Think about the following factors that contribute to discouragement:
Fatigue. Many couples today are going in several directions simultaneously as they juggle careers, family, continuing education, debt, etc. Ask yourself if it’s time to H.A.L.T. (hungry, angry, lonely, tired). When one or more of these are present, this leads to fatigue.Take a time out. Remember that even God rested one day a week. Give yourself time to recoup and regenerate, so that your spouse can receive the best in you, and not the leftovers.
Frustration. This occurs when the “little foxes” are eating away at your time. We lose sight of the goal of a great marriage when we allow too many distractions to influence our time. Whenever you say ‘yes’ to someone or some thing, you are saying ‘no’ to someone else — and it’s usually your spouse. You can minimize frustrations by managing borders and boundaries around your couple time together.
Failure. Often couples begin to think they are failing at marriage, instead of viewing it as a setback. Many invite friends into their pity party instead of inviting couples with wisdom to help them get their marriage back on track. Many see the ‘failure’ as permanent instead of temporary. When you get knocked down, get back up and get in the game. Fight for your marriage, instead of fighting each other. Be brave, valiant, patient, and you will succeed.
Fear. Sometimes fear begins to have a louder voice in our head than faith. Those who influence us (family and friends) will tell us “it can’t be done,” “she’s never going to change,” or “you’re going to be miserable forever.” They are often basing their beliefs on their own personal experience. Our own fears tell us we aren’t measuring up, we aren’t capable, we have too much pressure. The opposite of fear is faith. Faith tells us “the Lord will never leave us or forsake us;” “He is our rock and our shield.” Faith tells us to keep pressing on, to ask for help, to believe the best.
Are you feeling frustrated in your marriage? Take a time of rest and exercise personal self-care, strap on some faith, find some positive influencers, and ask for help. You and your spouse can weather the storm and come through stronger than you were before. There is no greater joy than seeing a couple live out the calling God has for marriage — to mirror God’s unconditional love for His people. That would be you.
Cindy and David Southworth are marriage and relationship coaches, certified through the American Assn of Christian Counselors and members of the International Christian Coaching Assn. Cindy is a John Maxwell certified speaker, trainer, and coach. They are the owners of Breakwater Coaching. You can visit their website at www.breakwatercoaching.com.