How good do you love during the bad in your marriage? Plus 12 tips for dealing with rough spots…

It is during the bad in a marriage that we discover how good we really are at loving.

When our spouse disappoints or hurts us do we choose to rise above it? Making withdrawals during that moment of need from our love account where deposit after deposit of good has been made? Choosing to love and forgive them anyway as we love ourselves, and God above all?

Or do we revert to a self-protective style of withdrawal, pulling back our love that flows easily when the sailing is smooth?

Do we abandon self-control in a moment of self-centeredness, words whipping like lashes as an inner tempest spills out and demands its rights?

Do we passively punish and reject our beloved, saying words intended to hurt and distance ourselves from the one who is us, for when two are joined together by God, do they not become one flesh?

The truth is that in our fallen world, fights happen. People disagree and disappoint each other. Just like we do with our Heavenly Father.

Husbands and wives get angry sometimes and say stupid things, do stupid things, or equally harmful, employ the silent treatment.

Spouses can disregard in moments of discord the vows to love, honor and cherish, preferring to throw the marriage overboard into a stormy sea forgetting that Love’s beacon shines light on the way to safety.

Whenever any of these negative, unloving reactions are employed as a means of coping with our hurts, fears and frustrations, only sin wins. In the heat of the moment it may be wise to take a cool down, wrestle with God individually, and then come back together to resolve the issue. Just don’t let a cool down last all night and into the next day, giving satan just what he wants.

Letting sin win and love lose.

If couples do not learn to “fight” constructively, and just as vital learn to forgive and get over it quickly, making allowances for the others’ weaknesses {except in cases of extreme, dangerous or increasingly daily abuse}, then sin will cast a long shadow over the marriage and the destroyer of our souls and all things good will dance with doubt. And doubt, sowing black-hearted seeds of distrust, will erode the foundation of our union, bringing destruction.

Love conquered sin and death!

Yet Paul writes that the sin that so readily besets us will be with us all of our earthly lives, entangling and tripping us up when we may least expect it. We will have struggles this side of paradise no matter how good a relationship is.

At the end of the story, though, Love is victorious.

At the end of a day, love should prevail on the homefront, too. So never go to bed angry with each other.

Bad is part and parcel of any good relationship in the same way that bad is a part of our hearts no matter how godly we may be or think we are. And deception weaves a veil over truth and we can buy the lie that all is lost. But it is not.

We live in a hurting, hostile world where the enemy roams around constantly seeking to pick off the weakest of the herd. Yet our Great Shepherd with His mighty staff and rod stands at the ready, vigilantly correcting and comforting us, protecting and prodding us on to a deeper, more mature, more real love than ever before.

And love, like marriage, is hard!

But as husbands and wives who proclaim allegiance to the Almighty, there is a better way to love your spouse through the bad.

It is grace.

His grace, pure and powerful.

And in the moments when we fall from grace with God and each other, we must:

  • Repent. Humbly seek God and admit your bad. Take full responsibility for your wrongs without blaming your spouse. It always takes two to tango.
  • Seek and offer forgiveness to your spouse as soon as you can.
  • If your offer is rejected, go back to God with your cares. Wait and perhaps try a second time a little later. If they still reject your heartfelt asking for forgiveness, then that is a reflection of their own heart and how they choose to love their partner in that moment. Only they can work with God to resolve any deep-seated sinful brokenness. You cannot change your spouse so stop trying and let them be.
  • When at an impasse with your mate, trust God and let go. You can only work on and change yourself by God’s grace. Take your own wounded heart to the One who truly and unconditionally loves you — your bad and your good — and let Him fix you and your marriage. Come humbly to His throne of grace where you will find mercy for all.
  • Trust that a fight is not a dead end in the marriage, but merely a detour to the higher road of learning to love when it is difficult to do so. Fights between friends and married couples occur in life long relationships. That fact needs to be accepted, unless of course, there is daily friction that is mounting in violence or dangerous actions. Then seek immediate intervention.
  • Wait in faith, hope and trust in God alone, allowing your spouse to just be with his or her pain for awhile, asking God to restore peace and harmony, healing and growing both of your hearts.
  • While it is okay to dislike your spouse’s less than perfect behaviors, if you find yourself saying things like, “I hate her” or “I wish I never married him” then the problems you face in marriage may be best worked out with the help of a professional. Our problems can have long, sticky roots reaching back to childhood where we may have first encountered dysfunction and pain, yet nothing is impossible with God when both husband and wife are willing to open up and work through a situation. For a free Sheila Kimball Mentoring session to begin your healing journey, click here.
  • Remember that feelings can lie. They scream to us what isn’t true, especially when we are upset. They can falsely color our worlds bright or very dismal. They are not what is real, no matter how real they feel, the feigned “realness” sometimes being ridicule from the dark side. {Yes, feelings are from God and feelings such as being in love with your spouse or feeling happy over a new baby are wonderfully real and full of wonder and make life a grand adventure! But feelings can also arise from the ashes of what has died when we choose to be obedient to God’s truth. And no matter how hard, obedience can always be learned.}
  • Pray without ceasing, accepting that you, your spouse and your marriage are highly flawed, imperfect works in progress, getting better one day at a time. Yet this momentary marital discomfort is the perfect crucible designed by a perfect God to help you and your spouse perfect your ability to love each other and Him.
  • Read and memorize scriptures that strengthen marriage like 1 Corinthians 13 and Ephesians 4, and the one another scriptures in the New Testament.
  • Never give up and never give in. Stop believing satan’s lies. The tempter has a tendency to exaggerate situations that are not unresolvable, and diabolically dictates that truly abusive relationships should be tolerated.
  • And even if your spouse chooses to walk away, you keep looking up to Father. Keep clinging in daily dependence. Keep learning to love better, overcoming your own weaknesses .

