We are surrounded by a great cloud of stressors in this hurting, hostile world where the enemy constantly seeks to pick off the weakest of the herd.
Daily news reports one violent crime after the next, weather disasters destroy, too much to do in too little time makes you want to pluck out your eyelashes, money woes and health worries impact sleep, issues with the kids or the dog who chewed your brand new sofa this morning push you past your limits while a corrupt boss makes life miserable and an unexpected betrayal of the heart by those whom you thought you could trust stings terribly.
And it all spins round and round creating a whirlwind that can negatively impact the tender bonds of married love if you are not alert and ready.
But what if you and your husband chose to respond to stress in a positive, life-affirming, love-building way?
Choosing to come together as a team. You and him against the world. Trusting that grace will abound as life tests your hearts.
So when stress mounts and spills over into your marriage take your spouse by the hand, fall to yours knees and head for higher ground. Under the shelter of Father’s wings is safety in the midst of storms. And as you both settle and still you will hear His whispers no matter how loudly the war drums sound.
This is the way to go. Walk ye in it.
And external stress factors, when rightly handled, bring good as you follow Christ more closely and allow them to bind you and your husband closer in heart. And in God’s economy where pain invested wisely yields significant spiritual returns, that’s very good.
So please don’t give up and succumb to stress-induced fighting with your spouse. Now is the time for you and your husband to humble and join hearts and rise above the grimy realities.
And while it may take some trial-and-error doing and a surrendering of your wills, it can be done as my Michael and I have come to learn.
Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.
And it’s all grace. Pure and powerful grace.
Here are 8 surefire suggestions for surviving stress and being a Christlike example to others through your marriage.
1. Keep looking up. Focus on Father not the stress or pain. Cling in daily dependence as you walk through the fires of life, learning to love better with every step. And this is a matter of choice on your part. Refuse to succumb to fear. God will see you through and if you train your heart to respond rightly you will become a better person for it. And that only benefits a marriage.
2. When stress strikes hard wait in faith before reacting. Believe that God is working all things for good. He truly is!! Situations that hurt require time to process so keeping a guard on your mouth and not making any rash, knee-jerk decisions is wisdom. Remember that this too shall pass and some day you will look back and marvel at how far and wide God has brought you. You will be stronger. And better able to love God and others, especially your spouse. And this will prepare you for the next storm.
3. Remember that feelings can lie. They scream what isn’t true especially when you are upset, falsely coloring your world grim. And when your feelings plummet into despair due to the circumstances, well that’s when the enemy pounces and says untrue and unkind things about you personally. Remember you are not a loser. With Christ you will always be on the winning team. But condemnation can leave you feeling worthless and even make you hide from your spouse. Fight that urge for now you must come together stronger than ever.
4. Brief time outs are okay, though. You or your spouse may need to take a breather alone when you take a hit. Just don’t go AWOL forever. Choose to limit this time apart for two are better than one and now is when you need to comfort each other more and purpose to build up your love and marital solidarity.
5. Should a stress-induced fight prevail trust that it’s not a dead end in your marriage. While you want to commit to keeping the faith and keeping your cool with each other God can and will use an argument as a detour leading you and your mate to the higher road of learning to love when it is difficult to do so. If stress factors are causing daily friction that is mounting in violence or dangerous actions please seek immediate intervention.
6. Pray and read God’s word together. The Psalms are a great source of comfort during troubling times. Read Psalm 23, 34 and 37. If you are not already having a couple’s devotional time each day now would be a great time to start. Pray through your worries and your woes, choose to forgive but shore up your boundaries where needed.
7. Celebrate your marriage despite the stress surrounding you. No one knows how long will last the moments of a marriage and stressors easily suck the life out of your partnership so choose to do opposite of what you may feel like at the moment. Plan a picnic for just you and your spouse, go for a long walk in the woods, take a drive and explore an unknown town for an afternoon. Escape the stress for a bit and celebrate being lovers and friends. Now! Your marriage needs constant nurture.
8. And never give up. The tempter tends to exaggerate situations as unresolvable inducing fear and pain and potentially leading you away from your spouse. Just don’t give in to these lies. Trust and hope in God. Father never disappoints.
For love never fails…