Happily Ever After: 5 Ways to Survive the Ups & Downs of Marriage

survive a hurting marriage

So, I definitely don’t want to make this post all about me. However, I think it’s important for you to understand where I’m coming from as I write this post.
My husband and I have been married for a little less than 4 years. In some people’s eyes, we are still considered “newlyweds.” We should still be in the “honeymoon” phase. We never really had a honeymoon phase, though. Life has been throwing things at us from the start.
About a week after we got married, we moved 10 hours away from home for my husband to attend seminary. Within a year, I’d lost my job and had to look for a new one. We moved after I found my new job. Within 3 years of marriage, my husband lost his job and had to find a new one. He found one and we moved again. A degree that was supposed to take my husband 2 years to finish took him 4.
If those were the only “problems” we’d had, it would be fairly normal. On top of that, my husband has a chronic, debilitating health condition. Before we were married, he’d had about 3 episodes where he ended up in the hospital with extreme stomach pain. It only happened about once a year so it wasn’t that big of a deal. Nine months after we were married, he had another episode and we didn’t think much of it. However, he continued to have episodes about once a month. This pattern continued for several months. Some times we ended up going to the ER multiple times in a weekend. Up until this point, he’d just had extreme stomach pain. Then, the symptoms began to change in the fall. He started acting anxious. He started crying constantly. He refused to leave the house. For about 2 months, he didn’t go to school or work. At the end of that year, he ended up staying in the hospital twice. Then, he got better for a few months. Then, the pattern began again.
No one ever had answers for us. They didn’t know why this was happening. They didn’t know how to make it stop happening. I lost count of how many times we visited the ER. I know it’s more than 30. He’s stayed in the hospital between 5-10 times. I lost count of how many x-rays, CAT scans, ultrasounds, etc. he has had. He’s also had an endoscopy and colonoscopy and a myriad of other tests. During some of his episodes, his kidneys began to shut down. I had to sit back and watch as all of these things happened to the person I love.
Obviously, all these tests, ER visits, and hospital stays equals huge medical bills. We have gone to see multiple doctors in our area and we eventually were referred to someone who is supposed to be a world renowned expert in rare GI disorders. The problem with this doctor is that he doesn’t accept insurance and he charges $10 a minute!!! This doctor has my husband on several medications. I’m not a fan of such a young guy taking all the medicines he takes and it does affect his personality a little bit. He’s not the same person he used to be. He still has episodes of pain/anxiety/depression about once every other month. However, we can now handle it without going to the hospital.
This is not what you expect to happen so early in your marriage. Most people don’t fully understand what this has been like for us. There are definitely times I’ve wanted to go back in time to when life was simpler. There were times I just wanted to give up. It was too hard. This is not what a young girl dreams about when she imagines being married. This isn’t what the movies, books, and songs tell you about being in love.

While your marriage may not be exactly like mine, I know we all have difficulties. That’s life. So, today I want to share with you the things that have gotten me through my not so happily ever after.

1. Keep your relationship with God strong.

I have been on both sides of this. At some points, I remained strong in my faith, trusted God, and spent time with Him. Other times, I got angry, questioned God, and pulled away. I can say that it definitely makes things more bearable when you are drawing close to Him. Fill your mind with scripture and listen to good, Christian music. Then, when you’re going through the hard times those scriptures and song lyrics will come back to you.  

2. Pray.

Sometimes you feel as if this is all you can do. Pray by yourself and pray with your spouse. Be honest in your prayers. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with telling God that you don’t understand why something is happening or you wish things weren’t the way they are. Remember, though, that God is not a genie who grants wishes. I have prayed and prayed and prayed for my husband’s sickness to go away and it hasn’t. I continue to pray, though, and trust God in His sovereignty.  

3. Be thankful.

No matter how bad things may seem, there’s always something to be thankful for. Along with praying for healing for my husband, I also tried to remember to thank God for the things we did have. Having a heart of gratitude will really change your attitude. It helps to remember the blessings God has given you. Sometimes it may be as simple as thank you that I’m alive, thank you that I have a roof over my head, or thank you that I have a washing machine and don’t have to wash clothes by hand. Don’t take anything for granted.

4. Intentionally spend time with your spouse.

No matter what you have going on, you need to make time to spend with your spouse. This doesn’t mean sitting in the same room while one of you reads and the other is on the computer. This means sitting down and having dinner together, taking a walk, or putting together a puzzle. Don’t let the circumstances in your life put a wedge in your marriage. If you’re not careful, this can definitely happen.

5. Have a support system.

Even though we live 10 hours away from our families, they made several visits to help us during the worst times. We also had some very loving friends and church family who helped us through. It can be hard to ask for help or to tell someone your weaknesses. However, we were created for relationships. We need each other. It can be such a relief to know that you’re not alone.


How has your marriage survived hard times?

Megan Optimized Signature
The following two tabs change content below.
I'm a small town girl who now lives in the big city. I've been married for 4 years now and we're expecting our first child in November. I'm a Christian saved by God's grace and I try to live out His love in my life. I love to read, craft, and spend time with loved ones.

Latest posts by Megan (see all)


  1. eunkyungsuh says

    Hi Megan,
    I think you have a solid list!

    I feel like my marriage is such a testimony to God’s love and his vision for marriage. I realized my/our wrong thinking of focusing on parenting. It was a silent pact to work on our marriage once the kids got on solid ground. Well, that didn’t work for our marriage and the kids never got to the level we were banking on. We lost some time but now that we’ve snapped out of it- we’ve overcome many odds, with God’s blessing.


  2. says

    Beautiful, heartbreaking and inspirational all at the same time. Bless you for baring your heart and sharing. Thank you for linking up with the Pintastic Pinterest Party!

  3. says

    I feel like we spent a lot of time not being married for a very long time. My dh is a recovering alcoholic. We’re doing the work at age 46 and 50 that many people do when they first get married. Your post is a reminder to me to make a date with my dh. We’ve been so busy this spring, or rather, I have been that being together got lost in my to do list. It needs to be back on top. 🙂

    Thank you for linking up at Motivation Monday!

  4. Sybil Brun says

    Hi Megan! I am so glad to have found this post in the MADMlinkup! Oh how I can relate to this: “Most people don’t fully understand what this has been like for us. There are definitely times I’ve wanted to go back in time to when life was simpler. There were times I just wanted to give up. It was too hard. This is not what a young girl dreams about when she imagines being married.” But as you also said, having a heart of gratitude will really change your attitude! Wishing you God’s blessings as you continue to run the race the Lord has called you to. Thanks so much for linking up to Make A Difference Mondays, hope you’ll come back tomorrow!

We're eager to hear your thoughts! --Let's chat--