As you may or may not know, a while ago I published a book called “Marriage Challenges: Leaving a Legacy of Love”. It’s goal was to help couples grow their relationship by completing 52 weekly activities together. The ultimate purpose was for couples to spend uninterrupted quality time together, whether they truly completed the task or not.
Well allow me to transparently share that my husband and I have never completed the book. We have allowed the cares of life to get away from us and we forget one another, prioritize everything else, and often simply pass out from exhaustion when we do get time together.
I know this goes against everything we teach and counsel couples on, but our main issue is (let the excuses begin): the book came out at the onset of what we now term The Brooklyn Struggle.
When you talk about ‘Marriage Challenges,’ that one is at the top of our list.
We love to take vacations and mini trips to free ourselves from all of the stress and strain of life, but during the school year it’s difficult to just pack up and go. Also when you have a terminally ill baby it’s virtually impossible.
So this post is dedicated to all of the parents, grandparents and caregivers of medically fragile babies. I will open by sharing this is the most difficult experience of our lives and we don’t always get it right. We find ourselves emotionally broken and sometimes take it out on who’s there (our spouse) rather than who is at fault. We don’t always confide in one another and find ourselves not wanting to upset each other, so we keep things to ourselves. We also forget to be our place of refuge because we are so broken at times we can’t even be there for ourselves. It goes without saying that we can’t be there for one another when we can’t keep it together.
I share all of these inside details because I now know why couples in traumatic situations like this, don’t make it. I see us slipping into silence and walking on egg shells so that we don’t upset each other. I see us not discussing what needs to be discussed because it just plain hurts. I also see our relationship dying and at times don’t know how to revive it.
We’re often so busy saving the world that we forget to secure our masks first. Please don’t worry we are not headed to divorce court, we just feel the stress of it all and often misstep when trying to be the best couple we can possibly be. Also rather than feeling sorry for us would you just pray that God help us to get it right, when everything around us seems so wrong.
Now to the points to ponder for you to save your marriage before it gets to this point:
-Make time for one another. Not just gratuitous time where you sit with your electronic devices in your separate worlds, but real uninterrupted quality time. Gaze into each other’s eyes, hold hands and take time to remember why you are in the relationship with this one individual ’til death parts you.’
– Check in despite how painful it is. Share your pain, hurt and struggle. But also share the victories whether big or small. Be the confidant and the trusted friend.
I also caution you against confiding in others ESPECIALLY those of the opposite sex. As innocent as it may seem, it is so easy to slip into an intimate place when you are emotionally fragile. The enemy has used this against couples for ages because it always seems to work.
-Seek professional help. The thought of losing a child is devastating. Parenting (grand-parenting in our case) is the one opportunity we get to truly experience unconditional love. So the pain of even the possibility of loss is excruciating. Please don’t underestimate the level of trauma you are experiencing, and seek a professional before you realize you need one based on some out of character antics. Mine was the uncontrollable tearful breakdown I had in the middle of the supermarket. Message: Don’t be like me!
-Love one another. Although sex may be the last thing on your mind, take time to intimately pleasure one another. This is one area you are permitted to freely express yourself. You are able to release a lot of pent up emotions and love on your spouse at the same time. Please take advantage of the opportunity to love one another in every way in order to strengthen your bond.
-Finally but most importantly pray. Pray hard and pray often with the express goal of allowing God to sustain and enhance your marriage. Trust Him to do it, then allow Him to do the work it takes to heal everything that’s broken.
I pray that God helps you through this very trying and difficult time just as he is carrying (and sometimes dragging) us through it. Remember your marriage is worth fighting for even in the midst of the storm.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”- 1 Peter 4:8