Life has made it very difficult for me to work out on a consistent basis. I do it just enough to be really sore afterwards–for days. My endurance is lacking. How do I increase my endurance? By doing what I know to do regularly and without cutting corners.
It’s the same in marriage. We are called to endure many difficulties and adjustments in marriage.
- Change of job/career
- Return to college
- Adding a new baby to the family
- Divorce or death of a friend or family
- Prolonged illness
Yep, had to add the COVID quarantine to the list. Talk about endurance!
The Bible talks about this in 1 Corinthians 13:7
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (emphasis added)ESV
We are aware of many marriages struggling in difficult seasons. It puts a strain on us as well because we care deeply for those hurting. But how can we apply endurance to our own marriage?
I believe it is like exercise–do those things that you know will strengthen your marriage, and keep doing them. Even when you don’t “feel” like it.
Try reading a good book on marriage together and discuss it as you go. We love Gary Thomas’ book, Cherish, because it talks about the good of marriage more than how to deal with the problems in marriage. It is positive and uplifting–something we all need right now. This is what we call Intellectual Intimacy, which is helping each other grow in knowledge and truth.
Check in regularly with your spouse to see how they’re doing today. Don’t assume that yesterday’s victories are today’s realities. We are human and we need daily encouragement. This is Emotional Intimacy and helps you grow closer heart to heart.
Build your Spiritual Intimacy by praying and reading your Bible together. We use the You Version app on our phones and choose a devotional to read at the same time. This allows us to have our time alone with the Lord, and then discuss what we are learning. It has been a great way to connect spiritually.
Also don’t neglect gathering together with your church family. Our church has been meeting mostly on-line for months. It is easy to get comfortable with “couch church”, but this is not what God has called us to do. The Bible says to not neglect gathering together “as some are in the habit of doing”. We are just starting back and even with the mandatory masks, it is worth it. God has used these relationships to help us endure some of our most difficult seasons in life. We need each other.
When Physical Intimacy becomes difficult or strained, talk about it. Ignoring each other and pretending all is well is the cowardly way to deal with sexual struggles. Endurance means I will pursue you continually as long as we both shall live. This is the long-range view of marriage and it is what helps us endure any and all hardships that come our way.
Jesus promised us that in this world we would have trouble. But He didn’t stop there. He continued, but be of good cheer I have overcome the world. This is the ultimate reason we endure, because Christ has made a way for us to do so. If He says we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength, I am confident He meant ALL.
In what areas are you finding it hard to endure? Does your spouse know? Do your close friends know? We encourage you to make sure they do. This is how we endure to the end for God’s glory.