Going through a crisis in your marriage is not an enjoyable time. However, if you both rely on God and follow God’s plans for your life, your marriage can become stronger than ever. Every marriage goes through a crisis eventually. There is no avoiding it. This is the time that many go through painful divorces. However, if your marriage survives the crisis and you come out on the other side, you can share an intimacy you never knew was even possible. God has shown me, through my marriage, five ways that your marriage can be stronger after you survive a crisis.
1~Grow Closer to God
When crisis hits, we typically cry out to God. During these times in marriage we bring all our hope to God. As a wife and as a husband we know we need God more than ever. When I found out my husband was addicted to pornography, I knew only God would never fail me. My husband learned that only God could give him the strength to overcome his struggle. Together, we knew we had to bring prayer and reading God’s word to a main focus of our marriage. Therefore, we both grew closer to God individually. But also, our marriage grew closer to God because God became our focus instead of each other.
2~Openness in Communication
When we decide in our marriages that we are not going to quit, but we are going to get through it together, we become more open. Our communication grows to a new level that we never knew before. We learn that we are fighting through something together and that gives us openness. We share our hidden feelings more freely. We may even tell our husband things we never told him before. When our marriage hit a crisis, we felt very alone. We knew that only with God and each other could we truly work through it. We started to share things like never before. My husband, for the first time ever, was truly able to open up to me during the difficult times. I was also able to share all my private thoughts and fears with him. This set a tone for our marriage that we will have forever. It brought us to an amazing level of openness that would not have happened without this crisis.
3~Learning Each Other’s Struggles
Going through a crisis in marriage can bring out the most vulnerable things inside of us. This is the time that we really learn about our husbands. When the worst of times hit your marriage, there is no pretending and there is no strong front. Each person is exposed for who they really are. My husband and I learned such raw emotion and personal struggles about each other when we overcame the sin in our marriage. Finding out that he was addicted to pornography was so much better than not ever knowing! I never really would have known my husband if God didn’t open my eyes. Likewise, my husband never would have known how much he was hurting our marriage. Once every struggle about each other was exposed, we were just two people that needed God tremendously. Only then did we really know each other.
4~Growing in Intimacy
This relates to the three above. Once we grew in all those areas, we naturally grew in intimacy. I am talking about every kind of intimacy. Spiritually, we both grew so much closer to God. We had a real reliance upon Him. After going through a crisis we started to read the Bible daily and pray over our marriage. I am sad to say that when everything was going fine we never did this. Even though we were both believers, we did not have a daily time to pray together over our marriage. I cannot say how essential this is to every marriage. It’s the most important time we have together now.
We also grew in emotional intimacy. We are now able to talk so openly and freely. I can ask my husband any question I am thinking of. I can also share with him anything I am feeling. He is also able to connect with me by sharing his deep feelings and fears in life. Emotional intimacy has always been the most difficult for him. I know without our crisis, he never would have got there. It took a true brokenness from God for him to share his true self with me.
Lastly, we grew in physical intimacy. It’s obvious to say that when there is no spiritual or emotional intimacy, there is no physical intimacy. Of course, there may still be sex. But, I am talking about true physical intimacy. This had always been a lacking area for our marriage. My husband was overcome by his secret problems with pornography and lust. This caused him to always know that he was hiding something from me. Even if he tried not to think about it, it was always there. For me, I never truly opened myself up to my husband intimately. I held back and struggled in that area. Before our crisis, we seemed like two hidden people that could never truly connect. After trusting in God, we are finally able to see the blessings of physical intimacy. I would like to mention that it can take years to work through the physical and mental effects of pornography addiction. Both husband and wife must actively trust God and work to overcome these effects together. However, it can happen! It did happen in my marriage. I would like to write more specifically about this topic because there is so much to discuss. I plan to do that in the future. For now, I just want to explain that we have had so much growth in that area because of the crisis we went through.
After going through a crisis in marriage of any kind, many couples find a true calling for God in their life. Most often, God’s plan for our life is revealed during a crisis. God plants the seeds for ministries during a time of trauma. Once marriages make it out of the trial that could have destroyed their marriage, they often want to help other marriages that are struggling through the same thing. This is exactly what happened for me! As God began healing me, I knew I wanted to start a community for wives who are right in the middle of this crisis. My husband also wants to help men who are going through this as well. Together we want to make a stand for God’s truth in marriages. If your marriage survives a crisis you might want to help others who have gone through similar things too!
I would like to share with you one of the most meaningful things to me that Jesus said:
Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. John 12:24 (NKJV)
This is what happened to my marriage and myself. Who I was as a person became broken, so that God could use me for His will. Also, my old marriage died so that it could be reborn in Christ. The same thing can happen to you. I pray that you will trust God through whatever crisis you are facing right now and that one day soon your marriage can be stronger because of it.
If you have survived a crisis, how has God made your marriage stronger?