Miserable in Marriage

Recently, I had a blog reader point out that my post, Mess-Maker #1 – My Marriage Should Make Me Happy,” deals with the ineffective pursuit of happiness, but doesn’t address the person who is miserable in his or her marriage. After all, you’d think that a blog named Messy Marriage would directly address the person who feels miserable in marriage, wouldn’t you?

Well, I—for one—would!

I have to confess, there have been times in the very distant past that my marriage was so messy that I felt miserable in it. In fact, there was a time or two that I didn’t necessarily think about divorce, but I did think about suicide. 

 I just wanted the pain to end.

Alyssa 
Of course, I tend to think that I have a personality or inherited tendency toward depression. And it’s taken a lot of hard work, as well as, the grace of God to heal—not just my marriage—but my heart and mind too, before I began to feel a consistent sense of hopefulness.

That aside, I hope that you can tell I do NOT want to judge or tell the one who feels miserable in his or her marriage that you just need to do steps one through five, and in time, you’ll feel better!

Excuse me, but polyann-UGH!

What I do know is, God is there with you in your misery. He has not left you—although it may seem like it right now. In fact, you may not want Him with you. You may be blaming Him for your misery.  

After all, why can’t the God of the universe just snap His fingers and make your pain disappear? Right?

I’m not going to even try to answer one of the hardest questions posed since the beginning of mankind. But I will point you to look in the Bible at the life of a man named Job. And if you do, you’ll see that he asked these hard questions too, but God did not give Him pat theological answers, like …

“Just pray more, Job!”

Or

“Have more faith!”

Or

“Quit asking me all these crazy questions, dude—you’ve got the Bible for a reason!”

God was big enough and strong enough to handle Job’s doubts. And God is big enough, strong enough to handle yours.

He may not give you all the answers you seek right now, and He may not make all your problems disappear, but He will walk with youloving and comforting you in the middle of your pain.

I know, because He’s been there for me in all of my times of misery.

Give Him a chance to be there for you too.

“. . . We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God.” 
2 Corinthians 1:8b-9 (NIV)

“My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.” Job 42:5 (NIV)

I’ve included a link here with Bible verses that have been comforting to me when I’ve gone through painful times. Although these verses may not answer any or all of the difficult questions you have, they can provide much comfort and healing.

Photo credit by Alyssa L. Miller (Flickr)


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  • “What I do know is, God is there with you in your misery.”

    And sometimes that’s all he wants us to know. In those times, it is enough. Thanks for your vulnerability and honest answers.

    • Yes, often it is all we need–answers fall short. Thanks so much for weighing in, Lisa. I appreciate your ongoing support!

  • “What I do know is, God is there with you in your misery.”

    And sometimes that’s all he wants us to know. In those times, it is enough. Thanks for your vulnerability and honest answers.

  • Hi Beth! Thanks for stopping by The Messy Middle today …We have several things in common! I’m also a counselor (part of the journey was returning to the US and getting it and then coming back to China). I wonder if that’s why we both have “messy” in our titles :)! Things ARE messy, but God is good!

    • Yes, I noticed that! And the “middle” definitely is the messiest! Thanks so much for coming by and encouraging me, Amy!

  • Hi Beth! Thanks for stopping by The Messy Middle today …We have several things in common! I’m also a counselor (part of the journey was returning to the US and getting it and then coming back to China). I wonder if that’s why we both have “messy” in our titles :)! Things ARE messy, but God is good!

  • I’ve had bouts of depression on and off for years and I have found it so encouraging how the Psalms expresses those same feelings if despair. You are right, God is big enough to handle all our doubts. While most of the Psalms of lament end in praise, two do not. And they are still in the Bible. God can handle all those feelings and questions. He alone is our source for healing. Great post!

