In the movie Gladiator, the anticipation was palpable as Maximus and the other men waited for their opponent to enter the Colosseum to reenact the Battle of Carthage. Maximus gathers the men and says, “Whatever comes out of these gates, we have a better chance of survival if we work together.” Marriage is tough. It’s a given. Though each of our situations is unique, the key point here is to face the hardship, whatever the struggle, together with your wife. Do you remember your marriage vows? For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer. In sickness and in health.
These promises presuppose tough times. We need to bring everything we have to the table when things get dicey. Here are ten ways to overcoming hardships in marriage and love your wife for life.
1. Financial Struggle
The stress associated with money problems can be overwhelming. In the end, it’s only money and money has no power over your commitment to your relationship. Commit to a plan, live simply, and never keep financial secrets from your wife.
2. Challenging Children
Even the best-behaved children present challenges, and the number one casualty tends to be the relationship between mom and dad. So remember this: The marriage comes first. Not the kids, but the marriage. Nurture your relationship with your wife and you will be better equipped to deal with whatever it is the kids dish out. Nurture your relationship with your wife and you will be better equipped to deal with whatever it is the kids dish out.
Great relationships are supposed to mature over time. If you still relate to one another the same way you did when you first married, it’s past time for the marriage to move to the next level. Get involved in a couples group in your faith community. Love one another out loud. Invest in marriage as if your life depends on it – because it does.
Marriages run into this hardship often. We may not sleep with other women, but we’re all guilty of being unfaithful when it comes to time, attention, priorities, the way we use our resources, and so much more. One way to deal with this is to recommit yourself to your wife. Woo her all over again. Make it clear where your priorities steer your time and attention.
Most Americans change careers several times. That often means moving across the state or across the world. Moving is a huge stress. Regardless, if it’s because of your job or if it’s hers, make the decision to be 100% supportive and flat-out refuse to whine. Do what it takes to get invested in the new community quickly. Find a church. Get involved. Live forward.
We forget how much we rely on one another until someone breaks down physically. If you’re the one still standing, do everything in your power to be a servant to your spouse. Sure, it’s tough to do everything, but your attempt with an obvious willing spirit is going to make all the difference.
Everyone goes through the blues at times in their lives. Here again: It’s about putting the needs of your wife ahead of your own. Look to God for your source of happiness, be a conduit of that joy to your spouse, and seek medical attention.
Sometimes it happens the first year. Sometimes it takes a decade or so. Regardless of where we are on the time spectrum, disinterest or boredom can easily set in. Not feeling special about the relationship is a hardship for everyone. But it doesn’t have to be. Our job is to be intentional about the relationship. She didn’t fall for you in the first place without any effort on your part – so why stop now? When was the last time you took her out on a date? Have you told her lately how stunning she looks? What about a day off devoted to her?
We’ve already talked about moving, but career issues can cause hardship without a change of location. Keep her in the loop. Ask her opinion about what you’re up to. Do everything in your power to protect family time and to promote a work culture that respects family values.
10. Empty Nest
We invest a lot in the kids. If we’re not careful, our relationship with our spouse gets neglected. First, guard against that day by investing in your wife now. Then, rather than mourn the children after they leave, try celebrating the freedom you now have to invest more time and interest in your marriage. Again, it’s all about being intentional.
What have you done lately to love your wife well?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your wife and ask, “What are some things I do that make you feel loved?”