What to Do When Hard Times Hit

Problems. Pressure. Perplexity. Panic. Every marriage faces them to some degree. Sometimes a tragedy hits with the force of a wrecking ball, then goes away—an injury, financial reversal, an argument. Other times the same nagging problem can hover like a dark cloud for months or even years—chronic illness, a rebellious child, infertility, addiction. Since we live in a fallen world, no family is exempt. It’s not a matter of if your marriage will face pressure; it’s just a question of when.


When life is good and problems are minimal, it’s pretty easy to keep a marriage relationship positive, productive, and even growing. But what happens when your love boat springs a major leak, when the devil blindsides you with a wicked sucker punch, when an unwise decision on your part sets you back in some way? Is your love for one another strong enough, deep enough, and tenacious enough to survive the worst life can throw at you? Or do you feel yourselves crumbling under the weight of pain, problems, and tragedy?

If your relationship is founded on God’s kind of love—persevering love—you can survive anything, even the difficulty you may be struggling through right now. Notice how the apostle Paul describes the tough, enduring side of agape love in 1 Corinthians 13:7: “Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”

Love never gives up.

When family life hits a rough spot, what are we tempted to do? Quit—quit praying, quit going to church, quit trusting our spouse, quit trying. God’s love in us doesn’t quit, and this bedrock of never-give-up love is just beneath the muck and mire of the problem you feel stuck in. Dig deep for it—and keep persevering.

Love never loses faith.

Whose fault is it when something goes wrong at home—an illness, an injury, a conflict, a disappointment, a betrayal? Don’t you sometimes find yourself pointing the finger at God? “You failed me. You’re punishing me. You don’t really love me,” we murmur. God is big enough to have prevented your problem. But how could he build your trust in him if you lived in a bubble of safety in which you had no need to trust him?

Love is always hopeful.

Worst-case scenario, even if your situation never improves, God’s love will bond you and your spouse into lifelong friends as you persevere together. Even if your life or marriage reads like a Stephen King horror story, God will write the final chapter—and it will be a happy ending beyond your wildest dreams.

Love endures through every circumstance.

If you didn’t have any troubles and if some of them didn’t seriously test your mettle as a person or a couple, you could never know how strong and enduring God’s love is. Any pressure or problem has the potential to permanently undo your marriage. But it also has the potential to unleash a godly love that won’t just hang on through the calamity but hang on and thrive

Take time to pray today, asking God to empower you and your spouse with a love that perseveres and thrives through every trial. A love that will bond you closer to Him and to each other. To have this kind of love in our marriages, we need God’s love flowing in our hearts, motivating our actions and fueling our faith and hope in Him.