Every couple struggles, this is part of the process of two people living life together. The work of marriage is compromise and connection. We need someone that is emotionally accessible and responsive to us, but we can become disconnected and problems set in. Sometimes we need help from an outside source.
Below are some signs that can help you evaluate your marriage. Before you read them I want to emphasize there is always hope. I am confident that any marriage can be repaired. It may take sacrifice and work but your marriage can be saved. Don’t lose hope, find help and walk through the journey of change, it is worth it.
So how can you tell when you need help? Here are some signs a relationship is struggling and may need help:
- Repeated negative interaction that creates distance and distrust in the relationship – Negative interaction can be arguing or just silence.
- Diminished or nonexistent affection and/or sexual desire – This is sexual and non-sexual touch. Touch is an important part of communication and connection.
- Feelings of loneliness or alienation in the relationship – This is when you are together but don’t engage, acknowledge or respond to each other.
- Betrayal or breach of trust in the relationship – This is an emotional or sexual affair.
- Addictive behaviors; for example drugs, alcohol, pornography, gambling – People are usually in denial and unwilling to seek help when they struggle in these areas. This usually takes an an aggressive intervention to start the healing process.
- Lack of connection or intimacy in the relationship over long periods of time – Do you have date nights? What do you do together during the week after work or when the kids go to bed? What do you do together on the weekends? If your answer to the questions is you interact very little than you may have lost connection.
Hope is the the happy anticipation of good. Your marriage is precious and important. Fight for it by asking for help. Find a counselor, pastor, or a good marriage group or book. You can repair and create a connected marriage.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life – Prov. 13:12
But sometimes you are afraid to hope. Your heart has been broken and you just don’t think it can stand anymore disappointments. Focus on these two things:
- Focus On Yourself and God – One of the most common reason for lost hope, especially in marriage, is placing all of our hope on another human being. The only one we can truly depend on and therefore put our hope in is Jesus. He is the one that will never leave us or forsake us. He is the only one capable of being completely faithful to us. When we place too much hope on our spouse, we are expecting them to never let us down. And that is simply an unrealistic expectation. The only thing you can change is you. Start on you with Jesus as the source in your journey of change.
- Keep Your hope and focus on the present and the future not the past – Hurting people get stuck processing the past pain. Part of that is the bargaining stage of grief. Sadly many times people get stuck replaying a conversation or scene in their mind.
- Engage the 5 senses to redirect and have another thought – to get rid of a thought you have to have another thought. Use sight, sound, smell, taste and touch to redirect your thoughts. When you feel stuck go to another room, get a glass of water, go outside and feel the sun. Do something that will help you feel the present and get out of the past.
- Their is hope in the future – Focus on creating new things in the future. You can create and change a better future. You can learn from the past but you can not change it.
- Build a foundation of hope and trust from scripture – Scripture tells us that He will never leave us nor forsake us –Heb.13:5. He walks with us through the difficult valleys – Ps.23:4. The troubles we go through are always temporary, this to will pass. Our life with Him is eternal – 2Cor.4:16-18. He will work everything we go through for our good, if we love Him and surrender to His purpose in our lives – Rom.8:28. So bring every thought into obedience with His word – 2Cor.10:5. Always believe that God is with you in every circumstance – Romans 8:38-39.