You’d think my trickiest mothering season would’ve been transitioning from being a married mom to a single mom when I went through my divorce a couple years ago. And don’t get me wrong, that was hard, and it still can be challenging to navigate all this on my own.
And yet, that was not the toughest stretch.
My most difficult parenting season was the very-hard-marriage years. And here’s why.
Because I was trying to do what they say to do in all the articles and books and that is to never argue in front your children, which I totally understand. But what they mean when they say that is the subtle message of don’t let your children see your real marriage.
Talk about a seemingly impossible task in a marriage with abuse and addiction issues. The best I could usually accomplish was trying to stop myself from crying before reaching my bedroom door.
So, moms, if you find yourself slogging through the daily monotony of motherhood dragging behind you the ball-and-chain of a marriage that leaves you crying yourself to sleep most nights, there is hope and help.
I’m not going to give you the tips that “regular” marriages get; things like touch more and submit more and cook his favorite meal more.
I’m not saying not to do those things, but I will say that what you need is sort of extra-strength.
Pray. You may be done praying. You may not feel heard anymore. It may seem pointless. You may think it doesn’t help anything, so why bother. But I’m going to ask you to keep praying anyway. Don’t just pray that your husband will change. In fact, you might even want to take a breather on that one for a little while. Instead, I’d suggest you pray that God heal your marriage, bring you the help you need, reveal to you your true reality, and soften your heart. These are scary prayers, but they are all prayers that God wants to and will answer.
Read. You have probably read every Christian marriage book out there, like I did. And there are a ton of them. But there are very few difficult Christian marriage books out there. I’ve got two I’d like to recommend. The first is Leslie Vernick’s The Emotionally Destructive Marriage. This is the best difficult Christian marriage book I’ve ever read by a professional, and it’s practical and biblically based. And I have a new e-book/PDF entitled Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage. With all the books I’ve read out there, I never came across one written by a woman who actually experienced and lived through a difficult marriage. But I have, and I remember the pain and confusion as clear as day, and I wanted to reach out with the hope of Jesus.
Reach out. This will probably be the most difficult step. Because you maybe have already hinted about your marriage issues or you perhaps have already asked for help, and you were possibly given that “regular” marriage list and patted on the head and sent right back in to battle, weapon-less and without protection. But I assure you that there are people and places you can go to get good, solid help. I’d start with places like Celebrate Recovery or AlAnon. I’d check out a Christian counselor. And I would prayerfully seek help from your church’s leadership. However, if you do not feel heard, believed or understood, I would move on and ask again until you are heard, believed and understood.
Sweet mom trying to get through your day with the additional burden of a difficult marriage, please know that you’re not alone. Please know that God sees your tears and your pain. And please know he wants to bring you and your family healing.
You are so right Elisabeth! I too found it more difficult to be a GOOD mom in the midst of a bad marriage. So much angst and uncertainty! I felt like a was walking in a sound proof/air proof bubble. There is so much I don’t even remember if those years. And the worst part was I didn’t even know I was in an abusive marriage!!! He was so subtle and so good at convincing me “this is what godly, submissive wives do for their husbands”! Thank God for the godly counselor I finally started seeing!!
Get all the help you need ladies. And look again at Elisabeth’s post on ‘What’s Submission and What’s a Doormat’!!!
I am finally separated right now and the final straw that propelled me forward was my h’s treatment of our son. I can so identify with things being easier parenting alone than they were when I was having to deal with all the pain of my marriage every day.