6 Questions to Ask When Married Life Seems Tough

No one ever posts a photo of two people ignoring each other at the dinner table.  No one posts a photo of him sleeping on the couch or her curled up in the bathroom crying.  And so it’s easy to look at our neighbors or Facebook friends or whomever and wish that our marriage was like theirs.  After talking to a friend about relationships recently, I realized that there are some questions you should ask yourself  about married life when things aren’t going the way you had anticipated- 6 questions to ask when married life seems tough.

If you’ve read our family’s story, then you know that my husband and I were each married once before we married each other. I haven’t written on marriage on the blog very often because to tell you the truth, I’ve thought that no one would want to read marital advice from a woman who is married for the second time. But after almost 14 incredible years of marriage to my husband, I’m beginning to realize that the two of us could write a book about “what we know now that we didn’t know then.”

Yesterday my husband’s nephew married a wonderful girl and our family enjoyed watching the two of them unite in marriage. The beautiful moments of the wedding in word, deed, and environment led me to  mentally acknowledge that every moment of their marriage won’t be this perfect.

Regardless of the personality shifts or age changes or life circumstances, it’s easy to think that the marital grass is greener on the other side of the fence. One of our wedding dinner table conversations last night pointed out the fact that if we look at marriages on social media, they can appear to be very perfect.

No one ever posts a photo of two people ignoring each other at the dinner table.

No one posts a photo of him sleeping on the couch or her curled up in the bathroom crying.

And so it’s easy to look at our neighbors or Facebook friends or whomever and wish that our marriage was like theirs.

After talking to a friend about relationships recently, I realized that there are some questions you should ask yourself  about married life when things aren’t going the way you had anticipated- 6 questions to ask when married life seems tough.

Or when the marital grass on the other side of the fence is looking so much greener than your own.

1. Am I watering?

Have I been pouring into my marriage or sucking the life out of it? Without deposits of time to pour into a marriage, you can be sure it will dry up.

2. Am I fertilizing?

Have I taken the time to seasonally nourish my spouse? Spelled out plainly: Do I remember important dates in our relationship? Do I encourage my spouse’s goals? Do I praise my spouse’s achievements?

3. Am I pruning?

Sometimes we need to trim off a few dead ends to keep marriage fresh. When we’ve settled into habits that aren’t appreciated by our spouse, then it’s time to get rid of those habits.

4. Am I weeding?

If bitterness has taken root and crabgrass is overtaking the whole yard, no wonder the neighbor’s grass is looking better. As my father-in-law prayed yesterday, “Lord, let us remember not to let the sun go down on our wrath but to forgive one another each day.”

5. Am I seeding?

Those worn out places of marriage may need a little revitalizing! Do something new together. Try a new restaurant. Plan a weekend trip. Grow new areas of interest together! My hubby and I found running is a wonderful way to seed our marriage.

6. Do we need to seek professional advice?

How do we know when to seek marital counseling? When either one feels deeply that outside assistance is needed.

There are times when married life doesn’t just seem tough, it is tough. But the questions above are ones that can be used to take a step back and determine if we are ready to be part of the solution.

They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. Psalm 126:5

Which of the questions above causes you to reflect more? I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments.

Rachel

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16 Comments

  1. skatblueeyes says:

    I’d think many people would love to read your marriage insights! Lots of Christians have either divorced or remarried, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have any marital wisdom to share.
    Personally, I think a easy way to fertilize & water everyday is to be courteous to your spouse. Make a habit of saying please & thank you rather than taking them for granted.
    I’ve been married to the same great guy for 35 years & I appreciated your post. Thanks!

  2. What amazing writing & such incredible insight! Marriage is tough, but I relate to so much of what you wrote. I’ve only been married 5 years, but we’re a blended family & that dynamic takes its toll on our relationship a lot. Add money problems, 2 miscarriages, health issues (although manageable), daily stress, and the million random differences between men & women that tend to frustrate…yes, it’s through God’s grace & direction that my husband and I have made it this far. We’ve decided we’re in this together, as a team. Although we acknowledge we need to listen to & seek out our coach’s plan more, I’m determined to bring God into focus in our marriage more this year. I definitely need to learn to plant more seeds in my marriage. God bless you for writing this article!

  3. I’m glad you decided to post about marriage! What a blessing your words have been to many ladies already!
    My husband and I have been married 13 years (the 27th of this month). We have a wonderful marriage. We have grown closer this year than ever before. That was through hard times though. We have lived with his parents for the past 10 years. I could definitely use some prayer as some times are more difficult than others.
    The point that you made about seeding is the one I need to work on.
    Thank you for following the Lord’s leading and writing this post!

