When you experience something painful in your marriage, you have to make a decision that you will not let the pain destroy your partnership. Getting your marriage back to a good place will be challenging, especially if your relationship was shaky before the painful experience took place. Marriage can be hard work when things are wonderful, so when the “worse” comes knocking at your door, you have to decide if you will let it break what you’ve built.
You also have to remember that this decision to make things work is not yours alone to make. Your spouse has to make the decision as well. Once we say “I do,” our days of making major decisions all alone are over. Every decision you make has the potential to affect your spouse, and this is certainly the case when it comes to whether or not you want to strengthen your marriage.
If you and your spouse are on different pages, meaning that you want to seek help and they don’t, don’t lose hope. Continue working on yourself. Practice forgiveness, consider empathy towards your spouse, and if the pain is slowly eating away at you, consider individual therapy or counseling. Just
because your spouse isn’t ready, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t.
Some individuals and couples only need a few strategies to help them begin the process of working through the pain, while others may find the journey is bumpier. The source and amount of the pain have a huge impact on how much a couple needs to do to improve their marriage. Another determining factor is how each person in the couple processes pain and how compatible
those pain-management styles are with one another. Also, you have to consider what the state of your marriage was before the painful experience occurred.
Here are a few resources that can help you and your spouse get the help you need to recover from your painful experience and strengthen your marriage, so you are well-equipped when the next difficult experience comes knocking at your door.
Many people are not comfortable with therapy, and unfortunately, this is particularly true in the Black community. The reality is, however, that finding a qualified, licensed therapist can really help you get
the help you need. Most therapists see clients once a week, although you can request more frequent sessions. Many therapists accept insurance, and there are facilities throughout the U.S. that offer a sliding-fee scale, making therapy sessions more affordable to families within their communities.
This may seem very basic and that’s because it is. A trip with your spouse won’t fix your marriage, but it does allow you to step away from the pain, albeit briefly, and return home ready to seek help and move towards improving your marriage.
Seek advice from married couples you trust.
This can be tricky, so I only recommend doing it if you and your spouse are on board and you both trust the couple. I suggest approaching a couple you love and trust—two people who have been married for a decent amount of time (at least five years, but ideally more).
Get help from your church.
There is no denying the power that prayer can have on a marriage. In addition to offering you a place to pray and praise, churches often offer counseling, retreats, and ministries for married couples. Take a look at what your church offers and consider trying something you haven’t tried before.
Seeking help isn’t always easy, but when you have committed your life to someone else, you truly have to take every possible measure to make things work. You owe your marriage that much.
When you are in the midst of a painful experience, it’s incredibly difficult to recognize how much the experience will strengthen you. Yet, with time, perseverance, and hard work, most marriages can truly survive experiences that have the potential to break your spirit and leave you lost. Most marriages can come out stronger with the right advice and a strong will to move forward and find joy again.
BMWK, are you ready to seek help for your marriage?