Ooof, marriage can be hard.
In fact, while we run Expedition Marriage – a marriage ministry helping couples learn how to enjoy the journey of marriage – as marriage counselors, we certainly recognize that enjoying the journey isn’t always easy to do. BUT, if we didn’t believe it was possible, we wouldn’t be doing the work that we do with so many couples.
If you’re in a place of difficulty in your marriage, a place where you’re finding yourself exhausted from constantly working on it, confused, and having no idea what to do next, or just feeling like you’re completely unseen, then we’re glad you’re here reading this.
So yes, marriage can be hard, but it shouldn’t be that hard. If you’re finding that it is, we want to give you a couple of ideas of things to do when it is.
What to do when Marriage is Hard
Let’s start with the obvious, get help!
On average, couples will struggle in a miserable marriage for 6 years before they decide to reach out for help.
Don’t be this couple.
If you know your marriage is in trouble, the clearest answer is to seek counseling or mentoring.
That’s a great idea, right? But what if you’re one of those wives whose husband refuses to go to counseling? Well then, come back to this later and start here instead, Help! My Husband won’t go to Counseling.
Now, if you’re not in that deep and are feeling like you’re struggling but counseling isn’t necessarily needed, then here are some other things you want to do:
Address the issues. I know this sounds simple, but ignoring problems and sweeping them under the rug is a huge problem we see in marriages. There are so many relationships who have at least one people pleaser, conflict avoider, or sweep-it-under-the-rug kind of person in them. Those attitudes and behaviors will get you nowhere fast and they often will lead to a buildup of frustration, bitterness, and resentment.
Long story short, make sure your spouse knows what’s bothering you and that they know that you indeed are having a problem with your marriage.
Identify the difficulty level of the problem(s). There are two types of problems in marriage, solvable ones, and gridlock ones. Solvable problems are ones where you can have a discussion, do some brainstorming for solutions, and dig in together and work for resolution. Gridlock problems are the ones that likely need a third party’s involvement. Those are the ones that get repetitive and go nowhere and continuously resurface and remain something you keep getting, well, gridlocked in. If you want to attempt some new ways of resolving conflict, check out this 4 part podcast series on How to L.O.V.E. your way through Conflict.
When marriage is hard, it’s also a great time to control your focus. Whatever you focus on, you magnify. If you’re constantly thinking about the problems or the flaws you are seeing in your spouse, then those will be the things that increase and seem bigger in your life. Try to take some time to add some gratefulness to your day and begin to look for the things your spouse is doing right instead, then let them know. Take time to remember the good days you’ve had and maybe even bring some of those memories up for conversation.
Lastly, because marriage can be hard, it’s so important that you also make time for fun. The more you constantly work on your marriage, the more your marriage will feel like nothing but work. Go out for a date that’s casual and fun. Play together, laugh together, even if it’s over a movie sitting a few feet apart on the couch, just find a way to rebuild your friendship and add in fun.
Remember, marriage can be hard, but it shouldn’t always be hard. Please check out our website for more of our resources, articles, podcast, and our couple’s devotional. Help and hope are available, and you and your spouse deserve it.