There are times in your life and in your spouse’s life when you feel completely defeated. Abandoned. Sometimes trampled on by the circumstances of life. You may feel as if you are stuck in tiny, dark, pungent room and you work tirelessly to leave, only to find there is no way out. Satan is very real and in our midst, trying to steal our joy, make us feel insignificant, and make us feel as though we are not moving forward.
When we feel that we are not moving forward and taking huge strides, it’s easy to feel like giving up. This could mean that you or your spouse feels defeated within the walls of your marriage, in your spiritual journey, with a physical ailment, in your job, or perhaps with parenting.
It is important to keep our hearts in check, first, to ensure we are able to recognize when we are in a rut, and second, when our spouse needs a little extra encouragement:
1. It’s okay to have a frustrating day, but don’t let it define you.
There will be days when a few unexpected bills arrive that you know cannot be paid right away. There will be days when your child throws non-stop temper tantrums. There will be days when your spouse does not look at you with heart eyes. There will be days when you do not feel cherished or appreciated. There will be days where you feel as though you are making absolutely no physical progress even though you cut all of those delicious sweets out of your diet that you love oh-so-much. Life happens. It is okay not to always be chipper, but it is important not to dwell in that place. In these moments, it is important to pray, spend time in God’s Word, have an accountability partner who listens and speaks life into your soul, and to find small blessings even in the chaos of life.
2. When your spouse feels defeated, don’t stir the pot.
I have made this mistake one too many times. When your spouse is feeling defeated with some things going on in their life, try not to make matters worse. Instead, try to find creative ways to encourage them. Pray over them. Do something unexpected that might brighten their day. Try not to use harsh tones and make matters worse by saying things, such as, “Well, I’m sorry I can’t make you happy enough to look beyond that.” Every person faces their own spiritual and emotional battles, so it is important that we try to avoid piling on additional matters of the heart during someone’s time of crisis. Just be there for them.
3. Don’t give up and don’t wait to seek help.
I have been so burdened for our society lately. There seems to be an overabundance of divorces and suicide attempts which is covered by the media and often times, glorifies it. Our world is broken. Our society is in need of hope. People are longing to be loved. People struggle, yet they are afraid to seek help due to the fear of being judged, abandoned, talked about, or look like they are not “Christian” enough. Don’t be afraid to seek professional help for your struggling marriage or ask your spouse for help if you are personally struggling. Don’t wait until you and your spouse feel like you are drowning before you talk to someone.
4. Always remember to love people.
If anything, I have been reminded through the nonstop media coverage of divorces and suicide attempts that everyone struggles. Even the strongest marriage goes through tough seasons. We should ask people how they are doing and mean it. We should tell our spouse how much we love and appreciate them. We should be the kind patron in the coffee shop who smiles and opens the door for people. We should avoid becoming involved in road rage. We can ask someone crying in the doctor’s office if they are okay. Jesus set the ultimate example of loving people and talking to people – no matter what they looked like or what rank they had in life.
We are all human beings who have days that leave us feeling defeated and forgotten, and desiring to love and be loved in return.