Welcome back to Marriage Monday! As you know, I am in the midst of a move, but determined to jump back into my series on Loving our Husbands. A move . . . like any stressful event . . . can really strain our relationships, especially the husband/wife relationship. So, I've decided to tackle that topic head on in today's post!
Have you ever thought about how we can demonstrate love to our husbands during life's most stressful times, such as a move, a terminal illness, the death of a parent or child, or other family crisis?
My husband and I have a good relationship, and we rarely argue or are at odds with one another. However, I've discovered that stressful times, such as a move, can create unexpected tension in even a very close relationship. Furthermore, it can hammer the final nail into the coffin of a dying marriage. Is it possible to navigate the storms of life without sinking our ships? I think it is, if God is the Captain!
Here are 4 Practical Ways to Love Your Husband during a Trial:
1. Speak softly.
The more tense we feel, the more we tend to be snappy, sarcastic, and "snippety" in our responses to one another. Remember that a soft answer turns away wrath, while a harsh response stirs up anger! (Proverbs 15:1) When your husband speaks harshly to you, force yourself to answer in a soft and gentle tone! You will be amazed how quickly that can diffuse an explosive situation!
2. Take Time to Communicate.
I've found that it is easy to stop communicating during a stressful time. My husband and I both tend to retreat inward when we are feeling majorly overwhelmed, discouraged, or distressed. (I realize that other personalities like to talk through every little thing!)
During stressful, busy times, it is so easy to forget to communicate both important information (such as which location you are getting the U-Haul truck from!) as well as a range of emotions. Just letting each other know that you are experiencing a lot of stress and feeling overwhelmed or on the verge of tears will help you both to be more understanding when one of you "loses it!"
3. Forbear and Forgive.
When stressful times occur, we must choose to forbear, or patiently endure the trial, and forgive those who offend us. If our husbands are impatient or harsh or demanding, we have no license to respond in like manner. We are commanded to be longsuffering, forbearing and loving anyway.
"Forbearing one another, forgiving one another . . . " ~ Colossians 3:13
"With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love." ~ Ephesians 4:2
Naturally, this is not easy! However, the Holy Spirit will enable us! I always remind myself that it is my glory to overlook a transgression! (Proverbs 19:11) It is also helpful to remind myself that my husband has the same challenge before him -- to choose to overlook my transgressions! Perhaps the only reason I am taking offense at something he says or does is because I am being shorter-tempered, more emotional, and more easily offended than normal!
4. Put Yourself in His Shoes.
Whenever someone offends you or hurts your feelings, it is always helpful to put yourself in that person's shoes. This is a principle I try hard to teach my children, as it helps immensely with sibling or friend relationships! If we stop and think about the stress the other person is under, how tired they are, how overwhelmed they must feel, etc., it helps us to be more understanding when they are irritable or cross or do or say something hurtful.
When we look at the weight that is on our husband's shoulders when walking through a crisis or stressful time, it takes our focus off of ourselves and helps us feel compassion for him. Then, instead of demanding that we get to rest or that our needs are met, we can choose to prefer our husbands in love!
"Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another." ~ Romans 12:10 NKJV
"Let each of you look out not only for your own interests, but also for the interests of others." ~ Philippians 2:4 NKJV
This is the essence of the Christian life and where "the rubber meets the road." Hopefully, we learn to yield our rights graciously, so that our homes don't smell like burnt rubber! ;)
Your Turn to Share:
These are the practical exhortations that the Lord has shown me. Do you have other ideas for how to maintain a kind, loving relationship with your husband even when you are walking through a trial together? Most all of us will have to endure both short times of intense stress as well as extended times of deep suffering during our lifetimes. I believe it is crucial to learn how to weather these trials in a God-honoring way and in such a way that strengthens our marriages rather than destroying them. Do you agree? Please share your thoughts on this subject, as well as any practical ideas that you have. Please share so we might all be encouraged!
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