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Embrace marriage struggles!

why you should embrace marriage struggles

Have you ever considered that tension in your relationship can be a good thing? Often God is introducing areas that need to be improved. He wants you to embrace these marriage struggles. The best way to do this is by asking each other tough questions:

  • A husband might say, “Outside of the Lord Himself, do you feel like you are taking second place to anything in my life?”
  • A wife might ask, “Do you feel like I respect you?”

Then there are right and wrong ways to respond to these questions:

  • Imagine a wife answers that she does not feel that she is the supreme relationship in her husband’s life. He should not try to talk her out of the way she feels or persuade her to see things differently. This will make her feel even more misunderstood.
  • Imagine a husband answers that his wife makes him feel disrespected. She should not argue with him and try to convince him he is wrong. This will make him feel even more disrespected.

Instead, each spouse should listen to the other, apologize the right way, and try to make the appropriate changes. When couples ask each other these difficult questions, they should expect some painful discussions. That’s great.

A helpful way to view marriage struggles…

Some years ago I hurt my lower back. It’s a recurring injury that reminds me I’m getting older, so I returned to the chiropractor. If you have ever been to a chiropractor, you know they can be pretty forceful. There’s pushing, twisting, snapping, and popping. Sometimes you’re left feeling sore, but this is supposed to happen. That is how the chiropractor makes adjustments and straightens things out.

What if you went to the chiropractor and all he did was rub your shoulders, pat your back, and tell you everything looked fine? Maybe after that, he sat next to you and asked how your day was going. How would you react? I know how I would react: “This is not why I came here. I know if you are going to help me, you are going to have to apply some pressure and do some pushing and pulling. There is going to be some tension. There will even be a little soreness afterward.”

Likewise, if we are going to embrace our marriage struggles, there will be some discomfort. There is going to be some struggle and frustration. We should not be alarmed, because this is part of the natural healing and strengthening process as God works in our relationships.

What is the alternative to embracing your marriage struggles?

Be lazy. That’s the simple answer. Choose not to:

  • Ask each other the tough questions
  • Talk about the tough issues
  • Take your marriage seriously
  • Improve as a husband, a wife, or a Christian

If you avoid discussing your marriage struggles, it’s true that you won’t have any tough issues with which to wrestle. But you will not grow either, and your marriage will not be strengthened. Even if you avoid the difficult discussions and the discomfort that accompanies your marriage struggles now, you will more than likely experience even tougher, more painful situations later.

So I want to encourage you to embrace your marriage struggles because of what they can produce. Romans 5:3–4 says:

We glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character, and character, hope.

Glory in the struggles you are having, knowing that they are producing something good as you, your spouse, and your marriage are refined!

Discussion questions for husbands and wives:

  • What marriage struggles are “recurring injuries” for your and your spouse? In other words, what problems or conflicts do you continue to experience that need to be embraced so they can be “straightened out”?
  • Why should you expect discomfort as you and your spouse discuss your marriage struggles?
  • In what ways can this discomfort be beneficial?

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12 thoughts on “Embrace marriage struggles!

  1. […] God accomplishes much of the work He wants to do in our lives through marriage. After Scripture and the Holy Spirit, marriage is the greatest way God teaches us forgiveness, sacrifice, patience, dying to self, and the list goes on. When people remain single they can often develop a greater selfishness as they are able to live only for themselves. Once married they should be living for their spouses, and this is wonderfully sanctifying. […]

  2. […] true are these verses! If you think about the chiropractor analogy, nice, gentle back rubs feel good. They are enjoyable. But they don’t do much for our lower […]

  3. I love how you said that we should not make excuses if our spouse points out something that is wounding them (like disrespect). We must enter into their experience to figure out why our behavior is making the other person feel a certain way, and ask God to help us break bad habits.

    1. Hi Susan,
      Thanks for reading and commenting. Yes, our flesh wants to flare up, but we have a responsibility to receive it humbly and seek to understand why our spouse is feeling that way.

  4. I’m realizing that so much of our Christian life is leaning into the tension in this life. Truth is, any kind of growth comes with a little awkwardness and tension. I’d agree that’s true in marriage too- we grow closer through the tough stuff!

    1. Hi Beka,
      Yes, well said. We want the spiritual growth and sanctification, but we don’t always want the trials and tension that produce it :). Whether in marriage or other areas of life.

  5. I love that you point out we shouldn’t be defensive of the answers we get to the questions we ask. It is usually the first human reaction. We do need to use the answers to make changes. I recently asked my husband the question about if he felt respected after reading one of your posts. It’s a good thing to do once in a while as the answer can change!

    1. Hi Tara,
      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Yes, it’s definitely the first human (or fleshly) response. We see it immediately in the Garden with Adam: “The WOMAN who YOU gave to be with me made me do it.” He basically blamed his wife and God.

      That blesses me that one of my posts led you to ask your husband that question. That’s my desire through my writing to impact marriages.

  6. We have often struggled with working through our pet peeves, they don’t affect us a lot anymore, but in the beginning of our marriage, it was not fun, LOL.

    Word of Advice, make it a point to communicate your feelings, it’s best if you talk it out, but communication makes the hard times so much more beautiful.

    1. Hi Matthew,
      Nice to hear from you. Thanks for your humility in sharing. Truthfully, I think we all struggle with working through our “pet peeves” as you put it.

      I appreciate your encouragement regarding communication too. As far as talking it out – at least with us – that’s not the problem. The problem is remaining kind, loving, and patient while having those talks :).

    2. I struggle with that too, but in the end, if we are both willing it will work out. 🙂

    3. Matthew,
      I think we all do, but only some people have the humility to admit it like you do.

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