there are no set rules to solve a problem, as solutions will always work or not based on who’s applying it or how it’s been applied. These 8 strategies nevertheless can be used as a guide if you find yourself in a difficult marriage or are indeed in one.
Contrary to what we would all hope for when we first get married and what we are led to believe is an ideal marriage, there is no marriage that does not at one point in time, go through its own challenges. The only difference between a successful or shall I say succeeding marriage and one that isn’t, is that the couple are able to work through their problems and move on to a higher level, working together as a team.
They will also be able to develop good strategies for resolving conflicts and start to grow in their marriage. Of course every now and again, they will experience conflict but they should be able to prioritize the success of their marriage over other things including conflict.
Here are my 8 strategies for coping and thriving in a difficult marriage. (This is in no particular order)
Find the source of the difficulty
A marriage may experience difficulty because someone is being difficult or both parties are. It may also be because the couple is facing a turbulence that is out of their control. Therefore I would begin by doing a thorough examination of when, where and how the problem started. It could be that both parties need to seat down and talk this over because communication is important.
I would also seek God’s counsel and insight by praying about it. Seeking the help of a trained counselor may be helpful also, to help you through the solution. I know some folks are reluctant to go for counseling but if the person value his/her marriage, he/she will do whatever it takes to find a solution. There are benefits in having someone else analyze your issues, someone who can see things from an objective angle.
” talking things over means both parties have to communicate “
You can thrive
Difficulty and thriving, are two contradictory words, as you wouldn’t expect anyone to thrive if they are going through a difficult time. This is because problems in marriage have the tendency of affecting other aspects of the person’s life in a negative way. However, one can thrive in other areas of life by learning to focus on those areas that are still good, and maintaining a positive attitude.
Personally, I have learnt to take an inventory of life at each stage including difficult ones by looking at those areas that I have control over, or going according to plan. I have also learnt to then focus my positive energy on those areas in other to maintain the momentum to carry on with life. This has helped to keep me afloat of the situation as well as helped me to retain my inner strength and Joy.
Problems in marriage have the tendency of affecting other aspects of the person’s life in a negative way
Recovery takes time
You may have heard the proverb ‘Rome was not built in a day’. In the same way, a difficult marriage cannot be expected to magically become great in a day. It will take time, some longer than others. This is because it probably took some time before you or your spouse realized the state of your marriage. Therefore, to expect an instant recovery is unrealistic. As long as you are both trying to make things work and you are giving it your best, then all you need is some patience and then you begin to see improvement. This can be frustrating especially at the early stages when no sign of improvement is visible but with perseverance and prayers, you will surely get there.
” you wouldn’t expect anyone to thrive if they are going through a difficult time “
It is true that what we focus on becomes amplified. If it is a problem, it starts to grow bigger and if we are unable to find a solution, in no time, we start to feel helpless and defeated. It is therefore important to manage the amount of time you spend rehearsing a problem. Unless you are doing so in the process of finding a solution. Even then, care must be taken as it doesn’t take much to get soaked in emotions. I am not suggesting that you bury your head in the sand and live in denial. But you must ensure that you focus your mind on positive things.
Taking up a new course, learning a new skill or volunteering with a charity, are ways to get busy if you haven’t got little kids. Even if you do, you can still find something different to do that will help channel your positive energy and bring you fulfillment, rather than spending your whole time thinking about your problem. It is amazing how something as simple as these can change your perception or position on things. Do also find positive people that you can talk to and who can support you through the difficult phase.
Taking up a new course, learning a new skill or volunteering with a charity, are ways to get busy
See things through the mind of God
God’s plan for marriage is good, if not, He wouldn’t have invented it. The turn of events may have caused you to conclude that your spouse was a wrong choice. However my bible tells me that God will cause all things to work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 But even when you think God was not involved in your choice, you never know what He’s got planned to do with that marriage you call a mess. It is important to seek God’s counsel always about the decisions that you are proposing to make in response to that difficult marriage.
Some think that divorce is a natural response to it, this is not often the case. Marriage is intended to make us more like Jesus at the end of the day, therefore, God is more interested in who we are becoming through the process of managing difficulty. Besides, what God has joined together, Jesus states that “let not man separate” Matthew 19:6. This includes you or anyone. I used to think it meant others but I recently caught the revelation that this is a caution for all including those in the relationship.
“seek God’s counsel always about the decisions that you are proposing to make in response to that difficult marriage “
Guard your heart
The bible urges us to guard our hearts, and the devil knows how important our hearts are, so, most of the assaults we face are intended to wound our hearts. Once a heart is wounded, it is hard to cope with anything else. Bitterness, discouragement, fear, depression, anxiety and all sorts set in. It is only a matter of time before the person loses the will to live or carry on. No matter what you do or what happens to you, guard your heart. Guarding your heart has two meanings and I will explain.
Some think that withholding love from their loved ones is a way of guarding their hearts, while some think that being loving means that they let others take advantage of them. None of the extremes is good for the heart. Withholding love can shrivel the heart and cause it to stop functioning, as it should. In like manner not setting appropriate boundaries can also cause the heart to be wounded. You may think that you are closing your heart to one person but the implications of this are that it will affect your other relationships even if unintended.
Do away with all the negative emotions
What do I mean by this? It is very easy to blame yourself or others when going through a difficult marriage especially the negative emotions such as guilt, anger, shame, resentment, jealousy etc. As a major player in conflict, once you have apologized, made amends, then it is time to move on. Forgive yourself and forgive others, If you cannot forgive yourself, you cannot forgive others. At a point in my life, I used to ask myself why I had to experience certain issues in life. Life does not always go the way we want it. I am mostly grateful for those experiences as they are shaping me.
expectthe best always
Be optimistic about your life and marriage. Expect the best and not the worst. When things don’t go the way you plan,don’t relent in being positive. Trust God and do what you can to make things better. Philippians 4:8 advise us to focus on those things that are true, noble, pure, lovely, of good report and praise worthy. In spite of how life or others may have treated you in the past, don’t stop believing in the best and in what is good. Things have a way of working out for the best if you don’t give up.