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Ideas For Enduring Tough Times In Marriage

It seems like just yesterday when my husband and I exchanged vows. Two twenty-somethings embarking on what would be the most fulfilling relationship of our lives, we couldn’t wait to share everything together. In our first year of marriage we bought a house, had a baby, my husband finished college, and our careers were taking off. Life together was great. Then…

…things got tough.

We couldn’t talk about anything without arguing. We fought over the very things we’d celebrated before. It was draining and I felt powerless.

I’d been told that marriage wouldn’t always feel great and warned that it took grit and determination. But no amount of warning prepared me for how I would feel in the midst of it.

I spent long days and even longer nights worrying about my marriage, and so did my husband. We tried different things, searched on Google for solutions, and went on a few date nights. We both wanted to move past our disagreements, but we couldn’t, and I didn’t understand why.

After several weeks I finally decided to reach out for help. I’d tried not to let anyone know we were having problems, and reaching out took courage. What if people looked at us differently?

After several weeks I finally decided to reach out for help.

Still, I knew it needed to be done.

I thought about the people around me--the ones who seem to be successful in marriage. I made a list and called them one by one. I started with my grandma who was married for more than fifty years, then called my aunt who’d just celebrated twenty-eight years, and finally my parents who, though divorced, have found great happiness and are a wealth of useful advice. Through tears I opened up and asked earnestly what I could do.

Each person met me without judgment and offered a gentle smile and an “Oh, I’ve been there…” They all had something different to offer. In the end, I wound up with a list of things I could take action on:

Ideas For Enduring Tough Times In Marriage

  • Think of something your spouse has done to make you smile. My husband makes me laugh like no one else can; it’s one of the things that made me fall in love with him. His sense of humor and the way he can keep a straight face when he’s being silly gets me every time. It’s hard to stay angry when I think back to the moments that had me laughing until my sides ached. Try it yourself, if only for a moment; it’ll lift your spirits.
  • Don’t participate in spouse-bashing. This one is huge. It can be tempting to call friends or vent to coworkers when things aren’t going well. And while it’s okay to reach out, it’s not okay to say horrible things about your husband/wife. When my grandmother explained it, she told me that if something bad ever came out about your spouse, people should be surprised. Besides, thinking of nice things to say about your spouse can help you remember why you love them (even when they’re not acting lovable).
  • Do something out of love, even if you don’t feel like it. Cook a special meal, surprise them with a gift, or give your spouse a foot rub at the end of a long day. This will go far, not just for them, but for you, too. It’s cliche, but sometimes we have to go through the motions for a while before our feelings align. It seems like extra work at first, but will become rewarding for both of you.
  • Remember that this feeling doesn’t last forever. There wasn’t one person I talked to that hadn’t encountered tough times in marriage, yet all of them are genuinely happy in their relationships. Life is full of seasons.
  • Pray for your spouse and with your spouse. This is another big one. One of the first questions my aunt asked me when I came to her was whether or not my husband and I were praying together. Unfortunately I said no. We’d become too busy, tired, or just plain lazy. We needed to welcome God back into the center of our marriage, and praying together did that.
  • Last, but not least, ask for help. Don’t let your fears keep you from reaching out to people who love you and want you to succeed in marriage. I’m so glad I did.

Marriage takes endurance. It’s one of the most rewarding yet challenging commitments you’ll ever make. When two imperfect people come together, there’s bound to be trouble sooner or later, I know. But thanks to some awesome people who’ve gone before me, my husband and I have made it through tough times, and I can tell you that the other side is sweeter than before. We’ve had to fight for each other, and that makes us stronger.

Try it!

If you’re experiencing a rough time, I would encourage you to try one of the things I listed this week. Then reach out to others, take notes, and take comfort knowing you’re not alone.

What other practical advice would you add to the list?

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  • cindy smith

    thanks so much for this article. Great advice and will be using some of the wisdom you gleaned

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