There are no ‘ifs’ about it, you and I will face trials in this fallen world. It’s a guarantee straight from Jesus, himself that we’ll go through challenging times.
Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. John 16:33
The troubles that life brings often leave us with anxiety, heartache, frustration, and a lack of control regarding our situation. One or all of these emotions can wreak havoc on a marriage.
My heart’s prayer is to be more like Jesus, but I gotta tell, I sure don’t like the process. Stripping me of my flesh and making me fully dependent on God to move mountains looks good in print when you’re reading somebody else’s life story. But when it’s my story I want to rip that chapter right out of my book!
Stressful seasons are stretching seasons. Not only will our faith be tested but so will our character. How you and I operate under stress is a telltale sign of the kind of woman we really are.
Will we trust God and His word? Most Christ-followers would say a resounding yes.
But do our actions and attitudes reflect this anthem?
In the stormy seasons of life are we filled with love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control? (Galatians 5:23,23) We should be because we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
But, we also have to deal with our flesh as well as the lies we encounter from the enemy of our souls.
10 Ways to Manage a Stressful Season as a Couple
1.Nourish your soul.
Draw close to God. The fear, the anxiety, the brokenness, the dripping disappointment that flows down your face. Hang on to Truth when hope seems lost.
2.Give your spouse space.
Any new season of life can bring a storm of emotions. Fear of the unknown can cause tremendous stress to your marriage. As you are experiencing a mix of emotions, so is your spouse. Allow them to adjust to the change. They may lash out or shut down. Just like you (and me). This doesn’t mean you’re going to give them a free pass to trample all over you. (Make sure you don’t do the same. No marriage will flourish if you hold double standards.) I’m simply saying that in our human frailties we don’t always handle stress, change, or hardships well.
A new season of life brings unfamiliarity and unfamiliar territory can cause anxious thoughts and frustrations. This is a bumpy season and sometimes that means grumpy attitudes. When a trial hits my world, that last thing I do is consider it all joy. Angry, frustrated, and entitled is more my speed. Remember that your husband is human too and he hurts just like you do.
4.Be angry, but don’t sin.
This one is tough. Being angry while not sinning seems impossible. But by the power of the Holy Spirit, you can control your emotions and not lash out. Bridle your tongue as much as you can. You have enough pain on your plate there is no need to add a second helping of anguish and heartache. If you’re emotionally empty and you can’t bring words of life to your marriage, then the second best thing is to keep your mouth shut.
In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise. Proverbs 10:19
5.Give your spouse time and don’t expect them to respond to change like you.
Healing takes time. Eric once told me while I was going through my most painful trial that I needed to get over a particular parenting situation that caused me so much pain and turmoil.
My response: “That’s not going to happen anytime soon.” I expressed to him that I can’t just bounce back from this heartache. Hence, I communicated to him that I’m struggling and I also told him I’m not him. He’s a man and a father. I’m a woman and a mother. We’re different genders and thus we handle our disappointments and pain differently.
Give the Lord time to work all things together for good to those who love God to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
When spiritual amnesia hits you as it hits me, remember that your Father knows your struggles and will take care of you. God can’t and won’t abandon you because it goes against His nature.
“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
7.Be merciful to each other.
God’s mercies are new every morning which begs me to ask myself if I’m merciful to my husband when things don’t go according to my plan? The goal in life is to bring God glory and do all unto Him. Sometimes stressful seasons beg us to ask ourselves if we’re becoming more like Christ or more like this world.
We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8,9
8.Ask your spouse how you can help them.
The two of you are in this tough season together. Extend a hand to your spouse as they are wrestling to adjust to this new way of life.
Whether it’s together or separate. Pray and pray some more. Pray through the tears and through the fears. Pray for God’s will in the matter. Pray for the Lord to comfort your husband and you in this painful season. Pray for wisdom and discernment. And pray for God to bind the enemy for the destruction he wants to do.
Find something to laugh at. While it’s easy to get discouraged and depressed in a difficult season, shift your attitude. No one likes being around a ‘Debbie Downer’ because this type of attitude is draining and taxing on a relationship.
A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones. Proverbs 17:22
Live a poured out life for Christ,