Finding Peace in a Hurt Filled Marriage



I can't tell you how amazed I am by how many new "likes" I have received on our A Godly Marriage facebook fanpage in the past 2 months. I am amazed, astounded really. But I am even more astounded by the web traffic received to our webpage, and the private messages and emails I receive daily from hurting spouses in broken marriages. This nation (and this world)  is full of broken marriages, and it hurts my heart so much. I can only imagine how much it hurts our Father's heart if it hurts my heart this much. 

Just this past week I've received several messages about wives hurting in their marriage -- be it from situations in the past that they can't let go, family situations, verbal and emotional abuse, and even cases of physical abuse.

Let me say this to all of you right now. If you are in a physically abusive relationship, please seek help immediately. Especially if there are children living in your household. I am not a professional counselor, nor am I experienced enough to deal with situations such as physical abuse. Please please please seek wise and Godly counsel from your Pastor or a trusted Christian friend or counselor. Please get out of the situation until you know it is safe to return. No one deserves to be abused, not one bit. No matter what the issue or situation might be in your marriage, you do not deserve to be beaten because of it.

With that said, I really want to blog about hurting marriages today (excluding physical abuse) and how to find peace and renewal of strength in the midst of your pain. I think it is needed right now, and something I've been thinking about blogging for a long time, I just never saw the right moment or opportunity in which to do so -- but I think now is a good time!

When my husband and I first got married, we had a host of things against us, and it took a toll on our first few years of marriage. In fact, up until a few years ago, I didn't feel 100% at peace with our marriage. We were not in a physically, emotionally or verbally abusive relationship (contrary to what some thought), but we had our struggles just like everyone else. We said things we didn't mean and did things out of anger and bitterness, pride as well. We were both young and hard headed, but we made it. Through our faith in Christ and our new growth in Him, we made it through, and I could not ask for a better marriage right here in this moment. It gets better and better every single year. With that said, we did hurt each other. And there were many nights I didn't have peace, something I desperately needed being a new young wife. I didn't have an amazing example of love in my life -- a married couple that I could learn from. Sure, there were some great couples in our lives, but none that indefinitely stood out as a Godly example.

I knew that I had to find peace eventually, otherwise, this wasn't going to work. I would drive myself crazy with my over active mind, holding grudges or planning revenge. This isn't what a marriage should be, and I knew it. It wasn't just my husbands fault, it was mine as well.

Here are some of the steps I took and scriptures I read on a continual basis to help me get through those tough times, and eventually, lead us to a renewed strength and connection in our marriage. Keep in mind, this was a two way deal, however, it was something that I, myself, had to begin. There is always one spouse that has to take that first step in making changes.

PRAYER LIFE & READING THE WORD: I truly believe that this journey in early marriage taught me how to pray and read God's word more often. Waking up in the morning and reading God's word, even if you don't remember it through out the day, changes a persons heart. It radiates through your soul -- it's good for the soul. I've always heard "the soul know's how to heal itself" and I truly believe, through Christ, that is absolutely true.

I knew that my last resort was prayer and a greater faith in God -- though it should have been my first option. If I wanted my husband to change, I knew I couldn't change his heart, but God could. My husbands heart had been hurt over time, and it showed in our marriage. He hadn't been hurt by me, but by others in our lives. There were many nights that I literally cried out to God, tears streaming down my face. Some nights I'd receive peace from Him, if I allowed it. Other nights I ended up more angry than I began, feeling as though prayer was useless and pointless, that it didn't really work. But let me tell you, it does. God hears our cries, He knows our hearts. And we may not see results over night -- I didn't, it took a couple of years -- but He will redeem, He will renew, and He will change hearts. But first, I had to remember this verse:
"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV
Give thanks in all circumstances, seriously? This was so hard for me. But everyday when I awoke, I would wake up and thank God for that day and the continuous changes that He was making in my marriage, even if I didn't see them immediately. The biggest part was to pray continually. Even if you don't see those results right away. God never gives up on us, so we should never give up on Him....and we should never give up on our spouses. I also had to pray that God would cleanse my own heart of any motivation or alternative thoughts that I might have in my head and heart against my husband. I wanted God to be in control of my prayer life, no emotions involved.

