I’ve rediscovered the #1 reason God created marriage, and I was reminded of it during this year’s Marriage Rocks event.
For those of you who don’t know, Marriage Rocks is an event where we celebrate marriage by video recording three couples telling their marriage journey. We ask honest questions and we get honest answers – the real deal of everyday marriage in the real world. It’s not sugarcoated or spun with any bias. We just let the stories speak for themselves…and they never disappoint.
One of the questions we always ask is, “What’s the worst storm you’ve been through together as a couple.?” There’s two different ways to answer that questions. The storm can come from within their marriage, like a time when their relationship was in jeopardy; or it can come from outside their marriage, like the loss of a job, a sickness, or loss of a family member. This post is about the latter.
Every time we hear these marriage stories, Debbie and I are amazed by one timeless, immutable truth. Here it is: God gave us our spouse to be by our side through life’s fiercest storms.
The perfect song to illustrate this truth is “God Gave Me You for the Ups and Downs”, by Dave Barnes. It was later performed by Blake Shelton. This amazing song was mentioned by one of our recorded couples this year, and it served as the perfect theme song for the evening.
Ecclesiastes 4:12 teaches us the power of partnership…
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.
When your spouse is walking through one of life’s storms, here’s how you can help them endure until it has passed. You may not be able to prevent the storm, but you can provide an umbrella. Here’s how:
1. Help them process what’s happening. I love the scene in the movie The Firm when Tom Cruise’s character says, “Nothing’s real until I tell it to Abby.” That’s exactly how I feel about the day-to-day events of my life; not to mention the big hairy painful stuff. Many times as I’m experiencing the events of my day, in the back of my mind I’m thinking, “I can’t wait to tell Debbie about this later.” She helps me process through all of life’s crazy ups and downs.
2. Pray intelligently. The Bible says the Spirit of God knows the mind of God (I Corinthians 2:11). In other words, there is an indescribable closeness among the 3 members of the Triune Godhead. Nobody knows the mind of God the Father better than God the Holy Spirit. In the same way, nobody knows your spouse better than you, so use it to your advantage when you pray.
3. Stand with them. The New Testament says (Ephesians 6:13) that after you’ve done everything you know to do, just keep on standing:
That is why you need to put on God’s full armor. Then on the day of evil you will be able to stand strong. And when you have finished the whole fight, you will still be standing.
Nobody likes to stand alone. Having someone stand with you means everything.
4. Listen and affirm. When we’re going through a storm, we don’t need to be told what to do. We need to be heard and understood, so put your listening ears on and resist the urge to give advice. Be quick to listen and slow to speak.
5. Step your game up. Your love game, that is. Love and serve your spouse the best you know how. When your spouse is going through a storm, adjustments need to me made. How can you lighten their load of daily burdens? How can you love them through this storm?…is a great question to ask yourself – or better yet, ask your spouse that question. I’m sure it will spark meaningful conversation, and make them feel loved in the process.
Life has a way of occasionally knocking us to the mat, but one of the blessings of marriage is there’s someone there to help us get back up. God gave me you for the ups and downs? Indeed He did. Remember….you, your spouse, and God are one powerful team that can withstand any storm.
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