The first storm in our marriage came just nine and a half months after we were married. I was in the bed with my husband sitting in the chair next to me holding our daughter who had just been born. It wasn't long until the nurses came to get her and she quickly was moved to the NICU. There we sat in a foreign hospital wondering what was happening to our daughter. Together we were facing a storm and were uncertain of so much. Had we been building a strong marriage foundation that would grow in the storms of marriage?
The storms that you could face in your marriage might be infertility, illness, financial struggles, the death of a parent or a child or numerous other things. These storms remind us that we live in a broken and sinful world. These are storms that you are facing together. If you facing unfaithfulness from a spouse or other things that are breaking the marriage covenant, you will need some additional help.
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Storms bring challenges to a marriage
Storms can come unexpectedly. It could just be another morning of going to the office and then your husband calls to say that he has lost his job. Finances were already tight and now with less income. A storm came. It was unexpected. We don't know when the storms will come and so we might not be ready.
We don't know how long storms will last. In the beginning, we didn't know what was happening with our daughter. Seventy-two hours after our daughter was born she had her first surgery. We thought everything would be fine and a week later when her stomach had repaired, the storm would be over and we could return to normal. When my daughter was 12 days old, we learned the cause for first surgery and the reason for needing heart surgery. Our daughter has Down syndrome.
Storms can be life-changing. Some storms never disappear. We might learn how to live with them and they might be as stormy. Sometimes it is easy to go through something because we know it will be over soon but other times it might be with us the rest of our lives. We need to learn to be defined by God and not the storm. Allow God to grow our marriage through the storms that go on for years.
We each have different ways of responding to stress, grief, and the loss that we are facing. Working with your spouse to love, understand, and care for each other is important. Learn to be patient with your spouse. Together we can grow during the storms that face our marriage.
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
During the storms facing your marriage, remember
Remember God's truths. Grow deeper in knowing God during the storm. Trees with deep roots are able to tap resources and nutrients that help them to survive during drought. So together remember God's truths and grow deeper in them. The truths could vary based on the storm. Post the verse that reminds you of the truth on your wall so that you can be reminded. My comfort during the storm of our daughter's birth and surgeries was that God is sovereign. This was not a surprise to God. He did not forget that we were missionaries living in Asia. God is sovereign. Be firmly rooted in God's truth.
“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:6-7 NIV
Remember your vows. Together on your wedding day, you promised to “have and hold for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health.” On that day you might not have thought of all that would come along and test those vows. During the storm commit to sticking together. Commit to each other that your marriage will grow stronger through the storm.
Remember eternity. Our focus needs to be on eternity. It is there that we will be in the presence of God and all our tears will be wiped away. Some of the storms or heartache will never go away until eternity. Look forward to eternity knowing that there God will comfort and we will be free from the storms.
To Grow stronger during the storms facing your marriage
PRAY! Prayer should be our first response. Praying together and praying alone. Prayer will draw us closer to God and as we draw closer to God we will be drawn together.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 NIV
“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles.” Psalm 34:17 NIV
Worship God. As you remember God's truths and his character, worship him. Praise him for how he has provided, protected you in the storm thus far. Give him praise and glory in the storm. Through our storms, we can know God more and in new ways.
Talk to others. One way that trees survive a storm is to be surrounded by other trees. The other trees keep them firmly planted as they don't have much room to be blown around. Surround yourself with people that will encourage and help. I clearly remember the night sitting in a small examing room off the NICU and calling my mentor. It was late at night and we had been told that our daughter would not live through the night. She had complications from the heart catheterization. That night our pastor, my mentor and her husband, and my husband sat in our living room praying and committing our daughter into God's hands. I am thankful for people that we could talk with. It could be a trained counselor but just another godly person who will listen and point you to the truth. Find others that will talk with you.
Be willing to make sacrifices for your spouse. Each of us manages emotions, stress, and loss differently. We need to be willing to make sacrifices during these times. My husband thinks by talking out loud. I prefer to quietly ponder. I need to allow him to talk out loud and process. It might be pausing from discussing the problem for a meal together. Put the other person and their needs first.We can weather any storm in our marriage or in life if we turned to God for direction.Click To Tweet
Supporting those facing storms in their marriage
You can support those around you even if you are single. What you do might depend on your relationship and how much the others invite you into their lives.
Pray for them and with them. Let your friends know you are praying for them. I had a friend text me the prayer that she was praying for me as I faced a storm. Ask for specific requests or pray as God leads you.
Do practical things. Bring meals, give money for meals out or parking at the hospital. Help with childcare, or cleaning the house. A gift card for coffee might be small but think if numerous friends gave gift cards. Serve them in ways that will be helpful.
Listen. Just listen. People don't need to hear about the essential oil that will help them or the vitamins that will cure it all. It might be tempting to share what you would do or how you have handled that similar situation. Ask them if they would like to hear that. Respect their wishes. Listen and ask questions.
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You can grow stronger through the storms in a marriage
That first storm was at just 9.5 months of marriage but I see ways that God used that to help us build a strong marriage that would prepare us for other storms that would come. My daughter's birthday is always a time of reflection. This year I shared Lessons Learned about God from 14 years of Special Needs Parenting. That did bring us closer together. We continue to face storms — miscarriage, infertility, adoption replacement, and numerous other big and small storms. I can say that by trusting God in the storms of life, He has been good and we have grown.
Are you currently facing a storm in your marriage? Work on growing stronger in your marriage by doing A Little God Time for Couples – 365 daily devotions to help strengthen and grow your marriage.
Do you have friends that are facing a storm in their marriage? Encourage and help them.
Maybe you are not facing a storm today, but know that they will come. Deep roots in your marriage will give strength for when the storms come.
Grow in the storms of marriage. Grow closer to one another and closer to God.