3 Ways to Fight for Joy in a Difficult Marriage

When a marriage relationship is difficult, finding joy in the midst of painful moments feels nearly impossible.

How can we possibly experience real joy in the face of real suffering?

Ongoing marriage problems can wear a wife down to a place of discouragement and grief. The burden often feels too heavy to bear. Even women who are determined to be warrior wives, who fight for marriage like only women of faith can, who fight for joy in everyday moments, feel the weight of the battle for their marriage.

Where is joy when you’re weary and in need of rest?

Here are 3 Biblical Ways to Reclaim Joy in a Difficult Marriage

  1. Recognize progress.

One strategy Satan uses often to discourage me in a rough patch is the sneaky little lie that my marriage will always be difficult. He tries to convince me and you, too, that things will never change.

If you believe that you are doomed to repeat the same mistakes, to remain stuck in the same destructive patterns, then where is your hope? What motivation do you have to keep working toward a healthy marriage?

Do you see how that works, friend? Believing those lies saps us of our strength!

Fight back against the Enemy’s lies and reclaim your hope and joy in the Lord by learning how to recognize progress.

Yes, maybe today even basic communication felt like nails on a chalkboard, but was it as bad as a few months ago? How about a few years ago?

Ask the Lord to help you see the ways in which your marriage relationship is changing, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. Claim the promise of Philippians 1:6 for yourself, and if your husband is a believer, then claim it for him, too.

Quit believing the lie that your marriage is forever doomed, and fight for joy!

Please join me over at the Reclaiming Joy in Marriage online marriage event to read the rest of this article! Here you’ll find 31 days of marriage encouragement from a variety of writers – all for FREE!

Jen :)

3 Biblical ways to fight for joy in a difficult marriage

A Prayer for the Defeated Woman

I woke feeling like a defeated woman again today, Lord, wrestling with the flesh.

Tired from the start, I wanted nothing more than to remain in bed. And I have good reason – day four of earache and sore throat and overwhelming weariness. I could stay in bed all day and no one would blame me.

Well, that’s not quite true because the Accuser would blame me.

He would say I’m not trying hard enough, that people are counting on me, that I’m sick too often to go to bed every time a virus comes around.

My perfectionistic nature would agree with him, too.

Father, I’m still struggling to find this balance between working hard in Your strength and taking time to rest, too. Sometimes I wish You could physically pull me aside and say, “It’s okay to quit now, Jen. You can take a break.”

I don’t know why it’s so difficult right now to find peace in my everyday life. There’s so much to do and so little time, and I know I’m not alone in feeling this way.

The gap between expectations and reality is something every human faces, especially those of us in ministry.

What’s most bothersome is this constant struggle between wanting to work hard at the life You have laid before me, to do my best to bring glory to Your name, and the daily desire to run away from it all right now.

I’m living in the mire of Romans 7, but longing for the victory of Romans 8.

And I know, I know, I know… that Your Word says we find rest in You alone, that Your burden is easy and light.

So what am I doing wrong?

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Because this doesn’t feel easy or light. It feels like a lot of hard, unending work.

Maybe that’s the real key – these feelings that would dominate if I allow them to, feelings like “too hard” and “not enough” and “overwhelmed.”

I know the Enemy of my soul has been hard at work for months now, creating doubt, setting me up for perceived failure, erecting obstacles at every turn.

I know Your Word says to expect his attacks (1 Peter 5:8), and I see them now for what they are, but some days it doesn’t seem to help me overcome.

Some days I just feel stuck.

So, I cry out for rescue, Lord. I’m such a helpless, sinful mess – a pastor’s wife who finds little joy in reading Your Word lately, who lacks the words and sometimes even the desire to pray. One who feels ashamed of her own sinful heart.

Ah, there it is – the truth comes out. This is the battle I fight: I want to be good enough on my own, like Eve in the garden who wanted wisdom on her own terms.

The more I struggle to prove myself, the more I recognize my own flaws and failures, the more defeated I become.

My only hope lies in You, my Rescuer and Redeemer.

You, who love me at my worst.

You, who laid down Your life so that I might live.

I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me.  No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause. Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:2-5 (NIV)

Help me with this burden of guilt, Father. Remind me that I’m a defeated woman no more!

Release me from the Enemy’s snare.

Lift me up from these depths and restore the joy of my salvation to me.

Forgive me for ignoring Your beckoning call, for taking my relationship with You for granted. Forgive me for giving in to selfish desires, for trying to work in my own strength rather than Yours. Forgive me for turning to worldly comforts rather than You.

You alone are my strength and my shield.

Deliver me.

Remind me that I can only pour out of myself what I allow You to pour into me, but that Your supply is endless and abundant .

Help me to surrender all.

Help my unbelief.

Let me hide myself in You alone.

Because You are a good, good Father, and You love me still.

