Discouraged in Your Marriage? 5 Reasons to Have Hope

Think back to your wedding day. Whether you’ve been married for ten years or ten months, I know the memories are vivid and emotionally charged. 

Your husband-to-be looked so handsome—and so nervous. And you, in your fairytale dress, felt more beautiful than you’d ever felt before. Surrounded by those who loved you, you promised before God to love, honor, and cherish each other forever. 

You meant it with your whole heart—and you still do—but life isn’t a fairytale. Some days, marriage is hard. Really hard. 

If you’re feeling discouraged in your marriage today, I’d like to share five biblical reasons you can have hope.

1. The 80/20 ratio prevails in life and in marriage.

When we’re in the midst of a tough spot in our marriage, we often feel as though our relationship will always be bad/sad/hard. We’ll always be fighting. We’ll never communicate well. We’ll continue to struggle and never be happy.

Truth be told, in most situations, the 80/20 ratio prevails. Eighty percent of the time, our marriage is good—or even great. Twenty percent of the time it’s bad/sad/hard.

The same is true in life. Most of life is good—or even great. Occasionally, hardship comes. Sickness interrupts our health. An unexpected financial challenge strains our bank account. Depression casts a shadow over our hearts. When we enter a challenging season, it’s easy to think life will always be this way. But it won’t. Challenges will come and challenges will go. 

“In this world,” Jesus prepared His disciples, “you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 niv). 

When we remind ourselves of the 80/20 ratio, we acknowledge the hard times while recognizing they’re a small portion of a good life. If you’re in a 20 spot, remind yourself of the happy times. Flip through fun family photos or reminisce together about shared experiences or memorable seasons. Remember the beautiful things about your husband and your marriage.

Allow the 80/20 ratio to help you remain hope-filled, even when circumstances seem hopeless.

2. God’s not finished with you—or your spouse.

If you’re like me, you often grow frustrated with yourself. Why do I still struggle with selfishness? Why am I quick to complain and slow to affirm? Why do I take the easy way out instead of choosing to do the hard things?

We wonder about our husbands too. When will they take the spiritual lead in our homes? Make better financial decisions? React with self-control rather than anger?

When I compare my physical, emotional, and spiritual life to where I’d like to be, I sometimes grow discouraged.

The promise of Philippians 1:6 gives me hope: “I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Writing to the Philippian church, the apostle Paul knew they had a long way to go in faith and maturity. But he loved them anyway. They were fellow heirs of the kingdom of God. Partners in the work of the gospel. And dear friends. 

We can have this same perspective of grace and love toward our husbands. Listen to Paul’s heart: 

  • “I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you” (v. 3). Are you thankful for your husband? We should be, in so many ways.
  • “Always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer” (v. 4). Do we pray for our husbands, every day, with joy? 
  • “Because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now” (v. 5). If your husband is a believer, then he’s not only your partner in life and marriage, but in the work of the gospel—of God’s kingdom. Do we see ourselves as partners in a greater work than anything visible?
  • “I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (v. 6). Do we believe this? Take heart from it? Wait in patient trust as God continues the transformation He began in our husbands (and ourselves) at salvation? 

When we’re tempted to lose heart, Philippians 1:6 can help us respond with grace and hope, knowing God is always working. Even when we can’t see it.

3. Your marriage is the best example of Christ’s love for the world.

It’s not a coincidence that God chose to compare the marriage relationship to His love for His Bride, the Church. Listen to Paul’s description in Ephesians 5:25–33:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. He did this to present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless. In the same way, husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hates his own flesh but provides and cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, since we are members of his body. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This mystery is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the church. To sum up, each one of you is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband.

When we love like God does; remain faithful during hard times; exhibit patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control; and serve each other with humility, we model God’s love for the Church—His Bride for all eternity. The watching world notices this kind of love.

4. You can’t see everything God is doing through your marriage 

Every day, God is using our marriages:

5.God wastes nothing.

We can work through any marital challenge with the assurance of Romans 8:28—that God is working all things to our greatest good. When we cooperate with Him, He uses the sandpaper of married life to smooth the rough spots in our character and produce something beautiful. He uses the messiness of family to stretch us, humble us, and grow us in faith and prayer. And He uses the joy and the love we experience to give us glimpses of His heart for us and sweeten the promise of heaven. Second Corinthians 4:17 says, “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (esv).

If married life right now is more 20 than 80, pray, seek wise counsel, remind yourself of these five truths, and take heart. “For God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you demonstrated for his name by serving the saints—and by continuing to serve them” (Hebrews 6:10). 

God sees you. 

God hears you.

And He will work in and through you. 

Women today face nonstop challenges as we live out our faith in a confusing world that is hostile to the gospel. Families are broken, and we don’t know where to turn or who to trust. The lives of younger women might look different than ours, but their hearts’ cry is the same: “Mentor me!” Be equipped to mentor a new generation of women—and to teach them to do the same with the “Mentor Me” leadership training event from Revive Our Hearts. Learn more by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com/mentorme.

Join the Discussion