Marriage is Hard

{Today you get to meet someone so very special to me! Pattie was my RA my very 1st semester at Southwest Baptist University … she was the first person I met when I got to SBU and has been a wonderful friend, encourager, and support over the years. Thank you, Pattie, for being so sweet to a scared little girl from Oklahoma 20 years ago … and for being an incredible friend all these years!}

I originally wrote this article for Wives of Faith, a ministry for military spouses. When Teri Lynne invited me to guest blog for her, she suggested this piece. So after a bit of tweaking, I offer for you a few thoughts about marriage.

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Photo by hyperscholar

Well, it happened again.

Another couple separates. I am shocked, and saddened, and my heart grieves. And once again, I feel blindsided by the “how could I not see it coming?” question. Then I realize: she didn’t even see it coming on their 20th anniversary. So how could I, really?

Out of the handful of divorces I’ve stood alongside in the past couple of years, this is the first military one. What makes it hurt more is not so much that they are a military family, but that they are Christians.

Often as military spouses, we might think that we have it harder than the rest of the world. The civilian world has no idea what we endure, what we go through for their freedom, and maybe they don’t. But are our marriages harder? Are our divorces worse and more tragic?

The same might be said for ministry spouses. How could any couple in the ministry decide to divorce? Well, I can speak for this viewpoint as well. No one but another pastor’s wife can even begin to understand what it’s like to share her husband with a few dozen—or hundred—or thousand—people.

What it boils down to is this:

MARRIAGE IS HARD SOMETIMES. AND IT DOESN’T MATTER WHO YOU ARE OR WHAT YOU DO FOR A LIVING.

Does it really matter why? If you’ve been married for any length of time, you know marriage can be hard. It can hurt. It can also be wonderful, and fun, and nearly effortless.

Sometimes our faults and foibles and difficulties are magnified through the lens of the military. Lack of communication when you live in the same house as your husband sure doesn’t get any better when he’s halfway around the world, does it? We can play martyr when he’s vegging on the couch just as easily as we can when he’s in the sandbox. He can be the strong silent type anywhere. Because we’re ourselves. It’s like the old saying, “Wherever you go, there you are.”

At the same time, we can learn to make the best of a situation and turn it around to our advantage. Find ways to connect, to be a team, whether we’re ten feet or five thousand miles apart.

The same might be said of any couple. We need each other. We need to learn to communicate, to connect, and we need to make time to do it, in spite of the church’s calendar, his job’s demands, and our own feelings.

So what does all of this look like? Well, I’m still learning. I was 32 when my parents split up after 35 years of marriage. Up until the moment I heard the words from my mother over the phone, I believed my parents’ marriage to be the ideal. The one to emulate.

What I have learned is this: We should never take anything for granted. Ever. That includes our husband and our marriage, the relationship that mirrors Christ’s love for the Church.

If you find yourself in need of some help in your marriage, let me encourage you to seek counseling. Check with your pastoral staff at church to see if one of the pastors would be willing to counsel you or offer a suggestion for a Christian counselor in your community. If you’re a military wife, there are resources available as close as the chaplain for your post or base, or as anonymous as Military One Source.

Don’t try to fix it alone. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. This is your marriage. Fight for it with everything you’ve got.

Pattie married a pastor and now finds herself the wife of a military chaplain! She lives with her Chaplain Hubby, is raising two girls, is owned by two dogs, and writes from the chilly prairie state of North Dakota. You can find her blogging about books and writing at Fresh-Brewed Writer and about military stuff at Wives of Faith.

Marriage is hard … life is hard … and we were not meant to walk through it all alone.

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7 Replies to “Marriage is Hard”

  1. My parents divorced after nearly 30 years of marriage. It was shocking to say the least.

    Marriage is hard—but most things worth having are hard.

  2. "This is your marriage. Fight for it with everything you've got." Yep, even when life is "well" and you don't think you have to fight. This was another good one sis. Hello Patty! Greetings from the great state of OK!

  3. Brooke McGlothlin says: Reply

    A couple I considered my 2nd parents divorced recently and it was a brutal split. I was heartbroken and surprised at the impact it had on me, now many years after my closest times with them. They were my mentors…taught me about sexual purity and devotion…sticking it out in the hard times. And now they've split. They're divorce made me feel, for the first time, that my marriage might not be as safe as I thought it was. I was paralyzed for several weeks. Finally, the Lord brought me around and I now see this as an opportunity for me to wake up and realize how hard marriage can be and that it DOES take constant work and commitment. I never want to take my precious hubby for granted. Lord bless you!

  4. Lori Zimbardi says: Reply

    I am divorced from my firstborn's dad and my current hubby and I were heading the same direction which would have put my secondborn in the same hard situation. Thankfully God did an amazing work in our marriage. We are currently speaking to our church about that very topic and how we were transformed due to the love, support, encouragement, accountability and counsel of our church family. Great Post. It seems as if Teri Lynne has the greatest friends ever.

  5. Traylor Lovvorn says: Reply

    Great post!

    My wife and I were married for 11 years before my addiction to pornography ripped our family apart. We were both Christians, yet we were running to each other as our source for life…rather than running to our Savior.

    After 6 years of divorce, we reconciled and were miraculously remarried last October. (Our Story) We have learned that marriage is indeed hard and have found that one of the main things that Christian couples often don't understand is how to "fight fair".

    So many come into marriage with the idea that there should never be disagreements instead of knowing how to handle the imminent conflict that comes from two lives becoming one.

    Thanks for such a wonderful post and for the reminder to all of us that marriage is hard.

  6. Muthering Heights says: Reply

    What a wonderful guest post!! Thank you for sharing, Pattie!

    Marriage IS hard…but so is anything worth fighting for! 🙂

  7. Thank you all so very much! I appreciate it.

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