By Jennifer Waddle, Crosswalk.com
Marriage Was Made to Endure
By: Jennifer Waddle
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:7)
Marriage was made to endure the most difficult of times, the easiest of times, and the million in-between times. I say this with utmost care, to those who are finding it difficult to endure. I’m not talking about abusive or insurmountable situations. I’m talking about the real-life stuff of committed couples who might want to give up, but have every chance of enduring—if only they will lace up their shoes for the long haul.
It’s actually a bit comical that I write about lacing up shoes, as if for a marathon. I’m very much an indoors kind of girl, favoring a fuzzy blanket and a cup of coffee over any kind of marathon-like activity. The one time I joined a running club with my oldest son, the whistle blew and he took off with his long legs, leaving me at the back of the pack. While I finished the 3 miles, I only went back a couple more times before giving up completely.
Marriage can be just like that. We “join the club” the moment we finish our vows and step into the rest of our lives together. But, before long, one of us runs ahead, leaving the other in the dust, feeling left out and forgotten. We keep showing up day after day, but the chasm between us grows larger and larger until we feel like we aren’t even running on the same team anymore.
How are we supposed to endure together when “together” doesn’t seem to exist?
If you are struggling with endurance in your marriage, and seriously wondering if it’s worth it to keep going, be encouraged today. You may not feel very loving toward your spouse, but with God’s great love, you can bear much more than you imagine. You can believe, even when there’s very little to believe in. You can hope for a bright future, even when today is awfully dim. And, you can endure a bit longer until you catch up to one another and finish the race hand-in-hand.
Here are a few small steps you can take today, to show up again, with shoes laced ready to move forward.
1. Ask God for the proper perspective.
You may think your spouse is running ahead, or lagging behind, but what if it’s you? Ask God for a clear vision of where you both are and start from there. He will guide you when you ask! (James 1:5)
2. Ask your spouse where they see themselves.
This can be a scary question to ask, but a necessary one. Feel free to use the marathon analogy and ask your spouse where they see themselves in the race. Do they feel like they are still at the starting line? Do they feel lost in the middle? Set aside insecurities and ask the hard question. Then, be ready to do whatever it takes to come together again.
3. Ask for help.
If it seems like there is no hope of coming together in unity, reach out for help. There are “race officials” trained to bring couples together and deal with root issues. Set aside any pride or fear and get solid, Biblical counsel.
Ultimately, marriage was made to endure. Love, loss, hurt, hope…all the things real-life brings. Be encouraged in your marriage today. You may be at different mile-markers on the path, but there is hope for catching up to one another and enduring to the finish line.
Photo credit: ©SalemDesign
Jennifer Waddle is the author of several books, including Prayer WORRIER: Turning Every Worry into Powerful Prayer, and is a regular contributor for LifeWay, Crosswalk, Abide, and Christians Care International. Jennifer’s online ministry is EncouragementMama.com where you can find her books and sign up for her weekly post, Discouragement Doesn’t Win. She resides with her family near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains—her favorite place on earth.
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