  4. I related to all and am standing for restoration. I was encouraged that I shouldn’t give up on my marriage. From Gods word, it seems pretty important to Him so I have to believe He’s the only one who can turn things around because the battle is with the enemy, not my husband. I’ve done the best I can given the situation to water, weed, fertilize. Only God can do the rest but I hope God gives us another chance to get it right. Thnx!!!

    1. Amen Patti! Yes- we have to be willing to let God work. I certainly didn’t with my first marriage and that is not the same choice I would make if I faced it again. My spiritual immaturity years ago is evident to me now. Praying for you!!

  5. Rachel, I just have to say that this post was not only eye opening, but it was exactly what I needed. The analogy that marriage & love are like a garden made it so crystal clear. The last year has been a roller coaster of chaos. We relocated to a different state, started new jobs, bought a house, and found out we were pregnant with our first baby all within the last 365 days. Things have always been great between us, but with the baby & all the additional responsibilities parts of our relationship suffered. I’ve been reading devotionals, “self-help” books, talking to friends & desperately clinging to my Bible for the better part of the last 3-4 months. Our joyful blessing had really kicked us hard & continues to as we move from one difficult challenge to the next. I was desperately looking & praying for something like this, so thank you ever so much for this. You have changed lives with the words you have written. Keep doing what you do!

    Xoxo – Ashley

    1. Oh Ashley! Bless you for commenting. Children bring so much joy into families- but they also change things. And transition through marriage is hard, but wow- you sure have had your fair share of it this year! It’s easy to be distracted from what really matters when so many adjustments are having to take place. God is good- He can focus the two of you exactly where He wants you as long as you stay close to Him!! May His love and strength bind your hearts and home together.

  6. This is the first time I am writing a comment on a post but it hit me rigjt where it hurts cause I just had a difficult discussion with my husband last night and things are really tough lately. We have been trying for a baby for one year and a half and I am afraid I’m heading into a depression. Your words have helped me see that I am making my marriage suffer because I didn’t take out the weeds in time. Thank you! God bless you and your family.

    1. Oh Adriana! I am so sorry that you are going through this. My heart aches for you because of the circumstances, but I’m grateful that God brought you to this post. Thank you for the kind words and many blessings to you! Praying for those weeds to be uprooted and quickly filled in with fresh green grass!

  7. Thank you for posting this. I’ve been through some tough times in my marriage over the last few years. By the grace of God I think we are getting to a better place. This post reminds me and encourages me to keep fighting for my marriage. So thank you!!

    PS. I love the new site! It’s beautiful!!
    God bless and have a great day!

    1. Yes- marriage is worth fighting for. Satan does everything he can to destroy God’s beautiful creation of marriage. Thank you for the encouragement on the new site! Be blessed.

  8. It’s funny how God works. I was somewhat having an argument with my husband. Instead of staying in the same room with him and keep arguing, I decided to leave the room and just check my email. What a great timing to receive your post. As I was reading it, these words came to me ” for better and for worse, for richer and for poorer, through sickness and in health”. There was something that I felt when those words just popped in my head, and connected to what we were arguing about. 2013 had been, I guess you can say, our worst financial year relating to my husband’s job. Not to mention other things that have happen to our family. If I didn’t have God’s word to rely on, I don’t know what would of happend. I still praise the Lord above all of this, and I’m so thankful that He has always been our provider and our everything. Even though we are having financial problems, the Lord always makes sure we have food to eat everyday, we still have our home and our cars are all paid for, so I Praise the Lord for that, and we all have our health. When things are not going that great and I feel like I’m just been tortured and feeling hurt, I always feel Jesus (Yeshua) holding me on the inside so I don’t fall a part. Thank you Rachel for this post. I do need to work on a few things as well. God bless.

    1. Bless you, Eli- God’s timing is always perfect. Finances are so tough and my prayers are that you continue to rest in Jesus with your marriage. God is good!

  9. Thank you for posting this. I found it on pinterest in my feed. It really hit home, especially #1 and #4. I am going to pray about each of these and see where I can improve. Thank you so much! Sometimes as a working mother inside and outside of the house I tend to neglect things and then I wonder why they aren’t working for me…..like my marriage or sometimes my kids. I forgot how much power I have as a wife and mother and sometimes my husband/kids are not acting out or doing things to make me mad but they are responding to MY attitude.

    1. Oh mercy- it’s so easy to do. I understand where you are coming from. But don’t despair- just stay close to the Lord and He will show you and give you exactly what you need. Blessings on you and your family who is blessed to have you!

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