We all get discouraged. The triggers for discouragement can come in all sizes and shapes. Perhaps a mean comment was made at work. It could be a season of hardship in a relationship. Financial challenges can weigh us down. Not making the spiritual progress we desire can be frustrating.
Sooner or later in marriage, your spouse will face discouragement. We regularly talk to couples at marriage conferences and retreats who want to support their spouse when discouragement hits.
Here are four things you need to know when your spouse is discouraged:
1. You are uniquely positioned.
You know your spouse more intimately than anyone else. You are Gods’ gift to them “for better or for worse.” As such, you’re the perfect person to let your spouse know that no matter how bad things may be, you love them unconditionally.
Your empathy for their situation will help them realize that they are not alone. (You can read more about how to be empathetic here.) In the Bible, Zechariah and Elizabeth went through decades of being childless. And yet their commitment to each other gave strength through their years of sadness. They shared the pain and years later, they shared the joy of God’s provision. You are uniquely positioned to enter your spouse’s pain and walk alongside them.
2. You are extremely equipped.
The Bible says that our hope in Jesus is “an anchor for the soul, firm and secure,” (Hebrews 6:19). You are able to bring a spiritual perspective to the situation that has your spouse discouraged. Remind them that Jesus has not abandoned them. Reassure them that the same God who raised Jesus from the dead will give them guidance through their valley.
Recall with your spouse the times when they have experienced God’s provision and strength in the past. Bring up examples in the Bible where God brought his strength and deliverance.
Corrie ten Boom was a Christian Holocaust survivor. She wrote, “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” You are extremely equipped to shore up your spouse’s faith when they feel weak.
3. You are supernaturally connected.
Because of your relationship with Jesus, you can pray for your spouse. Ask them if you can pray for them. Then place a hand on them and pray. Ask for God’s strength. Call out for God’s comfort. Request God’s wisdom (See James 1:5).
Commit yourself to pray privately for your spouse. You may even choose to fast for one or more meals on their behalf. Think about this: if you don’t pray for them, who will? You are supernaturally connected to intercede for your spouse!
4. You are creatively empowered.
Pray and think through some different ways that you can bring encouragement to your spouse. You know them best. Would they like a note? Would they appreciate words of encouragement? Perhaps a special gift that would remind them that you are thinking of them? Maybe all they need is a long hug or massage to feel connected and less alone.
God will use you to bring hope and encouragement to your spouse. As he does, you both will be moving ahead as you build your marriage.