4 Keys to Longsuffering as a Couple
By Lynette Kittle
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” - 2 Corinthians 4:17
There are couples in difficult marriages, individuals who are enduring hardships and suffering in their relationships. Maybe you are one who is suffering in your marriage.
Serving as a pastor, counselor, and chaplain, my husband has ministered to many who find themselves in very difficult marital relationship. From unfaithful spouses to dying husbands and wives, many couples find themselves in situations they didn’t ever anticipate facing in marriage, situations they don’t want to be in but must now address.
They are suffering through challenges and heartbreaking circumstances, often not knowing how they are going to make it through another day.
Present-day culture says if a marriage isn’t working, or is inconvenient, or hard, you should leave because you deserve to be happy. Sadly, walking away is often encouraged. Modern day society doesn’t allow much room for longsuffering in relationships.
Sticking with each other through tough times is at a new low. So how does a couple hold up and hold on amidst difficult circumstances? What are the keys to staying married through thick and thin?
1. Cultivate a resistance to divorce. Don’t consider divorce as the answer to your problems or situation, but rather see it as an enemy of your marriage, not a solution to your issues. Don’t see it as a viable option in your marital relationship.
Hold on to what Mark 10:9 explains, “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
Remember how God sees you and your spouse as one flesh. “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).
Regardless of divorce statistics, choose to believe, “I can do all this through Him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).
2. Keep your heart soft toward God, which will in turn, keep your heart softened toward your spouse. “Jesus replied, ‘Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning’” (Matthew 19:8).
So, what is the answer for those whose hearts are already hardened toward their spouse? Ask God to soften your heart. Turn toward Him and surrender your marriage to Him. Ask Him to have His way in your relationship.
3. View your suffering as temporary, rather than never-ending. Compared to eternity, Scripture says a lifetime is like a blade of grass (1 Peter 1:24).
Yet when experiencing suffering, months, day, and even minutes, can feel like they drag on and are never-ending. At times, the thought of continuing on can seem overwhelming.
The Apostle Paul, who experienced much suffering, explains in Romans 8:18, “I consider that our present suffering are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
4. Ask God to give you His joy, strength, and comfort in your situation. Suffering is hard. It’s easy to feel worn down, weary, and hopeless at times.
Even so 1 Peter 4:13 urges, “But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the suffering of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.”
As well, Isaiah 40:29, reassures us that, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”
If anyone understands your suffering, it’s God, and He knows how to comfort you in the midst of it. 2 Corinthians 1:5, explains “For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.”
Lynette Kittle is married with four daughters. She enjoys writing about faith, marriage, parenting, relationships, and life. Her writing has been published by Focus on the Family, Decision, Today’s Christian Woman, iBelieve.com, kirkcameron.com, Ungrind.org, Startmarriageright.com, growthtrac.com, and more. She has a M.A. in Communication from Regent University and serves as an associate producer for Soul Check TV.
For More Great Resources for Christian Couples, Visit Crosswalk's Marriage Channel.