We hear time and time again that marriage is hard work, and that marriage is tough. But what do we actually do when marriage is hard?
While I don’t always believe that marriage is as hard as some people make it out to be (that’s another post for another day), I also know that there are seasons in a marriage where life kind of takes over and you have to put more focus towards your marriage than you normally would.
During this time, it’s even more important to communicate effectively with your husband.
Think of times when life gets chaotic, when you have children, when work is busy, then there are many demands on you. It’s easy to just focus on your day to day ‘to do’ lists, all the while forgetting to check in with your partner through it all.
During these busy seasons, or rough seasons of marriage there are some conversations that you need to have.
Simple chats that can help you to make sure you’re on the same page, to reconnect with each other and stay connected through the hard times and to help support each other.
These are just some of the conversations to have with your husband when marriage is hard.
You may have other things you want to add, but these are a great starting point to get you communicating again and to remind each other that you are there to support and love each other, even when marriage is hard.
1 – What Do You Need From Me Right Now?
When things are rough, it’s nice to remind each other that you’re there for them and that you can offer support in any way, even if it is to help or just to listen.
Sometimes just offering help, and showing that you care is more important than the actual help itself.
Be sure to follow up on anything your spouse asks you to do for them. When you’re going through a stressful time, knowing you can hand off a mental load to your partner is huge.
When our daughter was born, I knew I could hand off so many tasks to my husband so I didn’t have to worry about it.
He would ask me daily what I needed from him because he knew we were adjusting to this new dynamic with our little girl and that the question needed to be asked.
2 – How Can We Take Time Together?
When stress comes into our lives and the busyness takes over, one of the first things we tend to let go of is time together with our spouse.
We convince ourselves that we are too busy or we don’t have the time or that we are too tired. When really, what we are saying is that it’s not a priority right now.
This is totally normal, and doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with your marriage.
It just means you’re going through a rough season. Which is why it’s important to ask each other ‘how can we take time together?’
Think of it like an appointment you have to keep. If you made an appointment with your doctor you’d make it happen and you’d be there.
Do the same with your husband.
Work out a time together that you can schedule in and make it happen.
3 – How Can We Simplify Things?
During the hard times, you can get so caught up and you can’t see the forest for the trees.
Every little thing seems like a big thing and the details of your days seem to just pile up.
Sometimes it’s good to take a step back and ask ‘how can we simplify things?’
Perhaps there are some stressors you can drop or delegate to someone else, or eliminate completely.
Maybe even canceling a commitment will free up the time you need to connect with each other again and just have that time together.
Often, when we feel overwhelmed, we start to internalize things and don’t communicate, or we externalize things and don’t communicate effectively.
Unfortunately, what this means is that we often take it out of our partner because they’re the closest to us, and we allow ourselves to feel vulnerable with them.
By taking things back to basics, and finding ways to simplify our lives, we can eliminate some of this overwhelm and determine if that was the problem, or if there was something underlying that we need to address.
4 – What Help Can We Get?
There are two parts to this question that can be addressed.
What help can we get to alleviate the day-to-day stress and what help can we get to help us with any problems we are having?
For the first question, what help we can get to alleviate the day to day stress, this is more considering things like perhaps hiring a cleaner (this can be a marriage saver and can reduce so much tension if there are arguments over housework), extra help with kids, asking family or friends for help or any help you can give each other.
The second part to the question is addressing if you feel like you need help from counseling to help with any problems.
I am a firm believer that all couples should go to marriage counseling before there are problems, so if you are going through a rough season in your marriage you already have the skills to handle it.
But, this could be a good to time consider help from a third party.
5 – I Love You Because…
Through everything, it’s nice to just be reminded that you are loved because… (insert reason for love here).
What this does is brings you back to focus on the little things that make your marriage sweet.
The whole ‘I love you because you make me coffee in the morning’ or ‘I love you because you make me smile’ can be the little connecting moments that are so needed when you’re going through a rough time.
You can even add a little romance to this and write a daily note to each other that just starts with ‘I love you because…’ This also shows gratitude towards each other each day.
If you are going through a particularly rough patch in your marriage, focusing on why you love each other can bring these positive points back to the forefront of your marriage. Reminding yourself why you love each other can help all the negativity pass.
6 – How Have We Handled Rough Seasons In The Past?
If you’ve been together for a while, chances are this isn’t your first rough patch or difficult season. So how have you handed rough times in the past? What worked? And just as importantly, what didn’t work.
Talking and reflecting on how you’ve handled issues in the past can help you determine how to handle issues now.
It can also remind you that you’ve been able to work through issues before and you can do so again.
7 – What Can We Do Moving Forward?
All of this communication is good, but the next step is to actually put a plan into motion so you can move forward.
What is your plan of attack? Who is responsible for what and how can you support each other? When are you going to check in again?
Maybe it’s something that is ongoing, or maybe it’s something that actually has a step by step plan you need to follow to get to a place you want to or need to be.
Whatever it is, be sure you’re both on the same page and know where you’re going from here.
Marriage can have its difficult times, there’s no doubt about that, but doing what you can to keep communicating and keep putting each other first will help you get through these rough seasons.
Start with these questions and conversations you can have with your husband when marriage is hard, and continue to keep the lines of communication open.
Remember, this is a partnership and you can get through it together, you don’t have to do it alone.
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