REACT IN LOVE: This is hard. Very hard. Especially when you feel unloved or angry. But I noticed, much more often, when I responded lovingly or without a harsh attitude toward my husband (even if he was harsh), it defused the situation. Or at times, he would just give up in trying to be "right". When I let go of my pain and grudges and reacted in love, the way a spouse should react, I affected him in a positive way. When I gave up my right to be 'right', peace came....not only for myself, but for my husband as well.

"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs 15:1 NIV
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs." 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 NIV
Love is patient, kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not self seeking and it is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs

SET BOUNDARIES: We always hear the verses about wives submitting to their husbands and husbands loving their wives, and those are true, 100% true and should be followed. However, even in a Christian marriage, our spouses can lose direction and ask us to do things that are not in line with the word of God. The Bible says to be submissive, it does not say you should be a door mat. It says you should honor your husband, not do his every harsh command, especially if it is not in line with God's word. Some of these boundaries might mean saying no to your spouses decisions or wants, such as overly drinking, worldly partying, sexual fantasies (such as fantasies involving more than just you),  or not "allowing" you to go anywhere or do anything (in other words, you are confined to your home and work, if you work). However, set these boundaries with spiritual humility and a quiet spirit.
"Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight." 1 Peter 3:1-4 NIV
Peter tells us that we should submit to our husbands, so that if any of them do not believe in the word of God, that they may be won over without words, but by the behavior of us, their wives. Then will they see the purity and reverence of our lives, and Christ with in us. It also commands us to have a gentle and quiet spirit in everything that we do. All too often we hear on media and in movies that women should be independent and strong, but our spirits weren't made to be that way. Strong, yes, but not in the way the world portrays us now days. It's easy to see how society has doomed marriages before they even begin.

Husbands, can you see what this scripture is saying to you? Your wife is to be treasured -- treasured as a beautiful gentle jewel that God has placed in your life. Her spirit was created for gentleness, and that means that you should treat her just as gently as she should treat you.

FOCUS ON YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD, NOT YOUR SPOUSES: It's easy for us to get caught up in how "unholy" our spouse might be acting, when in all reality, we should be concentrating on growing our own relationship with God, not concentrating on growing our spouses relationship with Him. Yes, our spouses relationship with God is a priority, but it is not our decision, it is their own personal decision. When you become closer to God, you begin to radiate His love and peace. Peace will dwell with in you -- it will cause those tough times to not be so tough, and they won't last as long. You'll train your heart to find peace in our Savior, not in the emotions of man. Eventually, your spouse will begin to see the positive changes, and will be influenced by you. You can read more on this in one of the blogs I wrote titled, How to Make Your Spouse Change. Before you go there, however, please continue to read this blog first :)

SEEK WISE COUNSEL: We never got to the point where we needed to seek marriage counseling or wise counsel from a Pastor. We did, of course, have good friends who would listen (well, mainly to me!). However, we did not go to them with our problems or arguments. We did not go into detail about our marriage. They were simply there to listen to our hurt and try to ease the pain. We would never ever put down one another to our friends or family members, and we never involved our family members....period. Family members can be biased and take sides. If you feel the need to speak with someone, find a Godly Christian friend or neutral family member (an aunt, cousin, non-immediate family member), or your Pastor/an elder in the church. Sometimes it helps to just let it all out and move on. They may be able to give you peace and insight on things that you hadn't thought of before, and even advice that I haven't given you here in this blog. There are so many people in this world who have gone through similar things as us and can help us through their experiences and Godly training. However, I must reiterate, never ever put down or belittle your spouse to anyone, not even your best of friends. And especially not on social media. I firmly believe that social media has doomed marriages as well!

CHOOSE HAPPINESS: Choose happiness, what does that mean? Happiness is a feeling, an emotion. It isn't something that just comes, contrary to what you may think. What might make you happy might not make Sandy down the road equally as happy. We choose what makes us happy and what makes us sad -- what makes us angry and what makes us frustrated. When we become more conscious of our emotions and thoughts, our feelings, we are better able to control them. This goes along with reacting in love. We also choose to love. I may love my husband more than I love my mother, or my child more than I love my sister. However, I have chosen to feel that way (and rightfully so). Love is an emotion, but it's an emotion that we choose. My mother probably doesn't love her cousin more than she loves her grandchildren, as my husband doesn't love our dog more than he loves me (well, most of the time). However, someone else might love our dog more than they love me! We choose who, what, when, and how we love someone. However, Christ commands us to love everyone!
"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins." 1 Peter 4:8 NIV
"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." 1 John 4:7-8 NIV
It is unreal how many scriptures there are through out the Bible about loving one another, not just your husband, your wife, your children, your family, your friends, your church family -- but everyone. The more you love unconditionally, the happier you will be ;)