For the truth is that love never fails…

Life and marriage can hurt sometimes. VERY badly! I know. I’ve been there. But God…and now my mentoring can help you on your journey.
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19 thoughts on “How good do you love during the bad in your marriage? Plus 12 tips for dealing with rough spots…

  1. Very true! You pointed it out well. No matter how good and bad things may seems in marriage. FIGHT for it and STAY! 🙂

    Visiting you from the Happy Wives Club Link Up.

    • Yes, Mai, marriage is for life. And we need to stay in it to win it through all the ups and downs life will throw. {The only disclaimer I make — from personal experience 🙁 — is when you are involved in a seriously dysfunctional and abusive marriage. Safety sometimes comes from a time of separation, but always with a heart seeking reconciliation.} Thanks for visiting and for sharing. Blessings to you…

  2. “It is during the bad in a marriage that we discover how good we really are at loving.” Love this, and the whole article that follows. We do marriage counseling and will be sharing THIS link as a resource!! Thank you so much for sharing!!

    Visiting you from the Happy Wives Club Link Up.

  3. First of all, I loved your first line in this article, Sheila. I think I may just tweet it after this. But, my goodness, you have so much great truth and wisdom packed in this post! I can tell you’ve walked quite a few miles with your hubby and spent many hours in prayer and time with God to have all the understanding that you’ve gleaned and then shared with us here. Amazing insight and encouragement my friend! Now, off to Twitter to give you a little shout out! 🙂

    • Both Michael and I have walked quite a few miles in darkness where great and mighty lessons were learned the hard way. And now together we see God’s redemptive grace at work each day. And yes, HOURS and HOURS for YEARS with the Lord…and many, many more to come 🙂 Thanks so much for your encouragement, sweet friend, and thanks very much for the Tweet. I must follow you on Twitter!! 🙂 Blessings to you, Beth…

  4. I absolutely love the first line of this post, and I loved your practical 12 tips for dealing with rough patches. I especially needed the reminder that feelings can lie. It’s so true. Sometimes, I let my emotions color my speech and actions toward my spouse and that’s something I need to work on. I am trying to express my emotions honestly to my husband while still being respectful without letting my feelings dictate my tone, body language, and words. It’s by God’s grace that my husband and I are still married, and still love one another after a rough, rocky start. It is God’s grace that compels me to get up in the morning and fuels my love for my husband. Thank you for sharing! I’m definitely giving you a shout-out on Twitter.

    • Thanks so much Hannah, for stopping by and for thinking this post worthy to Tweet!

      Your words reminded me of my younger self and the time when I regularly let my emotions take me on a wild ride which caused me to crash and burn eventually. My first marriage ended in part due to the boat load of baggage I brought from a very dysfunctional and alcoholic childhood home. I vented my anger disrespectfully towards my ex-spouse and contributed to tearing down my house with my own hands.

      So anything you can do to help your heart to respect and love God and your Adam more will bring great benefit to the two of you and glory to God! And I think blogging is a great way to stay on track with the support of others in similar positions. Never give up the quest to be a better wife each day and I won’t either! 🙂 There is so much joy in a peace and love-filled marriage, praise God.

  5. A wonderful post, Sheila! It’s very obvious that the Lord has taught you some great things over the years. Thank you for sharing them with us.

    I especially appreciate the points about humility and prayer. I so much need humility and the oil of prayer to lubricate any points of friction. My mechanically-minded husband says, “It only takes one side to get the oil, and friction is reduced.” Definitely something to remember.

    Thanks for the advice!


    • Your husband is a wise man indeed, Lisa. My husband and I are learning that when one applies the oil yet the other one wants to embrace the friction a little longer, that the “hard head” needs to cry uncle and surrender all to God. Thanks for the kind words of encouragement and for stopping by again. I enjoy your blog! Blessings…

  6. Dear Sheila
    I once heard a saying that described marriage as the following: you first get the engagement ring, then follows the wedding ring and then comes the suffer-ring! Quite true, don’t you think!

    • Well, Mia, the way I look at it is this: If we choose poorly in marriage, then yes, we may open our lives up to a whole lot of suffering. But, when we do things His way and in His time with His pick for us, well then marriage is a blessing beyond words. And marriage, like learning to love, is hard work sometimes, the joys a godly union brings far surpass the rough spots. Thanks for sharing in the conversation, my friend.

    • Thank you, Tresta. Wisdom gained from the trenches of doing things the wrong way first, not a method I would recommend! Grace and humility and trusting God all along life’s way is the only way to go. Thanks for stopping by…

  7. Thank you very much for this. I absolutely love the message. It’s so easy to love when everything is running smoothly, but when it really counts is when things are rough.