Where Do I Turn when Things Get Hard in My Marriage?
Note: If you are reading this title and are single, divorced, or widowed, please keep reading. There are great applications shared that can apply to any relationship
Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. (James 5:13)
Let’s just be honest here: There are some hard days in every marriage relationship. No one is immune to those kind of days.
Maybe you and your spouse miscommunicated about something earlier today. Or maybe you hurt your spouse with a hurried response this morning.
The truth is that we all hurt one another in marriage. And since that is true, it leads to the obvious question: Where should I turn for help when those hard days or hard seasons come?
Where Not to Turn
Before we answer that question, let’s first answer a related question: Where should we NOT turn in those moments we are hurting? To be sure we are not looking for help in all the wrong places.
Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. Colossians 2:8-9
What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter. What sorrow for those who are wise in their own eyes and think themselves so clever. Isaiah 5:20-21
In multiple places in both the Old and New Testaments, we see the Lord telling us not to go to the world or to people without a true Christian worldview for help. The empty philosophies of the world lead only to frustration. And human wisdom, or what the Bible calls “leaning on your own understanding”, most often ends with us feeling like a dog chasing his own tail.
We may turn to the pleasures of this world, or even sin, to try to escape the place we find ourselves. Things like alcohol, drugs, porn, food, etc. They may give us some temporary relief, but no pleasure of this world or sin can truly satisfy our desire for help and comfort. God created us for more that the world’s temporary fixes or sinful pleasures.
Answering the Question
If worldly pleasures are the wrong place to look for help, then where do we go? Pause and take a moment to go back and read James 5:13 at the start of this article. What is the Lord telling us? Could it be as simple as praying? Here is what Robert Jones shares about these verses:
In 5:13, James addresses two contrasting categories of human experience: times of trouble and times of happiness. He recognizes that in this fallen world we often face hardship and suffering. Alternatively, we also enjoy happy times - days when life goes well, and we experience God's goodness in abundant ways. In these two categories we find all life's experiences, and each of them in turn can so easily be the occasion of spiritual upset.
What should we do, both when things go well and when they go badly? The Apostle's answer is amazingly consistent and remarkably simple: go to God! When you face trouble, go to God in prayer, humbly pleading for His help and petitioning Him for relief. When you feel happy, you should go to God as well, but this time singing songs of praise. James's main point? Whatever our situation, whatever our emotional state, we should go to God (1).
I love that! Whatever happens in your marriage or life today, go to God! Why? Because He loves you and cares for you! He knows best how to help you because He created you.
There are many other places in the Bible where we hear that same message. Here are three:
Our help is in the Name of the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. Psalm 124:8
For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the One who helps you.” Isaiah 41:13
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my Helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:5-6
Final Question to Ponder
So if you and I agree with what’s been shared so far, then the logical next step is asking ourselves the question: Am I going to God in the hard times and the joyful times in my marriage? If I am honest as I write this, my answer would be “sometimes”. And as I ponder my answer, I wonder “Why only sometimes?” If you answer is like mine, then let’s learn to rely on Him as our Source of help. And let’s sing songs of praise to Him for the joyful times He brings in our marriages!
Lord, I confess that I am not turning consistently to You in both the joys and challenges of my marriage. Please forgive me, Lord. You are the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. You are my Helper – the One who holds my right hand. Help me, by Your Spirit that lives in me, to run to you more and more consistently in both the joys and challenges of my marriage. Thank You for being my only true Source of help! In the Name of Jesus!
1) After reading this article and figuring out if you are honestly going to God, share this with your spouse. Ask them to honestly share about how they see you responding to the joys and challenges of your marriage. End your time together praising God for the joys and asking for help with the challenges you are facing.
2) Share this article with a same gender friend. Ask him or her about the challenges and joys of marriage or life that they are facing. Take some time to share a few of the joys and challenges you are facing. End your time praying for one another and maybe even agreeing to continue doing so in the days and weeks ahead.
Written by Glen Solberg, Abiding Marriage 2022. All Rights Reserved. Please email us at info@AbidingMarriage.org with any comments or questions.
Source: (1): Anger: Calming Your Heart – Devotion Day 2. Author Robert D. Jones
Photo by Robin Higgins on Pixabay