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5 Ways to Strengthen Your Marriage from the Storms of Life

5 Ways to Strengthen Your Marriage from the Storms of Life

“I don’t know what to do anymore,” my husband said to me with tears welling up in his eyes. “I’m not happy.”

The two of us stared at the floor as we sat on the edge of our bed, choking back sobs and holding each other tight. I didn’t know what to say, so I didn’t say a word. The problem was no matter how hard we squeezed ourselves together, nothing could erase the reality that our marriage was in jeopardy, and we were hanging on for dear life by a bunch of tattered threads.

Because I’ve been with the same man for seven years, I knew what Alex was getting at. It wasn’t that he was unhappy with me; He was frustrated with our situation — more specifically the pain and circumstances that had encumbered our newlywed experience. He was frustrated that his wife’s health was deteriorating and he couldn’t do a thing about it.

After sitting in silence for what felt like an eternity, we did the only thing the two of us could do in that moment: We cried, and we prayed.

No man wakes up and thinks, “when I grow up, I want to marry a sick girl.”

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When Alex and I met the summer before our senior year of high school, I was the girl who was always full of energy, always doing adventurous things, always bubbly and always smiling. My life wasn’t perfect — in fact, I was battling anxiety attacks at the time — but I was healthy, our love was electric, life was simple, and the world was our oyster.

Then chronic pain entered my story. First it was TMJ, then headaches every day in college, followed by constant muscle and joint soreness, brain fog, random injuries, digestive issues and more. The pain and health problems increased with each year we dated, but it wasn’t until six months into marriage that I received a diagnosis: Ehlers-Danlos Hypermobility Syndrome and Degenerative Joint Disease.

Today, one-and-a-half-years after we said, “I do,” we’ve endured not only that diagnosis, but also the loss of loved ones and jobs, the challenge of starting new jobs, the chaos of moving states and the shock of even more health problems.

Sometimes it feels like the enemy is trying to destroy our marriage.

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I shouldn’t be surprised by this, because that’s been the enemy’s goal all along since Genesis 3 — to divide people and ruin relationships. And yet sometimes between my husband and I, the spiritual warfare feels like it’s too much to bear. Have you ever felt this way in your marriage?

Today I’m here to tell you that no matter what your marriage is facing there is hope and encouragement!

This is where the beauty of the cross comes into my marriage story.Because of Jesus I am able to say that even though the enemy seeks to destroy my marriage — even though we don’t know what to do at times — my husband and I are stronger and more in love than ever before. Instead of letting disappointment, fear, grief, loss and heartbreak overtake us, we have chosen to place our marriage in God’s hands. And because God is so faithful, in return­ He has given us everything we need to make it through whatever storm comes our way. It’s never easy, but He’s always enough.

People often ask me how Alex and I have managed to stay so in love despite the pain we’ve experienced in our 20-something years of life. All I can say is this: We put Jesus first. Maybe that sounds too good to be true, but I want you to know it really is that simple. The only reason we have been able to weather our turbulent newlywed years is because we put Jesus first and keep the following five things in mind at all times. Many of these things happen naturally as a result of putting Jesus first, and by keeping them in mind I hope your marriage can be strengthened to weather any storm that comes your way, too.

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The week after our honeymoon, I read the entries in our wedding guest book. More than 10 people had written something along the lines of, “keep Christ at the center of your marriage and no matter what happens, everything will be OK.” When we keep Christ at the center, we are able to be the husbands and wives we need to be. We are able to love better; We are able to live better; We are able to be better — for each other.

Being married is not about getting what you want 100% of the time. It’s about dying to self every single day, just like Jesus died to himself for the sake of His father’s will. If you want to have a strong, joy-filled marriage, you have to put your spouse’s needs before you own and learn how to love them well.

Here’s an analogy for you: If you were training for a marathon, but all you ate was Big Macs for lunch and dinner, do you think your training would amount to anything come race day? Probably not. When it comes to feeding our soul, it’s the same kind of situation. What we put into our heart and soul is what we will get out of them. If we read truth on a daily basis, we will be able to speak truth into our life and our spouse’s life. We will be able to eventually cross the finish line because we can confidently rest in the biblical truths that God loves us, is for us, is fighting on our behalf, and will never leave us.

Alex and I have an open-door, no yelling policy. That means not only is anything on the table to talk about, but we talk about things without being rude or disrespectful to one another. If I’m having a bad pain day, I am open and honest about it. And if I’m too tired to fold laundry or make dinner, he practices compassion and helps me figure out a plan B. When you are kind and compassionate, you are able to work as a team and solve any problem.

ALWAYS CHOOSE LOVE. {Proverbs 3:3}
I don’t think it’s possible for a wife to love her husband more than I love Alex. However, in my day planner, in my car, on my phone and in my office I have Proverbs 3:3 printed out to remind me that love is a choice. This means that even though I might think I love my husband, I still have to show and tell him. I have to always choose love over everything other emotion that fights for my attention.

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I cannot imagine what it’s like for my husband to watch me battle chronic illness every day. I cannot imagine what it’s like for my husband to watch me suffer and not be able to help. But I can love him. I can be his encourager, friend and safety net. I can be an honest, kind and compassionate companion. I can pray.And I can continue to point him to Christ, whose grace and peace is the ultimate solution to surviving any storm.

Has your marriage gone differently than you hoped it would? What has helped you weather the storms of life while maintaining a healthy marriage?

Related Video:

iBelieve.com: Go From “Me” to “We” in Your Marriage - Nicole Unice from ibelievedotcom on GodTube.

SEE ALSO: 8 Simple Ways to Love and Encourage Your Husband

Lauren GaskillLauren Gaskill is an author, blogger and speaker who is passionate about inspiring others to lead joyful, healthy, redeemed lives. She believes life should be sweet — rich in stories, and full of good food, love, encouragement and inspiration. Lauren is the creator of MakingLifeSweet.com and the Finding Joy podcast, and she is in the process of publishing her first inspirational book. When she’s not writing, Lauren is creating new recipes in the kitchen or spending time outdoors with her husband and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Facebook Twitter Instagram Pinterest