When a Marriage is Tested

“Life has many ways of testing a person’s will, either by having nothing happen at all or by having everything happen all at once.” Paulo Coelho

 

A worldwide pandemic…

A child in struggle…

An affair discovered…

Words spoken that we can’t take back…

Words that should have been spoken, but never were…

 

These tests are giving us important information about where the marriage is vulnerable and where it needs some attention. The questions are: Will we listen? and, What will we hear?

One of my clients, who I’ll refer to as Janet, woke up when she found out about her husband’s affair. She realized all the ways she had been pushing her husband away since the kids were born. She realized she had stopped appreciating him and making deposits into the marriage – choosing instead to pour all of her energy and attention into the children. There was a lot of deep work involved, but their marriage today, is stronger than it’s been in a decade.

Another client, who I’ll refer to as Susan, had been struggling in her marriage for years. No longer able to distract from and deny the issues in these uncertain times, she’s seeing how far she and her husband have drifted over the years and she’s not certain that distance can be ever be bridged (and she’s not sure she wants to try). They’ve been living as co-parents and roommates for a long time. She’s coming to the realization that her marriage is ending.

Sometimes when a marriage is tested, it motivates the couple to heal what’s broken and make the relationship stronger.

Sometimes when a marriage is tested, it is the “final straw” that marks the end.

But always, always…those tests point us to what’s not working in the marriage.

They point us to where the relationship is vulnerable (and likely has been for a long time).

They point us to what needs our attention.

 

So, if you feel like your marriage is being tested right now, look closely at what is needing your attention.

Maybe you’re being called to grow in some way beyond where you are today as a couple, or

Maybe it’s time to tell the truth to yourself and your partner about what’s on your heart and mind.

 

If your marriage is being tested – it’s either the end of a new beginning. I’d love to help you find out which it is for you.

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P.S. One of the greatest tests couples face is struggles with fertility; One in eight couples struggle with conceiving. The damage that can be endured in the marriage during that time lingers for years and some marriages never recover. My good friend and fertility expert, Rosanne Austin and I have an open conversation on her podcast, Fearlessly Fertile about what happens to the marriage inside the fertility struggle and what happens when you don’t pay attention to that test. If you know someone who is in this struggle now, please share this with them.