We’re all familiar with the oft-repeated nuptial phrase, “for better or for worse“. (Cue wedding music). We repeat those words in our marriage vows, transfixed in the moment, as we gaze into our sweetie’s eyes. Deep breath…..Ahhh, “I love you”. (Stop wedding music…screech!). In that moment we may not have the full understanding of what the words really mean, but boy oh boy, if you stick around long enough in the marriage, you will learn! It’s easy to love in the better times, but what happens when things aren’t so great. What happens to the for better in the for worse?
Do you remember me telling you all that we would celebrate our 10th. anniversary in May? We were tossing ideas around months ago on how we wanted to celebrate this milestone. And we sure had LOTS of ideas, from international travel to local stay-cation! Little did we know, however, that weeks before our anniversary I would have been dealing with, what has turned out to be, a rare disorder that has made it difficult for me to stand, or walk for long periods of time. I promise I will share it with you, but in the interest of time, I’ll save the details of my malady for another blog post :). The point I want to get across is things can be going along all tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum, thinking you kinda got it all together-ish and then boom!
All Plans Benched
All prospective plans to celebrate our anniversary were promptly benched and replaced by repeated, almost daily visits to different doctors and specialists, each one sending you off to another one and ultimately most conceding that they didn’t know exactly what was wrong. In between his job and usual household responsibilities, hubby now had to take on some of my own jobs, fixing dinner, help with teaching and my personal chauffeur at times. While I still wouldn’t declare this as the worst of times, no doubt we’ve had better.
What Do We Do Now?
We’ve been through some rough times before so this ain’t our first rodeo. This is just a diff-er-ent kind of rodeo. It has more bumps and humps than we would have liked and lots of unknowns. We could not have anticipated nor welcomed these changes in our circumstance, but the Lord allowed them. So what do we do now? Do we run for the hills? Nope (I couldn’t if I tried! LOL). We must trust Him. We pray. We seek His purpose in all this because, guess what? It’s still all a part of His plan anyway. Nothing catches Him by surprise. He’s still in total and absolute control. After all, its not about us, it’s about glorifying Him through our marriage. I ain’t gonna lie though, this is SO much easier said than done but, over time, He’s taught us some ways to approach and endure our troubles.
Here are some practical ways to find the “for better” in the “for worse” moments in marriage (and life).
- Be still – what does this mean in the Biblical sense? The Strong’s Concordance says to “relax”, “to let go”, “to be quiet”. Being still for me means, letting go of attempts to control or over-analyze a problem.
- Pray – pray with each other and ask others to pray for you
- Adopt His attitude towards suffering – a good way to do this is, of course, is to read His word. I highly encourage you to try a study of Psalm 22. I started studying this before I became ill and it changed my perspective of how I should respond to my own suffering. It’s ok for me to express how I’m feeling (sad, frustrated, in pain) but I also know who my rescuer is, I know He’s with me, I know He hears me, I KNOW He loves me.
- Be flexible – I have to give my husband kudos in this area because he’s a get-it-done kind of guy. When I was concerned about him taking on my roles, he said “honey, it’s what I do”. And my boys are modeling his behavior. They jump in and get stuff done too! I’m still not saying it’s all rosies and posies over here but having a flexible perspective makes things a little simpler.
- Stay connected – sometimes in our difficult moments we may be tempted to withdraw and that may be ok for a minute but in the long term can lead to isolation, which is an open door to depression or a feeling of hopelessness and quite frankly, it’s doesn’t help anything (Ask me how I know!). Stay connected to family, friends and activities that bring joy to the marriage/family. We had family in town recently celebrating the graduation of my husband’s nephew, so that was awesome for us as a whole. It twas a beautiful weekend.
- Accept help – you know what? I’m oh so happy, in God’s infinite wisdom, that He delivered me from this prideful dilemma a few years ago. He also gave me some ah-mazing mom friends that do not give me the option of saying no to their offers of help. In fact, a wise mom recently told me that when you refuse the genuine help from others, you are sort of robbing them of a blessing, so don’t be a thief!
- Be grateful – simple. There is ALWAYS something to be thankful for in the worst of situations. Clothe your thought, speech and actions with an attitude of gratefulness. Plus, it makes you feel better.
Marriage is as unpredictable, challenging yet rewarding and enjoyable. We could not have fathomed that in our 10th. year of marriage this is what we’d have to overcome, together. Yet, we’re finding the “for better” in the “for worse” as we lean on God to walk with us, strengthen us, give us patience and peace despite whether we understand or not. And along the way we have seen His grace through the love and support of others. We’ve seen our sons grow in compassion and mature in their household responsibilities. All of that has just been priceless to literally sit back and watch!
What’s are some of your “for better or for worse” moments in your marriage? What helped you to endure the challenging times?