  • Thankful for your honesty here and for not simply listing out steps #1- #5 to “fix it” but for also pointing to the hope we have for true healing and redemption through Christ. We’ve seen it happen. Even when it seemed impossible.
    Thank you for sharing with NOBH.
    ~Kara @ The Chuppies

    • It feels safer sometimes to offer “steps one through five” but it often rings hollow for the person who is in severe pain. I’m so glad you and I know that Christ can redeem even most miserable of marriages or situations, Kara. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Thankful for your honesty here and for not simply listing out steps #1- #5 to “fix it” but for also pointing to the hope we have for true healing and redemption through Christ. We’ve seen it happen. Even when it seemed impossible.
    Thank you for sharing with NOBH.
    ~Kara @ The Chuppies

  • Beth,
    I agree with you about the realities of depression which shouldn’t be overlooked! But at the same time, God’s Word is always a salve that we can apply to the hurt and pain in our lives. Thanks for sharing these verses.
    Blessings,
    Ann

    • Yes, God’s word definitely is a salve that brings healing. And I’m not saying that people who have a chemical imbalance should forsake a doctor’s care, but we often forget to include the “Great Physician” in our pursuit for relief. Thanks again for your support, Ann! It’s much appreciated!

  • Beth,
    I agree with you about the realities of depression which shouldn’t be overlooked! But at the same time, God’s Word is always a salve that we can apply to the hurt and pain in our lives. Thanks for sharing these verses.
    Blessings,
    Ann

  • “Surely I spoke of things I did not see, things TOO WONDERFUL for me to know” Thanks Beth, I don’t even know why I am all weepy right now- prob’ly a spoke in my menstrual cycle. I’m not sure which is harder, facing doubt, or being a bystander attempting to walk alongside a spouse in doubt.

    • Yes, that’s another goodie from the book of Job, Kimberly. And as far as the “weepiness” – don’t give it another thought. This is as good a place as any to let the tears fall. Know that I am praying (continually) for you and the concerns you mentioned. *Hugs*

  • “Surely I spoke of things I did not see, things TOO WONDERFUL for me to know” Thanks Beth, I don’t even know why I am all weepy right now- prob’ly a spoke in my menstrual cycle. I’m not sure which is harder, facing doubt, or being a bystander attempting to walk alongside a spouse in doubt.

  • thanks for your rawness and vulnerability and not calling us to a formula!!! Polly-ann-ugh…exactly.
    Summer

    • Yeah, sometimes it gets a little raw around here, but I always hope that it also brings a sense of reality and comfort in the fact that we are not alone in our pain. Thanks for coming by, Summer! 🙂

  • thanks for your rawness and vulnerability and not calling us to a formula!!! Polly-ann-ugh…exactly.
    Summer

  • JosephPote

    I like your open honesty in talking about difficult issues.

    I think one of the most painful parts of dealing with marital difficulties is the sense of isolation. It is so hard finding someone to confide in who can be trusted to be wise and discerning, yet not judgmental.

    • You are so right, Joe. It is a very isolating place to be sometimes. I hope you will join me in praying that God would provide those who will come alongside to offer support without judgment. Thanks so much for weighing in!

  • JosephPote

    I like your open honesty in talking about difficult issues.

    I think one of the most painful parts of dealing with marital difficulties is the sense of isolation. It is so hard finding someone to confide in who can be trusted to be wise and discerning, yet not judgmental.

  • always such real and honest encouragement here…I have found i am just there to say…He will meet you…He is strong enough…somedays you just have to tell someone to just take the next breath….
    “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect”…I think this scripture fits what you do here…blessings to you~

    • Yes, you’re so right, Ro. Sometimes the shame of it all keeps us from reaching out and being authentic. And I hope that even though this is a “cyberspace” – it is still a place for those who need support and healing. Thank you so much for your kind words about how you view our ministry. It touches my heart! 🙂

  • Ro elliott

    always such real and honest encouragement here…I have found i am just there to say…He will meet you…He is strong enough…somedays you just have to tell someone to just take the next breath….
    “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect”…I think this scripture fits what you do here…blessings to you~

  • messymarriage

    Yes, often it is all we need–answers fall short. Thanks so much for weighing in, Lisa. I appreciate your ongoing support!