ALLOW GOD TO WORK IN YOU: Allow God to give you peace. Allow yourself to cry, to yell, and throw yourself on the floor in front of God. But allow Him to pick you back up and dust you off. Allow Him to show you the things that you need to change in yourself. Allow Him to love on you and show you His love. Allow Him to cleanse your heart and mind from the pain. Allow yourself to change and be molded into the person God wants you to be, the person that scripture commands you to be, not the person your spouse wants you to be or the person you think you should be. Go to the scriptures and make sure that your lifestyle lines up with the word of God, if not, change. Make sure you give yourself alone time with God everyday -- real alone time, none of this 5 minute stuff.

FORGIVENESS: You need to forgive your spouse, over and over again. Every single day is a new day. Forgive them. Don't hold grudges. Don't bring up the past. Wake up every morning and remind yourself that this day is new, and that yesterday's hurt and anger must stay there. Don't allow your yesterday to ruin your today.
"'In your anger do not sin': Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold." Ephesians 4:26-67 NIV
And don't go to bed angry, it only gives the devil a foothold to play in your mind that evening and continue the bitterness through out the new day that God has blessed you with.

Remember, love does not keep a book of wrongs. Christ doesn't remember your sins when you repent, why do you remember your spouses wrongs towards you? They are useless and they only hurt you more. They chain you to the previous day and do not allow you to grow and move on. You also need to forgive yourself during this journey. You're going to mess up, you're going to snap at them even when you don't want to. In those moments, forgive yourself, pick yourself back up, and move on.

APOLOGIZE: It takes a lot of courage to apologize to someone, especially to your spouse. However, apologizing goes along with forgiveness. Believe it or not, you do wrong just as much as your spouse does. And even if you feel like it is all your spouses fault in a particular situation on a particular day, apologize for how you respond. Apologize for how you react. Even if it is several hours later. Collect your emotions, harness them, pray, ask for forgiveness, and then apologize. You will be amazed with the reaction. They will either react harshly out of hurt and anger, in which case you move on and do not respond. Or they will react in love and feel loved -- they may even apologize for their own actions. In that moment, healing begins. You'll have to make apologies through out your entire marriage, it is a must. So you better get used to making them now, not 10 years from now when so much hurt and pain has been bottled up.

In everything, never allow yourself to lose sight of Christ. Many marriages fail because we try to do these things on our own in our own strength. But I'm sorry to tell you this, it is just not possible without God. We must involve Christ and make Him the center of our marriage if we want it to work properly.

If you're dealing with hurt in your marriage from a sin that your spouse has committed, such as adultery, pornography, alcohol or other addictions, it is certainly much harder than regular every day struggles. However, God offers peace to you as well, through these very same steps. If your spouse continues in these sins, show them your heart. Share your hearts cry with them in humility and with a Christ like attitude. They may reject you, they may accept you. But you've done your part. If it eventually gets to the point where you cannot handle it any longer and your spouse continues to live in sin, seek counsel from your Pastor or a Godly marriage counselor. Seeking marriage counseling is not a sign of weakness, God has blessed us with people like spirit filled marriage counselors so that they can help you during these rough times.

Remember that God brought you and your spouse together for a reason, and marriage is sacred in His sight. Some of us may have to work at our marriages more than others, however, know that you have an incredible Father cheering for you, and what God brings together, no man can separate. He has a plan for your life, for your marriage. Don't give up, you can do this. You have more strength inside of you than you realize. You are a child of the most high God, a living Savior, and He will not fail you. Seek His face and heart in every situation. And in those moments when you feel like you can't go on, allow Him to renew your strength. Allow Him to teach you His ways and His heart. It's in our weakest moments that we are strong.
"Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 NIV

3 comments

  1. Excellent article, I'm sure many hearts will be helped. May we all walk each day with the powerful reassurance that whatever we face, His grace is more than enough. Blessings to you.

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  2. Wow... I am amazed by God's providence to lead me to read this today. Everything spoke directly to my heart and current situation in our marriage. I can't thank you enough for sharing! What wonderful wisdom and encouragement for this time of need.. Thank you!

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