Inside: 3 ways to make your marriage stronger, even when facing life’s toughest challenges.
Even in the relatively few years that my husband and I have been married, we’ve faced some pretty daunting things. For the privacy of our family, I won’t go into detail, but to say there have been tough moments is putting it nicely.
For a while I thought that maybe it was just us. Maybe we were unlucky.
When we’re in the midst of a challenging season of life, we can become wrapped up in our own problems. We don’t see that those around us have problems of their own.
But I can guarantee you that everyone you know is going through or has been through some really, really tough stuff. Life isn’t fair, and it doesn’t play favorites. We’re all going to get our turn in the ring.
So I know that at this very moment, there are probably a lot of you that are in the thick of it too. You’re up against a wall, and it’s affecting every aspect of your life, including your marriage.
How to Make Your Marriage Stronger when Life Brings You Pain
When we’re struggling with outside troubles, it can cause strain inside our homes. Maybe you take out your fear and frustration on your husband, whether you mean to or not. Or maybe you feel like he isn’t supporting you in this battle, or isn’t pulling his weight. You silently resent him.
I’ve been right there with you.
The problem is, when we allow outside problems to come between our marriage, we have no more safe haven. We are at war when we’re out in the world and when we’re at home. And no one can live like that.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
We can be in the middle of a hard time in our life, and still have a happy home and a strong marriage. In fact, struggle and heartache from the outside world can actually make your marriage stronger.
Three Ways to Make Your Marriage Stronger in the Face of Tough Times
One key realization changed everything for me, though it took a few years for me to fully get there.
So what was it?
I finally figured out that I needed to be more understanding of my husband. I needed to pay more attention to what he was going through and how he handled things, instead of being so focused on myself and expecting him to just read my mind.
I mean, if I didn’t take the time to understand him, how on earth could I expect him to understand me?
For me there were three main “steps” to better understanding my husband and how to better handle life’s toughest moments together.
Sounds simple, but in practice it may take a little time to work through the steps. But I promise you, it will be worth it if you try.
1. Be Aware that He Processes Pain Differently
He might not show it, but your husband feels pain. He likely processes it differently though.
Starting from the earliest days of childhood, our society tells men and boys that they need to “man up” in the face of adversity. Crying is a sign of weakness, and over time that reflex is shut down.
I don’t know about your husband, but I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen him cry in the decade that I’ve known him!
At first it bothered me — I thought that it meant my husband didn’t care as much as I did. I mean, if he really cared that much, how would he be able to not cry??
However, after years of being around him all day every day, I know my husband feels pain. I know when he feels it. And now I understand that he shows it differently.
This allows me to give him the comfort (or space) he needs at that time, but it also helps me to know that my husband is right there with me hurting too. I know that we are in it together and I’m not going through something alone (more on that later).
2. Don’t Punish Him for YOUR Pain
Whether or not your husband was even partially responsible for the pain that you’re feeling or the situation that you are going through as a couple, punishing him will only make it worse.
Maybe your husband made a poor choice that led to consequences affecting the both of you. It can be easy to feel like it is “his fault” and hold that over his head. But does that really make you feel better or solve anything?
Perhaps your husband did nothing wrong at all, and the two of you are going through a challenge simply because life craps on us all at times. It can be easy to take out your anger on your husband because “it’s his job” to listen and make you feel better.
True, our vows say that we stick together through better or worse, but that doesn’t mean either one of us deserves to be a punching bag.
Read this next: The One Word that can Destroy Your Marriage
3. Be Grateful That You’re in it Together
Through all the trials my husband and I face, I choose an attitude of gratitude (catchy right?) Essentially, I make a choice to intentionally acknowledge and be thankful that at least there is an “us.” Because the really awful things in life can be so much harder to face on your own.
Your husband might not handle challenges the same way you do, but that can actually be a benefit.
When I feel weak, my husband is my rock. His stoic nature makes me feel safe and helps to build up my own strength.
Conversely, when my husband doubts himself, I am there to remind him of his strength, and show him that it makes me strong through him.
You each have a piece of what the other is missing, and together you have the full package to tackle any obstacle.
Remember to Stay the Course
While we might be going through some incredibly challenging things, I can honestly say that I feel like our marriage is stronger than ever. I would even go so far as to say that these challenges, or rather the way we’ve handled them together, have made our marriage stronger.
Remember that just like life is a journey, with bumps and hills and valleys, so is a marriage.
Be forgiving of the other’s shortcomings,
Be understanding of your differences,
and most importantly, stay the course.
If you stick together, you will make it to the other side. And you will make your marriage stronger in the process.
Show your husband you love him…every single day
Note: this post contains ad links to products I love and think you might love too; read our disclosure policy here.
Even though I write for a living, I’m not always the best with words “in real life” and telling my husband just how much he means to me. I assume he knows, but we ALL need to hear it sometimes!
With today’s fast paced lifestyle, it seems like we can get SO much more done but seem to have LESS time to do anything, especially finding the time for romance! That’s why I adore this collection of 365 Love Texts from the Dating Divas!
Let’s be real, we’re on our phones so much throughout the day. Instead of scrolling through your newsfeed, take a minute to strengthen your marriage. You’d be surprised how much guys actually like sappy love notes 😉
With 365 ALREADY DONE-FOR-YOU love text messages, you’ll have your hands on exactly what it’s going to take to bring the spark back into your marriage without taking your hands off your phone!
Genius?! I thought so, too. Get your copy today!
PS – Be sure to grab this FREE Workbook: 10 Days to Divorce-Proof Your Marriage!