Loving Through the Bad Times
You’ve been there, I know you have. And I have too. The person sitting next to you, whom you promised to love in good times and bad, is drowning in the bad. Sometimes your family experiences situations where you go through a valley together, but other times, a rough time is one-sided, individual, and separate from everyone around you.
So, what do you do when your spouse faces a time that brings them down while the rest of the world seems to keep spinning around them?
We can’t fix all the problems in a blog article, nor can we replace the wisdom and advice from counselors, pastors, and therapists who, along the way, can support our spouses when needed during their low times. But, as a spouse, we want to encourage you as you lean into your promise in “the good times and bad” and give you honest, tangible ways to begin helping your spouse in healing, happiness, and hope. “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Prov 17:17
PRAY—Nothing of eternal significance ever happens apart from prayer. I used to pray for God to change my husband’s heart (mostly when we were arguing, and I wanted him to think I was right), but when I started changing my prayer, my heart was the one that was ultimately transformed. We can pray for our spouse and any pain they are feeling or struggle they endure, but when we pray to love our spouse and see them the way Jesus does, our hearts and minds toward them adjust as well.
SERVE—On some of my darkest days, my husband didn’t come to me with a plan on how to fix my circumstances or remove my pain. He just chose to serve me daily as a representation of Christ. Jesus healed the sick, fed the hungry, loved the unloved, and even washed his disciples’ feet. My husband didn’t have to do anything that he considered to be life-altering. He did the dishes, bought me my favorite snack, prayed for me, showed me patience, created fun memories, and even painted my toenails. Even though he wouldn’t see those things as life-altering, my heart was forever affected by the little, everyday ways he chose to serve me
LISTEN & LEARN—Let your spouse know you want to listen to their feelings and hear them describe their thought processes to you. We often want to fix our spouse before ever listening to them. This process can be ongoing and contain many layers,but your listening skills can help them more than you know. And once you’ve listened, the learning process begins as you study your spouse and their needs to heal in their valley. Learn if they need to talk to a professional to understand their feelings better. Learn if they need more one-on-one time with you or added fun to help distract their mind from always thinking about a struggle. Learn how to best pray for them when you listen to their heart. Learn how to point them to hope when days feel less than hopeful.
REMEMBER – you are not your spouse’s savior. Psalm 34:18 says, “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Even if you’ve won the Best Spouse of the World trophy, you should never be your spouse’s sole source of purpose, comfort, joy, or worth. Point your spouse to the real Savior with scripture and reminders of His promises.