Can friendship and patience really save a marriage in turmoil?
Two weeks ago I started a 2-part series for newlywed couples experiencing a bumpy start to married life.
You can read part one here -> 9 things every newlywed couple should know about mentoring.
We looked at mentoring, and today we’ll look at Patience and Friendship and why they matter, particularly in a difficult marriage.
My husband and I had a rough beginning and looking back, these three things – mentoring, patience and friendship – changed the course of our relationship.
Please note that these principles work best in situations where a couple is experiencing normal growth pains and there’s desire to get better. If you are facing chronic marriage issues, please read this article – Boundaries in Marriage: 5 Guidelines for Setting Limits with a Difficult Spouse
But generally, if your newlywed boat rocking or perhaps chugging along at a slower – and bumpier – pace than you would like, it is possible to navigate to calmer shores.
However, these two things must present:
(and continued from last week)
2. There must be patience with hope
Romans 8:25:24-25 says
Who hopes for what he can already see? But if we hope for what we do not yet see, we wait for it patiently.
Patience and hope are happy twins; you can’t have one without the other. A few things about hope
– Positivity does not equal passivity
“Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” James 2:17
Faith should inspire action. As a newlywed wife, you might not know how or where to roll up your sleeves and get to work.
But you should hold on to this revelation; “I am still Gods hands and feet in my marriage even when I don’t know what to do. He will show me what to do.”
– Hope won’t always make sense
Untempered logic is an enemy of faith. Of course, the ability to think is an absolute delight in marriage, but our hearts have to be submitted and sensitive to God’s voice first.
The thing about faith is that its outcome is different, person to person. God moves differently from person to person. One wife will pray for a miracle, and her husband will change. Another will pray the same prayer but her marriage will struggle and crumble.
I can’t explain it either. But I know for certain that God has called us to run our own race (Hebrews 12:1) We don’t get to adjust our race to accommodate our neighbor’s outcome.
God calls me to run with the truth He reveals to me, no matter what.
So as a wife seeking to overcome newlywed blues, you must keep your eyes on God’s truth. Not your feelings or logic. Or what happened to that other couple in church. Or what happened yesterday.
3. There must be a decision for friendship.
Love is a decision (see 1 Corinthians 13:4-8) and in a difficult marriage so is friendship.
Certainly, friendship takes two – you can’t force someone to be your friend. But reviving a friendship typically takes one person willing to go out on a limb.
A few things about friendship and how it makes a difference in a marriage in turmoil
– Friendship takes one
As mentioned in last week’s post, my husband and I struggled mainly with our communication. He felt harassed, and I felt abandoned. Then one day I read about praising your spouse and noticing his good side because guys thrive on honor and respect.
So I looked for his good side.
Like taking care of the bills, paying the rent. Regular everyday stuff. It felt silly to say “I appreciate how you go out to look for work and take care of bills” but I tried to keep at it.
When you are just getting to know one another as husband and wife and the relationship is in turmoil, it’s easy to wonder if there’s any good side to your spouse. Hence the emphasis on look.
There’s a reason you married your guy anyway. Go digging and find the one or two things he’s still good at.
One thing that help you tweak your perspective in looking to spark your friendship is looking at your efforts as “something new to try in marriage.” Consider it an experiment instead of a sure thing.
Perhaps you’ve tried lots of other things too, like sulking, getting angry, shutting down, complaining, why not add friendship to the list of stuff to try? While friendship takes two to flourish, it only needs one to spark that first light.
So be friendly, especially when you are not feeling it. Watch your tone of voice, your body language, your choice of words. Move from reaction to action; make a mention of his good traits. And trust God to work in his heart as you do your part.
– Friendship is not a miracle cure for a marriage in turmoil
There’s no guarantee that changing your attitude and adjusting your behavior towards your husband will change him. Your attempts at friendship might be rejected, even tossed back to your face.
Notwithstanding, I think all couples in difficult marriages need to come to that place where one person is willing to risk in love. I am not talking about covering sin or putting yourself in harm’s way in the name of building a friendship; these I have addressed in other posts.
I am talking about rising above pride and fear and making a choice to still fan your vows even in difficulties while believing that God sees and will honor your efforts.
There were no guarantees that things would change when I started to build goodwill with my husband through praise. I was just trying something new.
I was attempting to change my inner chatter from “he’s a closed fortress” to “he pays the bills and works so hard to provide, and perhaps it means he’s still for us.” I was seeking to honor God.
For me, investing in a friendship meant still hanging out with our friends when I would rather be stewing over something he didn’t do (likely a household chore).
It meant more smiling, less angry face. More laughter. Staying in the same room instead of hiding in another. Attempting small talk. Communicating when I needed a break instead of walking out of the house in a huff.
It was hard, but over the months, he was being nice in return, i.e., sat down to talk about the things I wanted to be addressed.
So remember your goal in friendship; it’s not to manipulate. It’s to honor your vows.
– Friendship doesn’t mean your husband doesn’t need to change
Being friendly doesn’t mean your husband is getting a free pass. Like we said last week, you can be respectful and firm.
It feels unfair but its the truth – the very thing that’s hardest to do might be the thing that saves your marriage. So consider your part in creating a healthy marriage and step out.
Don’t be so wrapped up with your needs and wants or his failures and shortcomings that fail to pay the price for a good marriage.
Yes, every good marriage has two people that are willing to accept and celebrate an imperfect person.
Your husband may be failing but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve a chance. “Who knows if perhaps you were made (his) queen for just such a time as this?” Esther 4:14 (bracket added)
It’s impossible to cover all the steps you need to take in a single post. That’s why I wrote a book Blues to Bliss: Creating Your Happily Ever After in the Early Years. If you are feeling overwhelmed, if shutting down, fussing, anger, passive-aggressiveness are common place in your relationship, if you want to bring back the feelings of closeness and warmth you once enjoyed, I want you to know that your marriage can change! Get on the road to a great marriage when you pick up Blues to Bliss: Creating Your Happily Ever After In The Early Years. Buy it > Amazon Paperback I Kindle I Barnes & Noble I PDF I UK/Europe PDF . Or Click here to go to the book page.