From Worse to Better: Living Out Our Vows in
the Midst of Struggle
We stood at the altar of that big church with my white poofy dress and his black tuxedo and said those famous words. We meant them with all our hearts, but our minds had no idea what it would mean to live them out.
“I take you to be my husband, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.”
What we knew in those moments was that all our dreams were just beginning. What we didn’t know then was that over the subsequent years all the dreams we had once built would also come crashing down. Years into our marriage we found ourselves overwhelmed, brokenhearted, and wondering what in the world we were supposed to do in our marriage.
Have you been there? Are you there?
The “for better” part was all we considered when we said our vows, but we found ourselves living in the middle of “the worst” part of our vows.
So what is a couple supposed to do when they find themselves living though the “for worst” part? How do we move from “for worse” to “for better”?
Below are three ways my husband and I moved from the unhealthy season of marriage into healthy seasons.
- Change what can be changed. When marriage is hard, the temptation is to play the blame game, shift responsibility, or feel helpless. There are things that happen in relationships that are outside of our control, but there are many things that are within our control.
Here’s what we can change: Praying for your spouse, taking responsibility for your responses to your spouse, and apologizing for things you have done to hurt or wound your spouse. We can slowly shift the tone of tension within our marriage by making sure we change what we can change.
- Communicate honestly about your fears. When my husband and I were walking through a season of “for worse” we found so much of our conflict, resentment and struggle was tied to our fears. We both had fear of the other spouse leaving, fear of failing, fear of rejection, you name it, we feared it. These fears had not been communicated to one another and we were living out of our own insecurity, responding inappropriately or immaturely to each other. When we don’t recognize and communicate the fears we’re living with, we aren’t able to live out of our faith in one another and faith in God.
As we began the process of sharing our fears, releasing them, and learning that the other partner had their own fears, we began to see our marriage shift into “for better” because we began to heal one another instead of hurt one another.
Communicating our fears exposes them to the light, and once exposed they begin to lose their power.
- Commit to staying together. One of the greatest fears my husband and I faced was the fear of each of us leaving the other. When we found ourselves in the thick of the “for worse” season and each understood that neither of us were leaving, we found security and power in our commitment.
Saying yes to each other on our wedding day was easy, life was lovely and everything was beautiful. But learning to say “yes” to one another in the “for worse” seasons of marriage infused our marriage with hope and healing. Divorce became a nonnegotiable. The security of each other’s commitment provided us with healing and a deeper understanding of God’s love as we learned to love each other as God loves us.
Wife Step: Take a minute and identify what you can change in your marriage. Then identify any fears that have been lingering within you, and pray about sharing these with your husband. Finally, today, communicate to your husband your commitment to him and your marriage.
Natalia Drumm is a writer, speaker and teacher with a passion for building community and engaging women in the Word of God. She is married to her high school sweetheart, and they are raising three little boys in their home town of North Port, FL. Natalia and her husband serve in their local church as marriage small group leaders and life group coaches. They have a passion for healthy marriages as they have seen the restorative power of God in their own marriage and family.
Natalia is an assignment writer for Lifeway Women and serves as the Bible Study Content Editor at Living by Design Ministries. She also volunteers at Proverbs 31 Ministries on their proofreading team and leads a COMPEL Discovery Group. Natalia writes over at www.nataliadrumm.com where she creates devotional study books on issues relevant to womanhood and living in the fullness of God’s design for womanhood.
When not writing, or serving at church, Natalia spends her time running, reading and enjoying a good Netflix binge. She’s also not be one to turn down a cold Coke and hot chocolate chip cookie.