A few weeks ago, I felt like my husband and I were dumped in a pressure cooker. The home we are currently living in went up for sale and was sold within 3 days. The close of escrow was right around the corner, and we needed to find a new place to rent as soon as possible. The problem was we couldn’t find a place. Day in and day out we looked at home after home after home. We probably saw at least 30 different places, and I think at least 25 of them were downright filthy. Each day brought discouragement to my soul, and I became increasingly fearful because time was running out for us to find a place.
Between packing, cleaning, doing regular life, and trying to find a new place to live, my patience was wearing thin. And, as if what we were dealing with regarding the home wasn’t enough for my plate, my teen sons had their own emotional breakdown moments that consisted of tears, fears, and the feeling of rejection from outside relationships.
I couldn’t help but examine all of the issues surrounding us. I was afraid to let out a breath in fear that everything around me would crumble.
This was not the first time I’ve been in a stressful situation (and I’ve been in much worse) but as I examined myself; my actions and attitudes, I was left perplexed. Feeling hard-pressed wasn’t new to me. Why wasn’t I handling it so well? What was I missing?
As I was searching for graphics for this article, I came across the two below, and I couldn’t help but love the reality of married life. The newness of marriage generally starts off with calm seas and a great destination ahead, but it doesn’t take long for the storms of life to show up on the high seas.
8 Ways to Nurture Your Marriage When You’re Hard-Pressed on Every Side
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
Day in and day out I prayed for strength for me and my husband. We knew we were moving into a season of perseverance. With the empowering of the Holy Spirit, we can do all things.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Phil. 4:13
2. Make a plan together and be willing to let the Lord change it.
Communicate to your spouse what you’re capable of emotionally, physically, and spiritually. This is a vital conversation to have when you’re faced with the world pushing in on every side. Find out from your husband what his heart’s desire is, as well as his concerns. Knowing this information will help the two of you get on the same page and move forward in oneness.
A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9
3. Nurture your soul.
I’m a nurse to the souls of those who live in my home, namely, my husband and my two sons. But if my soul is not nourished or nurtured, then I can’t pour into the lives of those I love. In the midst of our chaos, I had to learn to take time off from my trial knowing it would still be there the next day, week, month, etc.
4. Give him some space.
Let him reflect, pray, mourn, get inspired, rejuvenated, etc. Sometimes we just need a little margin in our lives when we’re hard-pressed on every side. Find an inch so the two of you can be revived and renewed by the Lord. It might just be a few moments in the morning or a few minutes in the afternoon or evening.
It’s our natural tendency to bicker and fight when we’re in a pressure cooker, but being in a hot pot ready to explode is bad enough that adding more pressure because of assumptions, lack of grace, fears, doubts, and miscommunications makes the pot that much more uncomfortable. So, instead of fighting with one another, fight to come out of this trial even closer to the Lord and each other. Yes, this takes great intentionality to control one’s mood and emotions (and I’m certainly not perfect at it) but tomorrow is another day to make your marriage better instead of bitter while living a hard-pressed life.
6. Get back up
My husband and I have fallen countless times, but countless times we try to encourage each other to get back up. Be the kind of wife who gives her husband a hand to help him up, and you might be surprised to see your husband reciprocate the same gesture. If he doesn’t, then ask for his help! Showing weaknesses and vulnerability while being hard-pressed on every side makes your marriage stronger, not weaker.
Sometimes you just have to step back from the difficulties in life and find something to laugh about. Otherwise, you’re just going to be crying all the time.
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. Proverbs 17:22
8. Remain hopeful.
God’s not dead, and God’s not done. Some chapters in our life story are difficult chapters to live out, and we can’t wait for them to end. But our story is not over until we are with the Lord. God’s not done working in your life or mine. His plan for us is perfect even when we can’t see it. One of my chapters is about to end as the Lord moves my family and me to a new land. And yes, this new land (home) is beyond anything that I could have ever imagined!
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 (ESV)
All trials are designed to draw us closer to the Lord and our spouse. When the storms of life come, weather them together. This attitude will help others see Jesus in you and your marriage. That should be the goal of the Christian.
Need some encouragement and guidance in your marriage? Join me at the Wisdom for Wives On-line Conference. This self-paced, on-line conference consists of 14 Biblically-based video teachings to help you have a Christ-centered marriage. Learn more about the conference and to sign-up here.
Live a poured out life for Christ,