With the understanding of how a marriage falls apart, what do we do, instead, to allow our heartache make our relationship stronger?
1. Have a firm grasp of our differences as men and women, as mentioned above.
Allow your husband to be the way he is, not expecting him to have the same emotions you have. We were created to complement each other, not necessarily complete each other. Despite the emotions encompassing you, it is helpful to apply logic and think through how God has created men and women differently. Use that knowledge to address how he is approaching it differently rather than emotionally responding.
Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. Proverbs 17:27
2. Surrender your grief to God and let Him be your comfort when your husband simply can not comfort you the way you need to be comforted.
It is not that our husbands won’t ever grieve and won’t ever hold us in their arms, while we grieve, but the reality is, most of them are just not going to experience loss to the depth that we are. We can either view this as them failing us or we can realize it is how God created them. Where our husbands “fail” us, God will hold us up.
Hold me up, that I may be safe and have regard for your statutes continually! Psalm 119:117
This can actually become a beautiful time to run to God and find an intimacy with Him, unknown before, as we allow Him to comfort us, in the absence we may feel from our spouse (and every other person we know). In our lonliness, we can grasp our Father’s heart in a new way, find a new claim to His promises, and realize just how much of our life is in His sovereign, loving, and compassionate hands.
But from there you will seek the LORD your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. Deuteronomy 4:29
3. Remember your role as wife.
While allowing a normal, healthy time to grieve, we cannot become so consumed by it that we leave behind the role that God has called us to as wives. We are still commanded to submit to our husbands. Respect is still the greatest command, and grief does not negate it.
Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands,as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with youof the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. I Peter 3:1-7
4. Seek out wise marriage counseling, if necessary.
There is no shame in this. Your marriage has been through the gamut in your infertility and/or loss. Sometimes another perspective on the emotions and rifts is needed. Wise and godly counsel to keep us accountable and to encourage us to keep on track, with what God has commanded in our spiritual walk, even when we don’t have the energy to recall it to mind ourselves or the ability to dig deep enough on our own.
Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed. Proverbs 15:22
5. Submit to your husband’s leadership with the issues.
When you part ways on the issues, such as how far to go in the infertility treatments or pursuing another pregnancy or adding through adoption, he is the spiritual leader. We are commanded to submit to him.
But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. 1 Corinthians 11:3
Submission can be our freedom. Perhaps it will not feel that way right away, but there will come a time, looking back, when we see that God led our husband. We opened ourselves to a blessing we couldn’t comprehend because we submitted to that leadership.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17
Lord willing, you both will find a compromise after prayer and discussion but, sometimes, you just will not reach the same conclusion. When this happens, we, as wives, have to submit to our husband’s decision, as he leads our family in the journey we are on.
These truths also apply, even if your husband is not a believer. Unless He is asking you to do something that God calls sin, you will still be blessed by God for honoring the head of your home. God may also use these trials in your lives to show Himself to your spouse. Allow Him to do the work through your obedience.
Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. I Peter 3:1
6. Pray for your husband. Not for your will, but for God to work what He desires to work out in his heart.
Ask God to work out His desire in your heart and in your husband’s heart. Don’t pray for your husband to do what you want him to do or act the way you think he should act, but instead, that he would be sensitive to God’s leading and that his heart would be sensitive to that which he needs to be sensitive to, for the grief process. If you pray for your husband to change the way that you want him to, you might regret that in years to come. Only God knows what you really need from your husband.
The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9
7. Work on yourself and at your relationship. Purposefully pursue dates, making love not a baby, and constant communication.
The only person that you can change is yourself. Instead of asking God for a new spouse, try becoming a new spouse. This is a conscious, if not difficult and painful choice, especially when the main emotions in our hearts are grief and sadness. However, it is a necessary choice. It goes along with the fact we were called to wife before we were called to mother and that the greatest command is to love God first and then others (our spouse) more than ourselves.
You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD. Leviticus 19:18
And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. Mark 12:33
Your marriage is still your greatest gift, though it may no longer seem that way in the absence of your precious child. Seek to nurture it, protect it, cherish it, grow it.
8. Live in the Vine.
When emotions are more than you can take, when they seem too strong to act in obedience, remember that as a child of God, it’s not up to you. You can’t, He can. It sounds to cliché, but it’s so true. You have died to the flesh. His Spirit, which raised Christ from the dead (now that’s power!) lives within you. You are the branch receiving life from The Vine. Tap into that power, tap into that life source. In your weakness let Him be strong.
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5
Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10(kjv)
Tragedy and grief can make a marriage stronger or break a marriage into pieces. Marriages that do fall apart from infertility and loss, add to the tragedy of the loss. Marriages have also become stronger because of the grief–stronger in friendship, stronger in love, stronger in testimony to God’s grace. Clinging to one another in desperation – finding security and safety in the familiar comfort of the other person – knowing the disagreements, but choosing to love in spite of them.
Allow your marriage to become a testimony rather than a tragedy or a statistic.
Original material by Melissa J Carswell, MA, BCCC. Holly M Besser. Perfect Joy Ministries ©2012. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bsbp019p12-27-12