Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Tips for a Struggling Marriage

I am a part of an awesome group of ladies who are striving to be more godly wives, and I recently asked them to share tips/advice for a wife who was in a struggling marriage. There was so much wisdom in the responses, I wanted to share them here.

So maybe this is you. Maybe you are in a tough spot in your marriage. Or maybe you are going to share this with a friend to encourage her. Either way, let's just pretend we're all sitting around my living room drinking some coffee (or herbal tea) & go through some of this together. It's good stuff, and if you have anything you'd like to add, shoot me an email or comment and I'll get it added.

My response:
Prayer! Prayer changes things. Mostly, praying for someone else fervently changes YOUR heart towards them! It’s really hard to stay mad at someone when you are praying for them. Pray for the Lord to give you eyes and a heart that sees your spouse as Christ sees him!

Consider fasting. I love Jentezen Franklin’s book Fasting. It taught me allllll about it. 

Find a group of godly women (or even just one) who aren’t in your family that will speak truth to you, never speak negatively about your spouse, will encourage you to fight for your marriage, and will agree to stand with you in prayer...keeping your arms up for you when you feel weary.

Write down a list of the things you fell in love with about your spouse originally and maybe write them a note letting them know those things.

Focus on what you can control and ask the Lord to reveal any areas where you need to change. It is so exhausting and frustrating trying to change your spouse… Because we don’t have the ability to do that, and we cannot control their actions, attitudes, words, or reactions. Only our own. But the good news… We are only responsible for our own. That means when we stand before the Lord, we need to make sure that we have given everything to be as godly as possible in every area.

That is not always easy when there are hurts. This is such an important time to diligently seek the Lord and allow him to heal your heart, and help you continually choose forgiveness… Even if that’s multiple times a day. He can do that through you.

Try to out serve your spouse. You’re never more like Jesus than when you are serving. (This also means coming together sexually... which sometimes we don’t feel “in the mood” if our emotional needs are not met, but I have never once regretted doing it even if I didn’t necessarily “feel like it.”)

Look up scriptures that encourage us during this time… Read about godly women in the word like first Peter 3 (winning him without a word) Titus two, Proverbs 31… Memorize them if you can!

Be the most loving, joyful person you know! The Holy Spirit will strengthen you and embolden you to do that, if you allow him to be the one to meet your needs and don’t place that expectation on your husband. Remember, your husband is going to be the one standing before the Lord one day for how he treated you and how he lead your family spiritually. We should never nag them into loving us like Christ loved the church… But instead just focus on our own contribution to the marriage. Have your own personal relationship with Jesus that is so appealing, it causes your husband to want to see Jesus more.

Choose to love your spouse with the true biblical meaning of love, even if you were in a season of not necessarily liking them very much. There’s a really big difference between those two.

Never ever ever use the “d” word. Don’t give the enemy a footstool.

I am all about some good Christian counseling!

Don’t trust your feelings. They are not always true. Take every thought captive and measure everything against the word of God… Not worldly standards. Ask the Lord to reveal these things to you. James 1:5

This is a really important time to fill your mind with good stuff. Podcasts, books, the Bible… Things that are FOR your marriage! That point you back to the Gospel.

And most importantly, remember who the real enemy is. It is not your spouse. There’s a very real enemy on the prowl… Spiritual warfare Trying to destroy the family unit and your marriage because it is so precious to God. Remember that, put on your fighting gloves, and fight the enemy for your marriage. God is for you. He is your helper, and he is victorious!!! 💜💜💜

Elizabeth said:
My greatest hurdle and yet one of the best pieces of wisdom I have been given (time and time again I receive it!), is to never let your feelings or how your spouse is treating you/handling a situation determine how you treat them or respond.

Sounds basic and easy, especially if you are a believer, right? Wrong. At least for me!

But I find when I love my spouse the way I am called to, to the best of my ability, the way I want to be loved, and NOT in response to whatever he is doing at the moment, my marriage is stronger and a greater delight. 

Laura said:
Endurance and forbearance. Just as my own personal sanctification typically does not occur overnight, neither does my husband’s. I am called to walk alongside him as his helpmate and endure the years and our shortcomings together. Prayer is the game changer here and in most cases the Lord changes my attitude toward my husband long before He changes my husband’s actions.

Knowing each other’s love language. Effort does not always equal results, and I think this can be very true in our attempts to show each other love. We all operate best when our “love tanks” are full, and The Lord has designed us all uniquely to receive love in different ways. (Which btw, you’ll find it rare for a husband and wife to share the same top love language). This knowledge equips us to put forth INTENTIONAL effort to show them love in the way their heart and soul crave it most! Knowing how to pour into each other efficiently and effectively is so beneficial.

And most recently, I had a friend challenge me to speak to my husband as if he is already 100% everything I hope and desire for him to be. I struggle with a critical tongue so it’s HARD, but showing him this level of respect has caused him to “rise to the occasion” more times than not in areas that I hadn’t expected.

Julie said:
I suggest praying that you and your spouse will be like-minded and in agreement. For those not yet married, start praying for this now. It’s made for a peaceful marriage.

Chandra said:
1 Corinthians 16:14. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Ephesians 4:2-3: “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the b
ond of peace."

