We all face those drought periods in life – where things feel stale, stagnant like nourishment is so scarce that we are crawling around on all fours to find the nutrients our bodies and minds so desperately crave. We feel like we are trudging through muddy and uncertain waters – lost and hopeless. Our marriages also face uncertain periods, and periods when we SO badly want to see the things we have worked so hard and diligently for come to fruition.
My husband and I married at nineteen and twenty years old. Pretty soon after we wed, my husband was unexpectedly laid off from his job. Not long after that, I graduated from college and he pursued other things. When I graduated and made a career change to a High School Athletic Director, my job became my life. I was gone for 12-15 hours a day. When I was home, I was still answering emails, taking phone calls, making sports schedules, and triple-checking everything. During this time, we had a miscarriage and it felt like we were growing further and further apart. We were emotionally and spiritually distanced during this time. The year after our miscarriage was nothing short of trying.
There are three lessons from this season of drought in our marriage that I wanted to share with those who may feel their marriage is spiraling:
- Do not let the troubles and changes define you.
Job losses, career changes, miscarriage, financial struggles, and unrealistic expectations are all temporary troubles and changes that will try to steal your joy in marriage. They can strengthen your marriage rather than tear it apart if you take the time to communicate and spend time together even when it is difficult.
Make the time. Start the conversation. Cry together. Budget together. Make big decisions together. Support one another’s dreams.
It can be so easy to try handling big issues alone, but we must tackle the droughts in life by uniting as one. Quality time is nourishment. Processing feelings together is nourishment – even when it is difficult. Merge your lives together rather than chasing all of your dreams separately.
- Do not hide your season of struggle from your support system.
To be perfectly honest, my husband and I have been through some terrible financial and emotional seasons in our marriage that most people know nothing about. We are pretty private people (you know, other than being a writer who writes on the surface level of our struggles) who kept so much in for so long. It is so freeing to admit our seasons of struggle now. At one point in our marriage, we had to give almost everything up to deal with years of poor financial decisions very early on in our marriage. We harbored that pain and bitterness for a long time. BUT GOD. He reminds us constantly that He is good and can use our seasons of struggle. And He did. He uses these seasons of struggle to show us that miracles happen in the waiting. He showed us the meaning of finding beauty and contentment in the mundane.
Ask your close friends and family for prayer if you are in a season of drought. You do not have to share private details if it is specific to your marriage, but be vulnerable when you can. We are all human. All marriages and relationships go through seasons of growth and seasons of drought.
- Even when we cannot do something – GOD CAN.
There have been so many times in our marriage and personal lives when we knew that we could not accomplish something. We knew that we could not make it happen. We KNEW that things would not work out on our terms. With God, anything is possible. When God leads, anything can happen. When we call out to God during our hours of desperation, He can and will work miracles. So much can happen in the waiting – we must open our eyes and let God work.
It was once said, “It is okay to pray for a beautiful future, but don’t forget to live this beautiful life God has given you today.”
We cannot get so caught up in our plans for the future of our personal lives and marriage that we stop living it and watering it today.
Water your marriage and let it bloom. Do not run from the seasons of drought – they can make you stronger together.