As many of you know, my daughter was in the hospital for two weeks and we just got home last Monday. It’s been a very long and stressful few months trying to find out what is going on with her and traveling to see specialists near and far. On top of that, I have a special needs little boy who has been diagnosed with Autism, Apraxia, SPD, and a Feeding Disorder.
Through all that my family has been through, somehow our marriage has remained intact and I don’t believe the only reason for that is because we are Christians. People get divorced for reasons much less than the ones we could have come up with and the divorce rates of special needs families are absolutely astounding!
So how do you continue loving your spouse through the trials and the hard times? Through the times you just want to be left alone? Through the times you just want to give up? It’s not easy, but it is possible!
Loving Your Spouse Through the Trials:
1. Have a Lot of Patience
Patience is required for any marriage, but an extra dose of patience is often required to get through the hard times. There have been so many times where I’ve had to stop and tell myself to remember that my husband is tired, or that he is just as stressed as I am. I am not trying to give him an excuse, but use it more as a reason to remember that we both have reasons to be upset and I need to have more patience with him.
2. Be Willing to Say, “I’m Sorry”
Again, in any marriage both spouses must be willing to say, “I’m sorry” when the occasion calls for it. But remembering to say it even during the hard times really helps to smooth things over. Saying, “I’m sorry” and then explaining the reason why, helps keep communication open between you and your spouse. This allows both of you the chance to forgive, and to continue on helping each other make it through whatever trial you are currently going through.
3. Forgive and Move On
Forgiveness has been the rather large key to helping us keep our marriage strong and it really is a pillar that needs to be at the center of every marriage. During the rough times in life, you may not get along with your spouse, you may not want to be around them or even want to talk to them, but forgiving your spouse inspite of it all will help both of you work things out. It will help you both come together as a team for yourselves, your marriage, and your family.
4. Take Time to Talk and Laugh
There have been so many tense times where my husband and I have just looked at each other and had to laugh. We laughed because sometimes there is nothing else you can do, especially in certain situations. Because when you reach the bottom there’s nowhere else to go, but up! Take time to talk things through with each other. Talk seriously about your situation, but also make time to talk about other things too. It’s ok to set aside time to laugh and just be yourselves- even in the midst of a trial or bad time in your lives.
5. Make Time for Intimacy
Making time for sex with your spouse is so important, especially during trials and hard times. Couples need physical intimacy to stay close to each other and to feel close to each other both physically and emotionally. There are a lot more reasons as to why sex during hard times is important, but I will refer you to Julie Sibert’s blog Intimacy in Marriage and her post: Why I Cried When we Made Love, for more explanation on this topic!
6. It’s Okay to Cry
Can I just say this? It’s not good to always keep everything inside. Cry, be mad if you want, maybe even cry with your spouse if the situation calls for it. You don’t have to hide your feelings, you don’t always have to be “tough.” Even the Bible says there is a time to cry: “A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” – Ecclesiastes 3:4. Don’t let your emotions and feelings build up until they explode, take time to let them out.
7. Find a Friend to Talk To
Finding a friend you trust, to talk to about the things you are going through is important. Yes, talking to your spouse is an important step and you don’t want to miss that, but talking to an encouraging friend can also help you get a new perspective on things. Talking to a friend, getting advice from them, and letting them cry with you and pray with you are things every person needs during a tough time or trial.
Can I be honest? My marriage is not perfect. I am not going to tell you that we never fight or that we always feel loving toward one another or treat each other in a loving way, because it is most certainly not true. If you had even a little look into our lives, you would see two sinners trying to make it through God’s grace. I am so thankful for His love and forgiveness in our lives and for the example others before us have set. No matter what you are going through, you will get through it. Continue to rely on God, continue loving your spouse, and things will get better.
What are some things YOU do to help with loving your spouse through the hard times?