Marriage isn’t all happy days and rainbows. It isn’t all fresh flowers just because and breakfast in bed. There are going to be hard days, there are going to be days that will try you in ways you never imagined you could be tried, let alone by the one you married. But those days will come, those arguments will happen and when the storms come, you (you, reader and me, author) need something to get you through it all. May these words be what helps us get through.
Not everything has to be solved in this moment. There are times it is good to take some time and pray about things and discern. Individually. You need a personal and marital relationship with God and those relationships are separate, though interrelated.
There may be times – in the midst of shouted words and tears – that you question why you even did this whole marriage thing in the first place. You may even wonder if it’d be better if you never got married in the first place – that’s normal. But remember that despite the pain of the present moment, God called you both to marriage. Find solace in His plan, even if you can’t possibly understand it beyond your own hurt.
It is okay to cry and to be hurt. That doesn’t make you a bad person, wife or husband – it makes you human. Don’t bury how you feel for the sake of being a martyr in your marriage – it will only drive you mad and build up frustration over time. At the same time, don’t let your hurt drag on longer than it should. Forgiveness goes both ways and needs to be genuine.
In those moments of pain and “I can’t believe this even happened” and “I don’t know how to move past this” force yourself to recall happy memories in your marriage. Start at your wedding day and go from there. Make a list of ten memories you can always recall in the midst of your pain. Remember that your spouse – despite how deeply you feel hurt or alienated – is human, and therefore imperfect, too.
When the hard times and the battles come, take them as they come. Don’t bring up old fights – face the one in front of you and deal with only that issue. Rehashing old arguments won’t get you anywhere you want to go.
If things get especially trying – for whatever reason – re-recite your vows to each other, out loud. Repeat as necessary, even if it is the only thing you say to each other for the rest of the night.
Always sleep in the same room. You may not touch all night, but the fact that you are committed to always being physically present to each other throughout the night speaks volumes. (If there is an issue of abuse, this bit of advice need not apply. In fact, it shouldn’t.)
If a conversation needs to be put on hold, agree to a time/place that it can resume. Don’t just let things hang in la-la-no-man’s-land for an undetermined amount of time.
At the end of the day, remember that you both vowed to love and honor each other and your children – no one else. Your marriage and vocation come before any and all other outside sources or forces.
If you need to process the fight/discussion with someone outside of your marriage, only do so with a person who won’t resort to bashing your spouse. Your marriage MUST come first and can’t be sacrificed in the name of winning an argument. If your confidant allows you to think this way, you’ll think this way too and that’s not a healthy road to go down.
Ask yourself: what is the good I am trying to hold on to? What is the good my spouse is trying to hold on to? Is there a way to work together to achieve both goods? If not, what is God calling us to? What is the highest good that can be achieved through this situation?
Above all remember to love. It isn’t pompous, it isn’t self-interested. It is patient, kind, and self-sacrificial (not in an arrogant way). Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things. Love sees beyond the fight to the good of the marriage and holds to the vows you took. Love endures all things because we are called to love as He loves: unconditionally and without end. Amen.