Two of my favorite verses. A great deal of wisdom here. I have had to learn over the years to really give my own character flaws and the flaws of my spouse, ( what I perceive as flaws 😉) to the Lord in prayers. I can be a nitpicker and fuss at my husband about things or I can choose to focus on all the amazing reasons I love him. We really do have a choice on how we handle events in our marriage.
One thing I love to do is pray over my marriage. I pray gratitude and safety , love and peace over him and our marriage. I can get very specific in my prayers. And if I’m irritated or mad with him, I always feel better and centered after prayers. I can approach the situation with fresh eyes and God in my words and actions.
And the D word never comes out of my lips. I treat my marriage as a sacred covenant to God, not a modern transaction that can be easily thrown away.
I’ve been married twice, first husband passed away, second marriage incredibly strong. Marriage is a gift from God I never want to think of nonchalantly.

Ashley said:
I think a struggling marriage is much like someone who’s heart hasn’t been yet shown Jesus. A partner may not recognize their sin or behavior, but when it is revealed to them real change can happen. My marriage struggled for years, constant misunderstanding and unlove, but once my husband recognized that he was unconsciously treating me like the enemy his whole demeanor changed. His revelation caused me to search myself more (instead of looking at his shortcomings), and see what I could do to improve my attitude and heart towards him. It has been a beautiful picture of redemption that a year ago I would not have thought possible.
Emily said:
Danielle Butler your post for being a Godly Wife Can you maybe link that - I know you’ve shared it before. I printed it out and find very valuable marriage advice in it! 💗

Here is the link to it: Godly Wife (And thank you, Emily! So glad that allowed our paths to cross many years ago!)
April said:
Grace. Generally speaking the man you married doesn't wakeup with the intent to cause your heart pain. That typically is not his end goal (I'm not speaking to domestic abuse situations here...I'm aware that is a whole other topic and issue). Just like we don't wake up with intent to hurt our husbands. God is key, but open communication is also top priority. Don't just offer corrective critical feedback and then walk away, you also have to receive it.
And then more grace, upon grace upon grace.

London said:
Advice I was given right before I got married, don’t assume you know your husbands mind. We as women have the ability to create scenarios and ideas our spouses have and they’re probably wrong. For example, “I know what you really mean when you say that!”

Grace upon grace upon grace.

Love God more than you hate/ are angry at your spouse.

Emily said:
This may or may not help someone and Danielle Butler you may be able to tie scripture to it ....

But years ago we won a trip to orange beach and went to a marriage devotion lead by Jonathan and Danielle. We walked in blind, new to a relationship with 
god but curious. That hour, completely changed our marriage.

This is probably not exactly what what said but what I got ....
Women need conversation. Men need sex.
Both speak different languages and god made us differently. Neither is right. Just different.

Since then I have made a serious effort in the bedroom. When he is not getting the bedroom attention he wants, it’s usually because he is not meeting my emotions needs. Once I communicate that, we meet back in the middle to met each other’s needs.

Sex is not everything in a marriage but it is a huge part to a healthy relationship.

Not sure if this was WAY off the path but wanted to share

Mandi said:
Pray over him. Lay hands on him while he sleeps. Pray over him as you fold his clothes. Pray for yourself, that the Lord will change you and your responses.
Respect him. Only say things to and about him that build him up. You can confide in someone yo
u trust (an older mentor type) if you are struggling with something he does, but do not use his shortcomings as a punchline or a gripe session with girlfriends. Also, you chose him... what you say to and about him says volumes about you. You want to speak life to him. The world tears him down enough.
Tell him the things you admire about him. Write it in a note. Text him something sweet (or sexy).
Look for ways he serves you and thank him. Then, look for ways you can serve him. I mean.... an errand so he doesn't have to, fixing the coffeepot for the next day, buy his favorite treat and tuck some into his lunchbox... there are countless possibilities.
Read God's Word daily. Scour it for YOUR job as a wife. You cannot control him and his reactions, but you can control yours. Use the Bible as your handbook for your life because that is what it is.

Caroline said:
1 Peter 4:8
Romans 5:8
This is from a marriage sermon by Paul Washer and they aren’t exact quote so sorry about that but it’s the same idea he was conveying.

“Marriage is not 50/50. We are called to give 100% even if the other person is giving 0. “ That’s where Romans 5:8 comes into play. While we were YET sinners, Christ died for us. He didn’t wait for us to get our act together to show the ultimate act of love.
The point of marriage is to sanctify us into the image of Christ and to put the Gospel on display to the world, not just our own happiness. I know that in my heart, but it still sucks when you’re in the midst of the struggle. We struggled for a long time and it hurt even though I knew I was doing the right thing sticking it out. So I found a lot of comfort in psalm 34:18 “The Lord is near to the broken hearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”

Tiffany said:
One thing that has been so powerful for me is to ALWAYS ASSUME GOOD INTENTIONS! He is not out to cause you pain or upset you (in most situations) so when we assume his intentions are always good, it keeps our hearts in the right place. Prayer is the number one game changer in any situation. Pray specifically for him and parts of your relationship you hope to be better. Pray that you can see him the way God does and always give grace. Stop and pray at times when you feel like nagging or saying anything that isn’t going to build him up. At times when he has wronged you in some way, PRAY, rather than fighting. It will soften his heart and mean so much more when he realizes you offered grace instead of calling him out on his wrong behavior.
Men NEED sex. You are the only one who can fulfill his need for intimacy. Think of it as an honor to be able to give him what he needs most.
I’m certainly praying for all of our marriages ❤️


Hope you found that as encouraging, challenging, and beneficial as I did! Praying the Lord BLESSES your marriage!

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