Becoming His Crown, Faith & Family, Marriage Help & Resources, Sexual Integrity

How to Guard Your Heart in a Difficult Marriage

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My husband and I have been together since Christmas day 1993.  And our nearly 25 years together have been nothing short of rocky and difficult. It has been a challenging journey, to say the least, but, my faith continues to grow exponentially, even in the midst of our most painful trials and tribulations.

There have been difficult seasons in my marriage when the pain of feeling abandoned and alone was too much to bear. Broken by betrayal, and hurting,  I desperately yearned for validation, affirmation, and understanding.  My life and marriage were falling to pieces and I desperately needed help and affirmation. Not knowing where to turn, I began searching the internet for the help and affirmation that my broken heart had been yearning for.

The fact is, most women aren’t willing to admit that they are in difficult marriages, (at least to other people).  Devastated by the crushing pain of rejection and betrayal, we succumb to isolation and fear to reach out and tell our stories. The anonymity of the screen feels safer.  But it’s not always so.

When you are in a difficult marriage, your heart is particularly vulnerable.

As we tread the deep waters of loneliness and isolation, we may try to compensate by joining forums and chatrooms and making new friends via social media.  We may then find ourselves having seemingly innocent conversations with the new friends we’ve made online.  And soon the conversations that once seemed so innocent become lengthy conversations about personal and intimate details of your life, marriage, and family.

So, what’s the big deal, you ask?

Let me put it rather bluntly, by sharing personal and intimate details about yourself or your marriage with anyone other than your husband, you have opened a door straight into an emotional affair, which can then also open door to full-blown sexual affairs if not stopped dead in its tracks.

When you are in a difficult marriage, your heart is particularly vulnerable. God intended for your marriage to be your primary source of intimacy outside of your relationship with Him. Even when marriage is rocky and filled with pain, your heart’s desires for intimacy do not just magically turn off. God created you to experience intimacy, and you must guard your heart against looking for it in the wrong places.

Time spent alone with God in His Word gives me the hope to power through the hardest of hard times.

So, what do I do?

Firstly, I suggest that you understand that you are vulnerable and susceptible to temptation in ways your married friends may not be. You may not be able to handle marriage-based Bible studies that your friends like and enjoy because they cause you pain. Your friends may be entertained by watching a romantic comedy, while you try your best to hide your tears. I remember holding in sobs while watching the beginning of the movie Up with my children, due to the brief love story at the beginning. Know your triggers and guard against them carefully, because indulging in them will only cause you more pain.

God created you to experience intimacy, and you must guard your heart against looking for it in the wrong places.

Secondly, understand that it CAN happen to you.  (It happened to me even though I swore it never would.)  If you have been in a difficult marriage for any length of time, you may be tempted to think you would be better off starting over with someone else or simply living alone. Sister, let me assure you, this is the enemy’s primary assault against you. In our contemporary culture, it is an insidious lie that is straight from the deepest darkest pits of Hell.  It is not from God.

Since the moment you and your husband both said “I do,” it has been God’s will for you to stay married.  Of courseI am not talking about marriages that are marked by ongoing infidelity and physical abuse. I am talking about the much more common, yet widely varied, types of difficult marriages. The marriage where verbal and emotional abuse may be present. The marital union where a husband and wife are not on the same spiritual page. The marriage that doesn’t feel in sync anymore, and perhaps never was.

These are the marriages God can resurrect from the dead. You can start over in your own marriage right now, beginning with guarding your heart.

Only God can resurrect a marriage from the dead.

Above all, you must learn how to depend on God’s Strength. When you’re in a difficult marriage, it’s easy to feel confused, alone, and all-together completely off-kilter. Arming yourself with knowledge of God’s Word will give you new perspective and strength. It is imperative to have a deep well of faith, knowledge, and strength to guard your heart in a difficult marriage. God will provide it for you, sweet sister. Just have faith, and trust Him to provide, and pray every day that He will protect you from temptation.

This scripture has helped me so many times, and has given me hope right when I needed it most. I pray it helps you too, sweet sister.

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.   (1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV)

God will not condemn you for being tempted. He is ever faithful to provide a way out. Cry out to Him in your time of need. He will draw close to you and give you the comfort and strength you are seeking in your difficult marriage.  (See James 4:8)

Even though my marriage has suffered greatly and has been scarred by adultery,  I am now learning how to guard my heart against future temptation, discouragement, and hopelessness with the help of many wonderful websites, books, and resources.  Be sure to visit my resources page and online bookstore to see the valuable resources that have helped me.  Although these resources are great and have offered much-needed help and hope for my marriage, nothing is changing me more than spending time in God’s Word each day. The Holy Spirit speaks to me through the Scriptures. God shows me just how much He loves me, even though I sometimes feel unloved. He shows me that my worth based on His love for me, not my husbands, parents, kids, or even my pets. He also gently corrects and guides me into the truth about myself, His promises, and His dreams for our marriage. Time spent alone with God in His Word gives me the hope to power through the hardest of hard times.

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