In a Difficult Marriage?
This may seem ironic or even hypocritical: I am a divorcing woman, giving advice on how to stay married. After many years of work, my marriage has come to an end. But let me point out two things. One, I stayed married for quite a long time, and two, I believe 100 percent in marriage. I am pro-marriage and always will be.
So here are some things you can do if you find yourself in a marriage that feels more difficult than the norm. These are the things I tried over the years to hold on as long as I did.
I'm writing this to the people I have met over the years who have told me that they are in a hard marriage and don't know if they can keep going one more day. And trust me, I have met way too many people in that situation who are followers of Jesus married to followers of Jesus. Being a Christian does not exempt you from marital problems; in fact, the downside is, we tend to keep it to ourselves and suffer in silence much longer than the rest of the world.
Prayer. I have counted on prayer to get me through. I have begged God to work in my life and marriage more than I've prayed for anything else. I have sobbed my way through prayers on my bathroom floor. To be honest, though, I have also prayed more than I'd like to admit that God would release me. I wanted out of my marriage for as long as I can remember, and I was honest with God about it. But I also prayed for my spouse … on my knees … begging God to heal. I stayed through a steady stream of conversations and pleas and whispers to God.
The Holy Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit could have done the work in me that he's done so far. I have so, so far to go, but he burned raging out of me. I still yell sometimes, I'm sad to say. I still have anger issues. But the Holy Spirit worked in me to help me hold my tongue more than I have given myself credit for. I stayed through having the Spirit of God living in me keeping me there when I didn't want to be there.
Friends. My friendship circle has ebbed and flowed over the past 15 years, but one thing that every woman in my life who I trusted and confided in had in common was their fierce love for me and my family. I have never once had a friend tell me I should leave my husband. They have listened, they have prayed more than I'll ever know, they have supported, they have written notes, they have stood by me, they have pointed me back to Jesus, and they have kept me doing everything I could do to stay put. I stayed by having women around me who loved God and honored marriage helping me to stay.