In the last post, I shared three tips for surviving a harsh cold winter in marriage. You can read it here. The next three posts will provide practical help. In this post, I share specific ways on how to get help and avoid isolation during a winter marriage season. This post is for you whether you choose to seek help alone or you and your spouse decide to seek help together.
A winter season in marriage is a difficult time. What causes a winter season in marriage? Many factors contribute to this season but most often it begins with small unresolved issues that accumulate over time. This leads to a breakdown in communication, and a downward spiral in the marriage.
At the center of a winter season is an unwillingness to consider each other ’s perspective and work through the issues. Difficulties are likely to occur in any relationship because we are imperfect. However, a vital part of weathering this season well depends on how you respond to the difficulties.
Get Support From A Community of Faith
Having a support system can help you respond well during this season. Initially, during a winter season in my marriage, all I could think of was the harsh cold storm, pain, and insurmountable obstacles. I felt alone. I felt ashamed. I had many questions. I wondered, will my marriage survive this winter season?
When we find ourselves in a winter season of marriage, the tendency is to isolate ourselves and be inward focused. This spirals downward into negative thinking and depression as we feel we are carrying a huge burden. For me, isolation brought me to the brink of deep depression. I needed help fast, but I did not know where to turn. Many thoughts flooded my mind. I could try to keep warm by isolating myself and self-medicating with alcohol or food. I could go shopping and buy all kinds of stuff that I did not need. I could engage in negative self-sabotaging habits.
But instead of focusing our attention solely on the circumstances, we should seek help.
I chose to focus on God and seek his purpose for the season. I let go of fear, pride, and shame when I reached out to a few sisters in the community of faith. If you are wondering how to identify those who can support you in the winter season, here is my recommendation:
- Prayerfully ask the Lord to help you identify a few people to guide you through this critical time. If you are a believer, reach out to a small group of mature Christians who are prayer intercessors to come alongside you and provide emotional support. They must be godly women of integrity not prone to gossiping and slander.
- You want folks who will not try to fix you but those who will provide compassionate guidance as you warm your way out of this winter season.
They could be from your small group at church, prayer partners, church elders, or a couple who have a good marriage that you view as a role model. The sisters who supported me prayed with me often over the phone, listened to my heart, and gently guided me with God’s truth. Their support was invaluable to my healing process.
Seek Professional Help
In addition to community support, professional help may be needed to address the root problems in your marriage and help untangle the cross wires. I recommend Christian counseling either alone or with your spouse if they are willing. Focus on the family offers many services for marriages including referrals for licensed Christian counselors across the United States as well as Hope Restored, an intensive program for couples in crisis.
A winter season in marriage can provide an opportunity for growth, self-evaluation, and reflection. It can help you learn to understand yourself and your spouse better.
I have walked with many women during a winter season in their marriage. Having community and professional help has been vital to the restoration of their marriages.
You are not alone.
So instead of isolating yourself and feeling ashamed reach out for help. Wherever there is help, there is hope.
Dear Lord, you promise not to abandon us especially when life is difficult. Please bring healing, hope, and restoration despite our mistakes. Help us to work through this winter season and deepen our love for each other. Thank you for your redeeming love and grace to restore our marriage, in Jesus Name. Amen.
Scripture – Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2