February 18, 2013

Catholic Marriage Series - Guest Post: When Marriage is Hard…

I love that Patty and I found each other through the world of blogging!  We have a lot in common with being newlyweds and graduate students, and she has some great posts you should check out (like this)!  Anyhow, she wrote an awesome guest post for the Catholic Marriage Series about what to do when marriage gets hard, and I hope you all take her advice to heart!  

My husband Jim and I have been married since June 22. 

(Two very special priests sharing in our holy joy…and my Deacon Daddy!)

Before our “I do’s,” I thought to myself (probably quite) naively, “Oh we got this! We love each other, we’ll have the grace of the sacrament, and we both have our faith…we TOTALLY got this.” I know humble right?? 

A few weeks ago, my Mom and I were having one of our bi-weekly lunch dates and she asked me how Jim and I were doing. My response, “Well, now I know why it is so important to get married in the Church…you REALLY do need all that grace!” We both chuckled and continued on our mother-daughter date.

But in all seriousness, I took that to some serious prayer before the Lord…especially as things in our marriage have been hard lately as we pray and work through a particular issue together. And so those are thoughts I want to share with you lovely readers today: what to do/how we handle when marriage gets hard.

1. Go to Jesus…PRAY.
Okay, probably a little obvious but really. I usually go to Adoration quite regularly, however with things being shall we say ‘tense’ on the home front; I knew I needed an extra dose of grace and strength. One particular day earlier this week, I was sitting all alone in the chapel…just me and Jesus. I was expressing and talking out loud to Him about what was going on with Jim and I. After I said my piece, I was just still and sat there looking up at the large crucifix hanging above the tabernacle; waiting for some comfort and hope in the situation. And in the stillness, the words “love one another as I love you” stirred in my heart. ‘Really, Jesus???’ I thought to myself. I thought you were gonna say something to point out how Jim was wrong/needed to change some things (remember that humility, here would be a good time to insert it!). But the longer I sat I realized, that in our marriage it takes the two of us to love one another as Christ loves us…it’s not just about Jim, or me; but about both of us working together. And marriage is about loving without counting the cost, even when I don’t feel like it, even if I’m hurt or angry about something. Every day we are both called to lay down our life for the other; no. matter. what. So yes, pray together to work through struggles and differences; even in your own personal prayer time, ask the Holy Spirit to open both of your minds and hearts to come to a peaceful, prayerful decision together as a family.

2. Show love even when you don’t feel like it Trust me. There were plenty of times these past weeks where I did NOT ‘feel’ like being the loving wife God calls me to be to Jim. But as we are working to resolve this conflict, I have been reminded and am re-committing myself to a new daily challenge: at least 3 times a day, I’m going to show him selfless acts of love, no matter the feelings. It may not sound like much, but I really feel convicted in this especially since I have a tendency to be a selfish gal at times. So far today (Saturday), I woke up early to make Jim breakfast and let him choose the music to listen as we got ready this morning (I managed to get though Bob Marley with a joyful smile on my face ;-). No matter what the issue we are facing in marriage, showing Jim that I truly love and care for him amid it all is what counts. With Lent just starting, I’m thinking the Lord will give me extra ‘practice’ at showing true love to my husband ;-) 

3. Show each other respect…even in disagreements 
In our marriage, I’m very much the emotional one (I can start bailing over some cutesy commercial on TV to losing my cool if I find his boxers on the floor for the umpteenth time). Jim is the more laid back, quite one. In some of our recent arguments, we have not been respectful to each other. You know what I mean: cutting words, slamming doors, going to bed angry. It sucks. a lot. One thing we have learned is that it is SO important to show respect to each other even if you are polar opposites on an issue. One thing we have begun doing to each other in light of this, is if we cannot calmly talk to each other about something we take time alone and write it out in a letter to each other…it helps us calm down and relax. We both usually have gone to the chapel nearby our apartment, so bringing the Lord even into our fights is good too.

The best example of forgiveness is Jesus from the cross: “Father, forgive them…” We are called to forgive just as Christ did. Always, always forgive each other. end. of. story.–

Those are just a few of my thoughts as my hubby and I work through a rough patch in our marriage. I’ll leave you all with these final thoughts…

Recently one of the readings at Sunday Mass was from St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians…you know the one.

As I reflect in learning how to work through difficult situations with my husband, and I’m coming back to these words of St. Paul.  But what I’m doing is filling in my name or Jim’s with the word ‘love.’  Am I patient and kind with Jim?  Do I protect and trust Jim? You get the idea.  Is Jim patient and kind to me?  Does he work to protect me and trust me with his heart?  And when I get to the final part “Love never fails,’ I remember that God’s love never fails/runs out/dries up on us.  Sure there will be times that are tough, but united in a sacramental marriage with Jesus and each other; I know and have great faith that our love will never fail either…and that hopefully we’ll have a long lifetime together to work and perfect it J

Chilling on a glacier during our Alaskan cruise honeymoon…pun intended ;)

        With God’s grace we can make this marriage thing work!

Patty is a newlywed and ‘newbie’ blogger.  She blogs @ www.thehappyhubbarfamily.blogspot.com (The Happy Hubbards) about life as new wife, faith, work in youth ministry, and more. Enjoy a read J


  1. We went to Alaska on a cruise on our honeymoon as well! You are so right about all of this. The advice I was given was serve. Serve. Serve. Serve when you are tired. Serve when you are mad. Serve when you don't feel like it. Serve.

  2. Great post! My daddy is a Deacon too :)

  3. I find #2 to be very helpful and I shall give it a try because I am usually demanding that my husband be the one to show me the love.

  4. I love this, Patty. Any reminder that marriage is hard is a good one. In a world where people think that we marry only for love on spouse, it's easy to get frustrated! We get married for love but also to help each other to heaven. And to try and show God's love to our spouse however feebly we may do it ;)

    Great post!

  5. Oh goodness, I love this! And I have absolutely loved all of the Catholic Marriage Series! <3 Thank you both for sharing.

  6. Incredible wisdom, Patty! And #3 is especially important to me...I, too, can let my emotions get the best of me.

    You made a beautiful bride!

    Thank you for having Patty post today, Caitlin! It was enlightening!

  7. What a lovely post! I tried to stop over at her blogspot but the link wouldn't let me. Hope Patty reads it here :) I, too, found #3 to be so very important. All of her points are important. Thanks for sharing!

  8. In college, a friend of mine told me that her parents always held hands when they were working through an argument, and I try to always remember it in my relationship with my husband. It really does work! Even if you're feeling stubborn or if a resolution to your discussion feels far off, it's impossible for me to be completely angry or unreasonable when we're touching. Thank you ladies for this!

  9. Thanks ladies! I feel kinda legit as a blogger by doing a guest post, lol! :)

  10. I really enjoyed this post. The blog address won't work for me and I'd love to read your blog as well. God Bless.

  11. I really love the show love when you don't feel like it tip. That is something my husband is so good at, and I've really had to work to improve. One thing I read in a pre-marital workbook was to hold hands when you are arguing. It is SO difficult to do, but really does help!

  12. I LOVE your marriage series and the way I came about them :) I am in my second year of marriage and going through some hardships. My friend sent me a picture with a link that somehow brought me to your page (I did a lot of clicking!) It gives me strength to read your posts and encourages me to pray harder for a happy marriage. I need to print these out and post them on my fridge to remind myself to fight fair and learn to forgive.
    Thank you!