Jen

I wrote these words over a year ago, about two years into our church-planting journey thus far. I didn’t share them back then for fear of what others might think, but for some reason, this piece keeps coming to mind. So maybe one of you needs to hear that you’re not alone today? :)

If so, let me encourage you that on the other side of this “wrestling with the flesh” came a season of bearing fruit in my personal walk and harvesting fruit in our ministry that was so worth all of the wrestling. So while it may not seem worth it at the moment, my sister in Christ, don’t listen to the Accuser and that inner voice of doubt. Instead, lean on the promise of Galatians 6:9, and do not grow weary in doing good.

I encourage you to take time today to read through Romans 7 and 8. Take heart in knowing that even the apostle Paul wrestled with the flesh and take note of what made all the difference for him. I promise it’s worth a bit of your precious time!

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For the Wife Who Feels Alone (and a Giveaway!)

“Sometimes I just feel so alone.”

As the words left my mouth, the weight of them nearly crushed me. Married life had been less than stellar, and I was weary of carrying on the “good fight.”

Add to that fact the isolation that often accompanies marriage problems (because after all, it’s embarrassing to admit you’re struggling, right?), and the loneliness seemed unbearable.

My natural tendency in times like these is to hunker down, hole up, hide away – that’s probably true for any introvert, but I now recognize that this tendency to retreat often leads me to be alone with my thoughts and worries – a dangerous place for any struggling wife to be, introvert or not.

Are you a wife who feels alone?

Sometimes other women ask me what I found most helpful during the dark years of our marriage, and I can honestly say that when I started to realize how NOT alone I was, I began to take heart!

Yet I often hear other women confessing that same struggle. They, too, feel alone in their marriage struggles.

I’m convinced it is one of Satan’s greatest weapons against Christian marriages today. With his persistent voice, he whispers lies like:

Your marriage problems are unique. No one else understands.

It’s because you lack faith – that’s why your marriage is struggling. Something must be wrong with you. 

You’re not a good enough wife. You just need to try harder to be the perfect wife, and then your husband will love you like you want.

And perhaps worst of all he puts the final nail in the coffin of our hope – If you tell anyone else, they’ll know what a failure you are, and your husband’s reputation will be ruined.

You see, friend, if he can convince you to hide your pain and suffering, to keep your mouth shut, he can keep you from the hope and joy you are desperately searching for!

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When women begin to realize that others out there have lived through and survived (or even thrived) through marriages that fell apart, they see that with God anything is possible. What a blow to the Enemy!

My friend, if you are a lonely wife who is hesitant to let anyone in, know that the truth is you are far from alone!

The God of the universe, your Creator, is with you.

And along with Him, you have thousands of sisters-in-Christ who are standing ground, fighting for their marriages, too.

How might your perspective change if you quit believing the Enemy’s lies and began instead to believe God’s truth?

  • Would believing that God isn’t finished working in your or in your marriage give you strength to persevere?
  • Would believing that He has your best interest at heart give you hope when all hope seems lost?
  • Would trusting in God’s providence and protection keep you secure?

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No marriage is perfect – how can the union of two flawed sinners possibly be? The tactics Satan uses now are the same he used even as far back in the Garden of Eden – anything he can do to separate husband and wife from each other and from God.

He specializes in crafting believable lies meant to lead us away from God’s truth one step of doubt at a time.

Whether you’re experiencing a true marital crisis or just struggling through the loneliness that often follows even a brief disagreement, you have a choice to make.

Truth or lie.

Hope or despair.

Joy or sorrow.

As a follower of Christ, filled by the Holy Spirit and fully equipped for every good work, you have the power to choose!

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5 (ESV)

Sweet wife who feels alone, let me offer you some very practical hope.

I’m thrilled to tell you about an important event taking place all month long, (especially since it’s FREE – my favorite!).

During the month of July, you can learn from and be encouraged by other wives through the FREE Joy in Marriage Event, hosted by my friend and fellow marriage blogger, Tiffany at Hope and Joy in Christ.

Tiffany has organized 31 days of marriage encouragement, including daily devotional posts, GIVEAWAYS (over $16,000 of faith resources!!), and even a digital swag bag for those who RSVP on her site!

In addition, as a sponsor for this event, Unveiled Wife has offered a FREE book for each writer who is participating to give away to readers – amazing, right?!
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So, first, you need to enter the giveaway below for your chance to win a copy.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Then, trek on over to Tiffany’s place to grab your swag bag and enter more giveaways. (Keep an eye out for Hope for the Hurting Wife while you’re there because Rebekah and I are both contributing a copy!). Every day, Tiffany will be sharing a post from a different blogger related to joy in marriage – how encouraging! :)

Finally, please help us spread the word about this event to your friends, family, church family, neighbors – anyone who will listen – so that YOU can be a part of encouraging other wives, too.

Let’s not allow the Enemy to keep us isolated and alone any longer!

No one needs to be a wife who feels alone!

Jen :)
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