Mike and I got married in the late autumn of 2014. Our wedding was at the church camp that I had attended every summer for years first as a camper and now as a counselor. It is a place where my life has been changed multiple times. The evening was cold, and there were tons and tons of twinkling lights and gold glitter pumpkins. It was magical.
People warned us that the first year was the hardest. I am pretty sure those people have no idea what they are talking about because it was the second year that almost took us both out. When our marriage was falling apart, and talk of divorce began to come up, these are the verses to which I turned.
Today’s post is for my dear sisters out there are in a marriage that is struggling. You worry you’re failing and that you will never figure it out but you don’t want to give up, and you need encouragement to keep going. These verses are for you, my sweet friend.
1 — Colossians 3:14
And above all these [put on] love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness [which binds everything together completely in ideal harmony]. AMPC
Love is something you have to put on. It requires an active choice. It’s also not something you can muster up on your own, at least not God’s kind of love.
We love Him, because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19 AMPC
We love when we realize how loved we are. I start here because my breakthrough came when I returned to the truth of how beloved I was by God.
2 — 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a
Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God's love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]. AMPC
I am aware this can be an intimidating checklist of all of the things we are are not. In truth, it’s not meant to be a benchmark for you to strive alone to meet. Your view of this verse must start with the Father and His love for you.
These love verses reflect how the Father is towards you. To love the way 1 Corinthians calls us to we must first receive this love from Him and then we can share it.
Therefore I tell you, her sins, many [as they are], are forgiven her–because she has loved much. But he who is forgiven little loves little. Luke 7:47 AMPC
3 — Isaiah 43:2
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the flame kindle upon you. AMPC
He won’t give up on you or your spouse no matter the choices either of you makes. It is crucial that you know that.
You are never alone. God not angry or disappointed that your marriage has gotten a little messy or complicated. He is for you and your marriage. No matter how hopeless you may feel or how hard the struggle.
4 — 1 Peter 4:8
Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. NLT
It is easier to cover an offense when you are resting in how loved you are. In that place you are aware of how patient and kind our Father is with you so you can share that with your spouse.
Jesus covered your sin in His blood.
For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:3 NLT
Love doesn’t excuse bad behavior. However, it also doesn’t blow up or give up. Love doesn’t get passive aggressive or seek revenge. Love doesn’t bring up every other thing the person has ever done wrong and pile it on top of the current offense.
Love chooses to see past the offense and fight for connection. In connection, it then seeks to resolve the offense.
5 — Proverbs 13:10
Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom. KJV
The contention is strife. It is fights and arguments. This verse implies the only way contention comes is when pride is a factor.
This is a tough verse to stomach at times. The first half can be so weighty but don't miss out on the second half. With the well advised is wisdom. Be well advised! This was one of our biggest problems when our marriage was struggling. We just didn’t have enough wise counsel and help. We didn't let people in that could help us.
6 — 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; KJV
You need a power verse! Something you can declare and cling to over and over as you navigate the emotional rollercoaster that comes with working on a struggling marriage.
This verse was mine. I would declare it and then freak out and call my godmother crying making sure I could come home if it all fell apart. Then I’d pull it together and cling to this verse again and declare my marriage would succeed!
You need a power verse for those moments. Take mine! It's great because it reminds you that you are not powerless even when all you want to do is claim the role of the victim and cry. This verse stirs you up and reminds you that you are not a victim and you are not powerless.
This verse also reminds you who the enemy is. Spoiler alert - it isn’t your spouse. Your spouse is not your enemy, and the sooner you see and accept that the sooner you can acknowledge the real enemy that is gunning for your marriage.
7 — Proverbs 13:12
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life. AMPC
Lastly, you have got to hold on to hope. Rough marital seasons are draining, and if you allow your hope to fail, your heart will grow sick.
Get counseling, even if your spouse won't go with you yet. You go for you. The best thing you can work on when working on your marriage is you. Find a Christian or Bible-based counselor and begin going. Maybe see your pastors if this is something they offer. I think this could be especially helpful if your church is led by a married couple and you could sit down with them both.
Surround yourself with wise counsel. I can’t say that enough. That was a significant cause of problems in our marriage. We lacked wise counsel and were only taking advice from one source, and it was almost detrimental. When we let others in, we began to see a lot of things differently.
I sincerely pray that these verses comfort, encourage and stir you up. I think the number one take away is God loves you. He sees you. He’s not disappointed in you or frustrated. He hasn’t left you or given up. He is with you, and you are wildly loved by Him.
When I felt like a failure in my marriage I was overtaken one day by His kindness and love. A struggling marriage can be a distraction, so I just encourage you to make sure you stay rooted in how loved and accepted you are.
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