Welcome to my new marriage series, titled How to Be a Loving Wife in a Difficult Marriage. For the next four weeks, I’ll introduce four different ways to put love into action in a difficult marriage. Today’s topic is How to Guard Your Heart in a Difficult Marriage.
My husband and I have been married since November 2000. Of our years together, at least 15 of them have been rocky and difficult. It’s been a challenging journey, but my faith has grown exponentially through our trials.
When I was hurting in difficult seasons, I was desperate for affirmation and understanding from other women. The fact is, most women aren’t willing to admit they are in difficult marriages, at least to other people. We search the internet for affirmation because we still need help, though we are afraid to reach out and tell our stories. The screen feels safer.
That’s why I’m writing this series. I want you know you have a friend who cares about you and understands your difficult marriage.
I promise to be as honest with you as I can while preserving the privacy of our marriage. My husband and I still have difficult days. But our relationship has improved mainly due to the four ways I’ll describe in this post and the next three posts. I hope you’ll stick with me for the whole series. Now let’s delve into our first topic.
Guarding Your Heart
When you are in a difficult marriage, your heart is particularly vulnerable. Your marriage is intended to be your primary source of intimacy outside of your relationship with God. Even when marriage is rocky and painful, your heart’s desires for intimacy are not magically “turned off.” God wired you for intimacy, and you must guard your heart against looking for it in the wrong places.
Understand that you are susceptible to temptation in ways your married friends may not be. They may be able to handle marriage-based Bible studies that cause you pain. They may feel entertained by watching a romantic comedy, while you hide your tears. I remember holding in sobs while watching the beginning of the movie Up with my children, due to the brief love story at the beginning. Know your triggers and guard against them carefully, because indulging in them will only bring you more pain.Know your triggers in a difficult marriage, and guard your heart against them. Click To Tweet
You may be tempted to think you would be better off starting over with someone else. Or simply living alone. Let me assure you, this is the enemy’s primary assault against you. In our contemporary culture, it’s an insidious lie that pops up everywhere you look. But it’s not from God.
Since the moment you both said “I do,” it has been God’s will for you to stay married. I’m not talking about marriages that are marked by ongoing infidelity and abuse. I’m talking about the much more common, yet widely varied, types of difficult marriages. The marriage where emotional abuse may be present. The union where husband and wife aren’t on the same spiritual page. The relationships that don’t feel in sync anymore, and perhaps never were.
These are the marriages God can resurrect from the dead–my marriage is living proof. You can start over in your own marriage right now, beginning with guarding your heart.Only God can resurrect a difficult marriage from the dead. Click To Tweet
I learned how to guard my heart against temptation, discouragement, and hopelessness with the help of many resources.
Nothing changed me more than daily time in God’s Word. I bought a One Year Bible early in our marriage, and now I’ve read it through many times. The Holy Spirit spoke to me through the scriptures. God showed me how much He loved me, even though I sometimes felt unloved. He showed me my worth based on His love for me. He also gently corrected and guided me into the truth about myself, His promises, and His dreams for our marriage. Time in God’s Word gave me the hope to power through the hard times.God's Word provides the hope to power through a difficult marriage. Click To Tweet
For four years, I spent two afternoons a month receiving Christian counseling. With my counselor, I was able to unravel my past hurts and hangups which contributed to our marriage problems. I began to change some of my expectations and reactions, and I saw a difference in our marriage (to be continued in future posts). My counselor helped me learn how to gain strength from God’s Word and other Christians. I began to face my marriage challenges with greater faith.
I sought out solid Christian books to ground me when I felt weak or confused. These are some of my favorite resources, and I’ll be mentioning more in future posts.
A go-to resource from a wife and counselor who has survived and thrived despite the pain.
Wise counsel from a teacher who has powerfully shaped the way I think about marriage.
Gentle yet firm counsel from a loving Christian woman. I respect her insights so much.
This is a secular resource from an incredibly knowledgeable source. This book helped me stand strong during our separation.
Depend on God’s Strength
When you’re in a difficult marriage, it’s easy to feel off-kilter. Arming yourself with knowledge will give you new perspective and strength. You need a deep well of faith, knowledge, and strength to guard your heart in a difficult marriage. God will provide it for you, friend. Simply trust Him to provide, and pray every day that He will protect you from temptation.
This scripture helped me many times, and gave me hope right when I needed it. I pray it helps you too, friend.
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV
God does not condemn you for being tempted. He is faithful to provide a way out. Cry out to Him in your time of need. He will draw close to you and give you the comfort and strength you are seeking in your difficult marriage.
Please join me next time for a discussion on setting expectations in a difficult marriage.
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Questions for you:
Do you know someone who may benefit from this series? Will you share it with them today?
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