Facing Life and Death Moments in Marriage
Updated: Feb 19
This post is deeply personal. It’s somber and serious, joyful and hopeful, this is our story today.
Life is going to throw you hard stuff. I wish it wasn’t true but sometime in your marriage, probably without notice, you’ll face a crisis. Financial crisis. Medical crisis. Employment crisis. Parenting crisis. Emotional crisis. It feels like every day we learn about another couple facing desperate situations.
My mother-in-law passed away last week, September 1, 2016. She was an amazing lady who endured so much suffering in her life and still she remained full of faith and hope. The last eight months of her illness launched us out of our comfort zone and her passing leaves us extra emotional. We’re leaning heavily on God’s unfailing love as we fell the full impact of loss.
When you find yourself facing life and death moments in your marriage:
Commit to what’s most important.
Crisis has a way of re-prioritizing life. Focus on relationships in the midst of crisis. Other goals and activities dim in importance when you are faced with a life or death situation. It’s not enough to identify your priorities, you must then commit to them.
Build a firm foundation.
No matter what season you’re in right now, invest in your marriage heavily. There’s no telling when you’ll face an impossible situation forcing you to rely on the foundation you’ve built. A feeble foundation won’t last when storms blow into your life. The foundation of trust and love Hollie and I have built over the years has provided us a solid marriage foundation from which we’ve launched into the scary unknown.
Everyday, and especially when facing crisis, you must communicate love with your spouse. I believe every form of communication in marriage adds to or takes away from connection. Focus on providing affirming words to your spouse. The details about the dishwasher and the soccer schedule can wait. Use every opportunity when hearts are broken to pour love into your spouse.
Allow for emotion.
Speaking of broken hearts and emotion, when you’re facing desperate times, expect a variety of emotions. Anger, sadness, joy, disgust, and fear are all invited to this party. Although it can feel like uncontrolled chaos it’s important to express your emotion. Properly expressed and validated emotion begins the process of regulating emotions.
Look for bright spots.
Crisis is certainly a stormy season but if you look closely you’ll find a silver lining or a ray of sunshine eventually. Hollie and I have enjoyed times of celebration when we’ve witnessed a medical miracle or remember the humor in her mom’s voice.
Let distance grow fondness.
You may have heard the saying “distance makes the heart grow fonder.” It’s been true for us while we’ve lived 500 miles apart. But distance only grows fondness if you commit to connecting and build anticipation for your return.
Exhaustion, especially emotional exhaustion, is a brutal bugger. It will drain you of your ability to think and respond rationally. That’s ok. You’re allowed exhaustion when facing difficult circumstances day after day. The important part is to recognize exhaustion as an understandable response rather than a personality flaw.
Appreciate facing big deeply profound moments together.
Hollie and I experience amazing times of connection simply by noticing how profound these moments are in our life. Facing life and death moments will either divide and destroy your marriage or strengthen your connection. Hold each other close and resolve to face the storms together. Reflecting on the enormity of the moments we’ve shared provides remarkable perspective on the privilege of being married to my best friend.
Rely on God.
Facing the scary unknown has drawn us closer to the one who holds the future and loves us more than we can grasp. We have found strength in weakness as we desperately ask God for continual direction and healing. The most intimate activity spouses can experience is praying together fully relying on God.
What would you add to this list?
Share what helped you face life and death moments in your marriage.