When Marriage is Hard
by Kathi Lipp
Here we go again.
He said something. I felt vulnerable. I took it out of context or, he admits later, maybe it wasn’t the best way to say it. And there I am, sitting in the front seat, making a poor attempt to hold back tears.
It’s another case of “He Said, She Cried.” And I’m guessing you’ve been in that front seat with me at some point in your marriage.
I work hard on my relationship. I take the classes. I read the articles. I pray. I read the books. But can we all just say it together:
This marriage thing is hard.
It’s hard living with another person. It’s hard having to “die to self” every single day. And some days (or maybe years) it’s harder than others.
You can do everything (or at least most things) right. You can figure out which one of The Five Love Languages your man is, and then show him Love and Respect. You can have great boundaries, and have even taken the Love Dare, but sometimes, it’s just hard.
Every marriage goes through its rough spots, but there are times when month after month your relationship feels like a series of just one pothole after another. So what can you do when marriage gets really, really hard?
Find a Friend. This is the person you talk to and pray with. This is not the person you dump all of your grievances on and stop talking to once they stop commiserating with you. We all need a safe friend, but the safest friend is the one who’s going to listen and not judge your husband, but will pray for him, and for you.
Keep Doing All that Stuff. You know all that stuff: the books, the articles, the seminars that don’t seem like they’re working? Keep doing them. I’ve discovered what didn’t work a year ago, works now. God’s been working on my heart, God’s been working on my husband’s heart. We’re in a different place in our lives and in our marriage. And sometimes, a little maturity goes a long way.
Stop Keeping Score. I think this is the hardest step for most women to take – laying down the score card: How many nights did he get home on time this week? How many times did he do something for me this week? Go ahead and intentionally make it uneven. I’m not talking about the everyday stuff (you do his laundry and have dinner on the table most nights – shouldn’t that be enough?) I’m talking about the little ways to say I love you:
- a cupcake just for him
- ordering “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” on Pay-Per-View
- ironing his favorite shirt
- getting steaks for him to barbecue
This isn’t so much about changing his heart as it is about changing yours. Extravagant little acts of love are the best way to get rid of a scorekeeper mentality.
Pray Specifically for Your Man, Every Day. Create a list of verses to be praying for you, your husband and your marriage. Here are some of my favorites:
- When He is Overwhelmed, Psalm 27:1
- When He Feels Inadequate, John 14:27
- When He is Overcome with Worry, Ephesians 3:20
- His Relationship with You, Philippians 2:1-6a
Marriage is hard. But, as we all know, the hard stuff is what makes us grow – in our relationship with God and our relationship with our husband.
Kathi Lipp is the author of The Husband Project as well as Praying God’s Word for Your Husband, released by Revell in June. For more marriage helps, go to kathilipp.com.