One in Marriage: How to Help Your Spouse With Their Struggles

Friday, September 1, 2017

A while back, I was talking to my friend Grace, who usually has some pretty awesome things to say. We were talking about marriage, and the difficulties that it can sometimes bring. We talked about our own imperfections, as well as the imperfections of our husbands (not in a snarky way). I mentioned to Gracie a few of the things Taylor tends to struggle with and that sometimes I don't give as much mercy as I should.

Per usual, Grace knew exactly what to say (I'm sure it was more like God knew exactly what she needed to say. lol).

"Kristin, when we get married, we become one with our spouse. That means that now, our spouse's problems are our problems too. So instead of getting upset about it, it's our job to help them overcome their struggles- just like we would try to improve our own shortcomings".

Smart lady, huh?

And even though that info wasn't necessarily new to me, it was still a very timely reminder that my husband needs a partner- a helpmate- not a nagging woman with a bad attitude.

So how can we make our husband's problems our own in the most helpful way possible? Continue reading to hear my thoughts.

When we become one in marriage, we also agree to take on our partners problems as our own and to help them in their struggles. How can we do that? I've got some tips for you!

Identify the Struggle & the Source

The first step is making sure we even know what it is our spouse is struggling with. Sometimes we really aren't sure. In those cases, ask. Espress a desire to help and uplift, and try to have a conversation about it. If they aren't even sure of the answer, ask them to think on it for a day or two and them come back to the conversation.

Remember That Your Struggles Aren't Any Better

Once the struggles of your spouse have been identified, it's tempting to have a "better-than-thou" attitude, or begin thinking that at least you don't have that struggle (whatever that may be).

Remember that you are just as imperfect as they are, and that just as you need grace and patience, so do they.

Pray and Study Scripture Together

Staying in God's word and making sure that you are both focused on God and living for him is crucial to personal growth for anyone who is trying to follow God. Be sure that you and your spouse are staying immersed in the truth of scripture, which is "useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness" (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

Make a Game-Plan

What can help your spouse create better habits, make better choices, etc? What is it that encourages them to do better, and what is it that tends to set them back? I guarantee you that I know one thing that doesn't help: nagging. And I can also guarantee you that I know of someone who is a champion nagger. Who? This girl, right here *covers face in shame*.

I can't tell you what will help your spouse the most. They may not even know at first. But trust me- nagging is not helpful.

Honestly, just pay attention. For example, does your husband struggle with laziness? Try to identify if it's worse when he is stressed, bored, etc. Then try to create situations that will help him avoid a lifestyle of laziness.

Ask for Help in Your Own Struggles

Sometimes, if we ask our spouse to help us with our own struggles, it takes their mind off of their own. For instance, if you struggle to eat healthily, asking your hubby to help you make wise decisions with food. Then, they may be able to focus more on helping you than on their own struggles.

It's not a guarantee, but for some spouses, a distraction is all they need at the beginning of the process.

Seek Counsel If Needed

I fully acknowledge that there are some issues that need professional attention. If your situation fits into that category, I am not going to pretend that I know how to help, because I just don't.

For more serious situations such as substance abuse, verbal abuse, sex addiction, continual, frequent, and/or unrepentant use of porn, constant communication issues, or "unresolvable" arguments, seek professional (preferably faith-based) help.

And for any sort of physical abuse, seek out a safe place to stay and the police.

Finally, Keep At It!

We all know it takes longer than a day or two to form good habits when we are used to something else. So keep at it, be consistent, and keep being an encouraging, grace-giving spouse as your partner strives to improve in their problems, struggles, and imperfections.

Do you have any tips for helping a spouse with their struggles? Comment below.

How can we help our spouses with their struggles? I've got some tips for you over on The Peculiar Treasure.

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