How Difficult Seasons in Marriage Build Your Faith
By: Joette Knapp
Marriage by design brings two people together for the rest of their lives. Marriage was created by God to be an example of His relationship with the church – His bride. Marriage can be the most rewarding relationship we’ll ever have, and the most challenging. Two very different people come together in marriage and set out to build a life together. The initial journey is wonderful! Trouble within the marriage isn’t even on the radar as both partners put all their abilities and talents into building a life together. But then reality sets in…
The children take up more time and energy you thought. The everyday activities get to be routine and even boring. Husband and wife settle into their roles and life goes on. And then one day everything changes and the very things that drew you to each other in the first place, are driving you crazy. He’s not strong and independent, he’s arrogant and self-centered. She’s not cute and adoring, she’s demanding and clingy. Add to that mix financial stress, jobs, parenting, health issues, and a plethora of everyday stressors and you can find your marriage headed for crisis.
Every marriage experiences difficult seasons that will make it or break it. Some of those seasons are traumatic, like the death of a child, debilitating health issues, or extreme financial losses. But most of the difficult seasons will be brought on by everyday life that leads to discontent or boredom. It’s during these difficult seasons that faith can grow to proportions you never dreamed were possible. God will use every opportunity to refine us so we can become the person He created us to be.
He allows difficult seasons in our marriages to strengthen them. If a baby is never encouraged to stand and walk, he never will. He’ll get stronger every time he falls down and picks himself up. It’s the same with marriage. It’s impossible to expect that there is never going to be problems. That’s unrealistic thinking that will throw you into a tailspin at the first sign of trouble.
Your faith is what will sustain you through every difficult season that comes into the marriage. You can’t change the other person’s attitude, you can only change your own. Drawing near to Christ by reading Scripture, praying, worshiping, and meditating on what He’s telling you, takes the focus off of your problem and onto Him.
Along with drawing near to Christ, getting help from a counselor or a coach can give you hope and accountability to make positive changes in the midst of difficult circumstances. Shifting your focus from negative to positive enables you to look at your marriage differently. This is what helps you grow your faith in the midst of difficult seasons.
It’s easy to bail out of the marriage when life gets tough. The world tells us that we deserve to be happy no matter what it takes to find it. It doesn’t tell you that you’re responsible for those actions. You have to believe that something greater than yourself is in control. Because in your heart you know you’re not in control of anything. Faith gives you hope. It gives you a focus that takes away the fear. You are not in control but Jesus is and He will help you through it.
Marriage is a challenge. Difficult seasons come. It takes hard work to stay in a marriage when obstacles seem overwhelming. But there is beauty on the other side of difficulty. Emerging out of a difficult season does not mean that life goes back to how it was. It often doesn’t. Difficult seasons have a way of changing you forever and life will never be the same. But if you don’t give up and you allow Christ to have control and change your perspective, the difficult seasons will build your faith. In fact, that difficult season in your marriage could end up being the best thing that ever happened to you!