions and add further stress to an already sensitive season. When emotions are in overload and worries seem to dominate, it’s especially important to be sure we are communicating well and with good intention.
The fastest way to defuse an argument or an outright fight is to admit when you’ve done something wrong. Even if he snaps back or does/says something hurtful, we need to be responsible for our own words and actions. Don’t wait for him to apologize first, even if you believe he was in the wrong, too. Be the one to initiate so the issue will dissolve rather than escalate. This is a decision you will need to make for yourself and your marriage. Decide what is more important — the relationship or your ego. (Speaking from experience here)
Make time to be together.
Stress and tragedy can cause one or both spouses to withdraw. Take steps to make the time for each other. Remember you are a team and you don’t need to go through these hard times alone, but together. It’s during these times your marriage grows and strengthens, but being intentional is vital.
This is not a last resort idea. Consistent prayer for your marriage is vital for its health. When a situation is out of your hands, the best place to take it is to the Lord. If you are battling with anger, frustration, or hurt from your husband, take it to the Lord.
He hears you and will help you. You can’t change your heart or your husband’s heart, but the Holy Spirit can, and He will. Every time I have taken a situation to the Lord, He has always answered. Always. Sometimes it needs to be taken back again and again, but again, He always answers.
Recognize he may be stressed or hurting, too.
You can’t only focus on your own stress or hurt. It’s important to realize he might be feeling the same thing you are. So, if you’re waiting for him to recognize your hurt or concerns, he may not because dealing with his own may feel too big on its own.
If you’re in need of support but your husband isn’t in a position to offer it, find a close and trusted friend who can give you support for whatever hard season you’re going through (that may not even be marital). Maybe a family member is very sick or you lost someone suddenly, or finances are stressing you both out.
It’s difficult to receive support from someone who is already drained them self. As hard as it may be, try not to take it personal.
Forgiveness is a key ingredient to a healthy relationship anyway–any relationship. But during especially challenging seasons, it may be necessary to forgive more often. Be prepared and willing in this because it is a healing balm for both spouses to forgive and be forgiven. When emotions and stress are running high, we become more vulnerable and sometimes less self-controlled.
This isn’t just a magic list that will make your marriage all better. It has to be something you truly want to invest your heart into in order to keep your marriage strengthened.
You know your marriage and your husband best. You know how it flows, you know how he ticks. Use these suggestions as a guide and mold them to how they will work best in your marriage.
The most important thing is to realize a good marriage takes work. It never happens by default.
For His Glory,