When You Feel Like Giving Up
Have you ever felt hopeless about your marriage? That it’s just not worth holding onto any longer?
I have been at the end of that rope too many times to count in the past 20 years. My close friends have said that my husband and I have heavy-duty relationship issues compared to most other couples. It doesn’t help that he and I both come from divorced families and didn’t learn the right lessons from our parents.
Feeling like giving up is all too common in our throwaway culture. It can be a strong temptation when things go south in our marriages. But in almost all cases, it’s not the right option.
About ten years into our marriage, I watched a video teaching by Gary Thomas. He said that the happiness factor in marriage predictably dips after the honeymoon. It dips even further after couples have children. That’s because life is hard (don’t you know it!).
But if couples hang on, studies show that their marital satisfaction goes up after five years, ten years, twenty years and onward. In fact, the satisfaction rate can exceed the highs felt on the wedding day if couples refuse to give up.
I clung to this hopeful truth during our brief separation and other seasons of tough love. God sent me this lifeline of teaching at just the right time, and you may be another wife who needs to hear it today.
My husband and I have endured some very difficult times. But by holding on instead of giving up, we are both getting stronger. I can now look back and track growth during and after the trials of the past. God used them to shape me into a stronger, more faithful, and more loving wife.
The Bible says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9 NIV). You don’t know the harvest that God wants to reap in your marriage five, ten, or twenty years from now. If you give up now, you may never be able to enjoy the fruits.
Waiting For Stronger
While you hold on, take measures to strengthen your faith and yourself. Early in our marriage, I began daily Bible reading and prayer to build my relationship with God. For five years, I worked on my own issues with a Christian counselor. I also read dozens of marriage books, attended support group meetings and asked friends to pray. Finally, I asked my husband’s relatives about his childhood so I could understand him better. These practices helped me hold on when I felt like giving up.
The truth is, a healthy, strong marriage is worth pursuing. Most of us can make small, everyday changes to greatly improve our relationships. Do everything you can to hold on well. Then trust God to guide you. In his perfect timing, he will show you the harvest you are planting now by holding on.
*Editor’s note: The tools offered in this post are not designed for wives who are in destructive and abusive marriages where there is any type of abuse, addiction, or abandonment. If you wonder whether you are in a destructive and abusive marriage, we recommend reading Leslie Vernick’s The Emotionally Destructive Marriage. We also recommend seeking the help of a professional counselor to help you walk through any issues of abuse and to begin your specific journey of healing.
Wife Step: What one action will you take this week to help you hold on instead of giving up?
Sarah Geringer is a speaker, artist and author of Transforming Your Thought Life: Christian Meditation in Focus and three self-published books. She is on the devotional writing teams for Encouragement for Today, A Wife Like Me, Devotable, Hope-Full Living and Woman 2 Woman Ministries. When she’s not reading over 100 books per year, Sarah enjoys painting, baking, gardening and playing the flute. Her daily must-haves are hot tea, dark chocolate, and fresh flowers. She lives in her beloved home state of Missouri with her husband and three children. Sarah writes about finding peace in God’s Word at sarahgeringer.com.