{Day 25} Real Marriage Part 2: When You’re Struggling

Perhaps marriage is a real struggle today, harder than you thought it would be. 

Perhaps it feels impossible. 

Perhaps you know that there are issues, real problems. But you feel like you just don’t have the emotional energy right now to work on things in a way that’s really going to make a difference. So you wait. You ignore. You minimize or rationalize. 

But do you know what? All of that putting off takes emotional energy too. Hiding and pretending, deferring and under-the-rug-sweeping? It sucks the life out of you. It’s a slow and steady drain that in the long run is more taxing than the hard work of dealing with the junk so that you can finally move forward. 

I know it’s hard. Sometimes it just seems easier to pretend that the problems are normal and therefore not that worthy of attention. Or maybe you think that you’re problems are anything but normal. You’re believing the lie that nobody else has experienced what you’re going through. 

Maybe help feels ridiculous and impractical during this season. I get it. 

Life is work without the troubles that come with marriage. Jobs are stressful. Kids have needs. There are bills and soccer games and sickness. Decisions are waiting to be made and doctor visits are waiting to be scheduled. 

Who has the time for the gut-wrenching work of marriage when dinner needs fixing? It’s a classic example of how the immediate takes precedence over the important. 

But let me gently speak some truth here. 

You don’t have to solve it all right now. But start somewhere. 

I’d suggest prayer. 

Maybe you can’t remember the last time you breathed a prayer about your marriage.  Why not today? Why not acknowledge that you don’t have what it takes or know what it takes to see this through, that you’re desperate and scared and “just please, God, help.”

He hears the cries of the desperate. He looks on you and your desperation and He is filled with compassion.

And then, assuming you’re able to pray and quiet your soul for just a bit, maybe it’s time to speak about things. Speak the first word of the first conversation that may put you on the path to help. 

And that brings me to the subject of help. 

I’ve found that the hardest part of getting help is simply taking the first step. 

Find a counselor, a pastor, a wise and trusted friend, maybe someone you know who’s also sought help. Don’t let shame stand in the way of healing. 

Here’s what I’ve learned. We all need help. We’re simply prone to hiding it. 

My husband and I, we see a counselor. But we also have friends who know our story and love us anyway. We have others in our lives who encourage us, pray for us, and ask the necessary questions. We now have a “network” of help and we realize that this is really the only way to live–real, honest and needy. 

And as we’ve begun to live needy, we’ve begun to see that we’re not alone. 

Marriage is hard. It’s okay that it’s hard. So many people are struggling, far more than you know. 

If you’re in a difficult place, don’t stay there. Take the first step. And know that you’re not alone.

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  1. says

    I appreciate this so much. This summer one of my friends left her husband, one of my husband’s professors’ wives left him, and a couple in our church went through serious marriage issues that have nearly destroyed their lives. And I’ve wondered, if we were just willing to be real, just willing to ask for help, would some of these things be avoidable? Such tragedy . . .

  2. says

    I love that you said this: “We now have a “network” of help and we realize that this is really the only way to live–real, honest and needy.”

    A big Amen to that. The only way to live is real, honest and needy.

    It is SO good to ask for help and for years, I refused to because I thought I was supposed to figure it all out myself. Several months ago, my husband and I went through our first real major rocky patch. And because of the network we already had set up, we were able to immediately reach out and work through this big ugly thing together.

    I’ve learned for myself that being real, being honest and being needy is what God desires most of my heart. I loved seeing another woman echo the same things. (o:

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