The shepherd’s job is to lead the sheep and protect them when they are in a dark place. There is danger in the valley. In those dark days of the valley, I didn’t know how I was going to crawl out of it. My husband had just confessed something I thought was unforgivable. I truly didn’t know the power of God and His ability to change me. However, I ran to Him and sheltered close to Him when I couldn’t see the hand in front of my face in the dark because I was blinded by hurt.
I was in danger. The enemy would like nothing more than to come out from the shadows and lure us in our doubts and insecurities. That is exactly why I needed to cling to God during that walk through the valley. When I couldn’t trust myself, I could walk confidently without fear with His protection and guidance.
We were in the valley for quite a while. We stumbled and our path out was not linear. There were times I felt as if we were walking in circles, but I was confident God was right beside me. With that assurance, we were able to create a plan to do the hard work of crawling up the mountain from the valley. We were seeking higher ground. With God as the guide, along with using the right tools for the journey, we did the hard work of walking up that mountain.
When we are struggling in our marriages it’s important to remember and implement a few things. Here are some practical measures to walk the valley together in search of higher ground.
8 Tips to Remember When You are Climbing Out of the Valley
1. God is your foundation
It’s first important to remember to make God your foundation. When both of you commit to using the same guidebook (the Bible) and the play by the same rules (God’s Truth), it gives you a place from which to start. Your goal should be to honor and please the Lord in all you do. He will never ask you to do anything that is contrary to His ways.
2. Same team
Once you know you are both on the same team, you can face your issues side by side, shoulder to shoulder. When you shift your mindset from fighting your spouse to fighting the problem, you’ll gain momentum in the fight against the enemy.
You both need to give your all. Not this 50/50 stuff the world talks about. I put 100% effort in rebuilding our marriage. If my husband didn’t put in the same effort, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Marriage is hard work. If you’re putting in any less than 100%, you’re not going to get the results you’re looking for.
4. Expectations aired
It’s important to discuss each other’s expectations regarding all aspects of marriage. We both realized we had expectations of each other, but it was not always verbalized. I know. It sounds ridiculous as I type this. If we don’t talk about what we expect, there is no way the other person will ever guess them. Get talking!
We can rarely do this life alone. If you are a Christian, it’s helpful to find a Christian counselor who will help both of you through the struggle. My husband and I found someone who specialized in the specific issues we were having and be both interviewed him to make sure we felt comfortable and assured his goal was our goal.
6. Who do you share with?
A trusted few. I would advise one or two trusted friends or mentors and a counselor. Avoid oversharing with your parents. It’s hard for parents to not overstep their biases. Not to say that they can’t be supportive, but it may not be the best choice to include them in the select one or two people you seek intimate support from.
7. What do you share?
It’s important to be respectful of what you say and how you say it. Be discerning in what you share with those few people. The purpose is reconciliation for a healthy marriage and if you share with that goal in mind, it will help keep you in check.
8. Why are you sharing this information?
Is it for restoration? Or just gossip? Is it kind? Are you seeking true wisdom? There were times I did vent, however, I also made sure what I shared had the goal of gaining wisdom.
Please understand this encouragement is coming from a place with healthy boundaries and a goal for a healthy relationship. Even though there can be some really hard things we deal with in a relationship, it doesn’t mean we should blur the lines with abusive behavior. There is no room in this dialogue for abuse. This marriage series is meant for encouragement for those couples who are wanting reconciliation and willing to build or rebuild a strong foundation with God as their center.
If there is any form of abuse, please get help. This encouragement is meant for those who are in relationships with the daily struggles of marriage and I dare say even really hard things but are approaching healing from a healthy, Christ-centered perspective.
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8 Tips for a Strained Marriage
This is part of a five-part series on marriage which was inspired by my article published over at Joyful Life Magazine. Please see the previous posts.
- Joyful Life Magazine Feature “The Fire of Redemption: A Story of Marriage Refined by Forgiveness”
- What to do When Your Marriage is Strained
- How to Strengthen Your Marriage
- The Cycles of Marriage
- Fighting Fair
This brief essay is a supplement to our Facebook video series in the Facebook group Being Brave dot Faith which discusses the same topics more in-depth. You can watch the videos by joining the group HERE.
“When Your Marriage Falls Apart”
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