  • messymarriage

    Yes, I noticed that! And the “middle” definitely is the messiest! Thanks so much for coming by and encouraging me, Amy!

  • messymarriage

    It feels safer sometimes to offer “steps one through five” but it often rings hollow for the person who is in severe pain. I’m so glad you and I know that Christ can redeem even most miserable of marriages or situations, Kara. Thanks for stopping by!

  • messymarriage

    Yes, God’s word definitely is a salve that brings healing. And I’m not saying that people who have a chemical imbalance should forsake a doctor’s care, but we often forget to include the “Great Physician” in our pursuit for relief. Thanks again for your support, Ann! It’s much appreciated!

  • messymarriage

    Yes, that’s another goodie from the book of Job, Kimberly. And as far as the “weepiness” – don’t give it another thought. This is as good a place as any to let the tears fall. Know that I am praying (continually) for you and the concerns you mentioned. *Hugs*

  • messymarriage

    Yeah, sometimes it gets a little raw around here, but I always hope that it also brings a sense of reality and comfort in the fact that we are not alone in our pain. Thanks for coming by, Summer! 🙂

  • messymarriage

    You are so right, Joe. It is a very isolating place to be sometimes. I hope you will join me in praying that God would provide those who will come alongside to offer support without judgment. Thanks so much for weighing in!

  • messymarriage

    Yes, you’re so right, Ro. Sometimes the shame of it all keeps us from reaching out and being authentic. And I hope that even though this is a “cyberspace” – it is still a place for those who need support and healing. Thank you so much for your kind words about how you view our ministry. It touches my heart! 🙂

  • This has been one of my sweetest sources of comfort–knowing God is with me in the midst of struggle. Now, seeing the struggle as a blessing? A bit more of a challenge. But it definitely takes me deeper with Him. Good thoughts.

    • Yes, in an ironic kind of way, our relationship with God grows deeper and “sweeter” as you’ve said, when we lean on Him in our pain, Lara. Thanks so much for stopping by and for hosting as always!

  • Laraj

    This has been one of my sweetest sources of comfort–knowing God is with me in the midst of struggle. Now, seeing the struggle as a blessing? A bit more of a challenge. But it definitely takes me deeper with Him. Good thoughts.

  • God is big enough to handle our doubts. That is a good statement to share with any who are struggling with faith in general. God’s word and presence is indeed a comfort in times of struggle and pain- and sometimes that is what another person needs to hear.

    • It’s a simple truth that we often forget when we are ashamed of our doubts. Thanks so much for coming by and encouraging me!

  • God is big enough to handle our doubts. That is a good statement to share with any who are struggling with faith in general. God’s word and presence is indeed a comfort in times of struggle and pain- and sometimes that is what another person needs to hear.

  • To give God a chance to do His Thing… Yes, great advice for marriages, for parenting, for work, for relationships and situations of all kinds. Wise words in this place. ..

    • Yes, isn’t it sad that very often we don’t give God a chance to “do His Thing!” But when we do, He gives us the deepest sense of His comfort and peace. Thanks for stopping by and encouraging me!

  • To give God a chance to do His Thing… Yes, great advice for marriages, for parenting, for work, for relationships and situations of all kinds. Wise words in this place. ..

  • messymarriage

    Yes, in an ironic kind of way, our relationship with God grows deeper and “sweeter” as you’ve said, when we lean on Him in our pain, Lara. Thanks so much for stopping by and for hosting as always!

  • messymarriage

    It’s a simple truth that we often forget when we are ashamed of our doubts. Thanks so much for coming by and encouraging me!

  • messymarriage

    Yes, isn’t it sad that very often we don’t give God a chance to “do His Thing!” But when we do, He gives us the deepest sense of His comfort and peace. Thanks for stopping by and encouraging me!