Whenever I hear someone say that their first year of marriage (or two, or five, etc.) was difficult, I breathe a sigh of relief. While I am sorry to hear of couples struggling, I am relieved to know that I am not alone.
Marriage is hard. Bringing two people together means making compromises. And when two strong-willed people marry (as is the case with my husband and me), those compromises will likely not all end peacefully. Yes, I am speaking from experience (I’m sorry, but a bright orange Baltimore Orioles poster just does not work in the living room).
Unfortunately, the problems that arise in many marriages are far more severe than where to hang wall art. Infertility, affairs, addiction, health problems, finances, and intimacy issues can get in the way of experiencing the marriage God yearns for you to have. And sometimes, one person gives up when these things get in the way.
Author Lysa TerKeurst wrote a popular blog post called “When Your Husband Has Given Up” addressing the pain and hopelessness of a struggling marriage. TerKeurst says that there is something you can do when when you feel like your marriage is falling apart.
“Decide today that you are worthy,” TerKeurst writes.
She says that she knows you probably don’t feel worthy if your spouse has given up on your relationship. She even acknowledges that when only one person is willing to try to fix the marriage it is “the deepest hurt.” You are worthy in spite of this.
TerKeurst cites Psalm 139:13-14 (ESV): “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”
When it feels as if all hope is lost, you can “depend on the solid truth of God,” TerKeurst says.
There is something that you can do to redeem your marriage, even if you are working on it alone.
“...step aside from the emotional yuck to make some levelheaded decisions,” TerKeurst writes. “Get a plan. Talk to wise people who love you, provide godly counsel and will walk this tough journey with you.”
And most of all, “Pray like crazy for clear discernment. Because Jesus is the best source of help.”
Justin and Trisha Davis, authors of “Beyond Ordinary” also stress the importance of prayer in a seemingly hopeless marriage. The couple’s marriage nearly failed after years of emotional resentment, withdrawal and an affair.
In an interview with iBelieve.com, Trisha Davis said, “I lost everything. I lost my church family, I lost my best friend, I was losing my marriage, I lost my identity...All I had was God...I had no where else to go but to Him.”
The couple managed to begin their marriage anew through the help of counseling and complete reliance on God.
“It was prayer,” she said. Things started to change because my perspective started to change.”
If your marriage is suffering, turn to God for strength.
TerKeurst writes, “Honest cries for help, lifted up to Jesus, will not go unheard. He sees. He knows. He loves. And Jesus will direct you as long as you stick with Him.”
Carrie Dedrick is the editor of ChristianHeadlines.com.