Do you struggle with anxiety? I know so many people do—especially women. I keep meeting more and more people who are fighting a hard battle to keep their thoughts centered on Christ, to push out the negative, to stay positive.
And that can be so hard on a marriage.
Cate, aka the Fabuless Wife, sent me her story of how she’s fighting anxiety in marriage, and I think it’s beautiful and I want to run it today.
But first, I know some of you get jealous or anxious for good reason. Your husband really is doing something wrong. You can’t trust him because you’ve caught him in so many lies you don’t know what to believe anymore. And as I said last week in my post about how to know if you’re marrying the wrong guy or not, we do have to listen to “our gut,” because sometimes our gut may be warning us of something (that tends to be the Holy Spirit talking to us!). If you feel like something is not quite right, even if you can’t identify why, that’s often the first sign of an affair or porn use or something else that your husband may be trying to keep hidden.
But at the same time–that doesn’t mean that EVERY time we’re anxious there’s a reason for it. Sometimes it really could just be generalized anxiety. So I’m not sharing this to say “if you ever don’t trust your husband, stop being so negative!” because obviously there are times when we must be wise. But for the many, many women who are struggling with anxiety, you know that often there isn’t something wrong in real life. And so we have to fight against these feelings.
Here’s Cate explaining how she does that:
It was happening again. Another accusation, another intruding thought. “My husband didn’t call me on his way home, he must be falling out of love with me.” The negative thoughts continued to come and they pierced my heart. As tears fell, my chest tightened and it became hard to breathe.
I would overanalyze every little thing that my husband did, seeing the smallest details as signs that we were falling apart. I would become suspicious of everyday things like taking a phone call, and it became hard to believe that anyone could really, truly love me. Anxiety told me many lies and I, unfortunately, did not fight them for the longest time. My irrational fears were wreaking havoc on my heart, my spiritual life, my health and my marriage.
My husband, thankfully, is a very long-suffering kind of guy. The calm to my storm, he would usually just patiently try to rationalize with me and eventually, I would start to think sanely. One particularly bad night, my husband sat me down and poured his heart out to me. He told me that my anxiety over our marriage made him feel as if I didn’t trust him. He told me that he works extremely hard to create a stable, safe place for our family and when I give into those anxious thoughts, I’m doubting his ability to be a good husband.
Wow. That made me realize what I was giving up each time I gave into anxiety. My husband said that his vows weren’t just for physical sickness and health, but emotional health as well. He said it wasn’t just my fight, it was ours. We started to plan how we could fight my anxiety together. This game plan is what I’m going to share with you today.
As someone who grew up in church, I knew about the Lord’s saving power and I could give spiritual advice … to everyone else. When it came to my own self, I felt defeated. I know I’m not alone in this struggle. Anxiety is a real issue and it plagues many women. Whether your anxiety comes from past issues or post-partum hormones, it can take a toll on every part of your life.
We don’t have to stay defeated in this area. While everyone is a work in progress, there are some things we can do to protect our marriages during this season of life.
To Fight Anxiety, Stay in the Moment
When anxiety hits, my mind likes to wander. I’ll start thinking about scenarios that aren’t even a possibility and because the worry amplifies things, I feel the same emotions as if I was truly in this situation. When these emotions hit, I’m more likely to start an argument with my husband because I believe bad of him. In Matthew 6:34, the Bible says, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
Staying focused on what’s happening right now is key to keeping those worries away. Focus on what’s happening in that moment, what you see, feel and hear. Take a few deep breaths, pray and refuse to think about what negative things could happen in the future.
Fight With Your Husband, Not Against Him
In your fight against anxiety, your husband can either be your biggest enemy or your biggest ally. Obviously, the latter is the better choice! The Bible says in Ephesians 6:12,
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Our struggles aren’t against people, but against a very real Enemy of our soul who wants to destroy our lives. Anxiety can cloud your vision, making you think that everyone is against you, including your spouse. Most likely, this is not the case! When your husband promised through sickness and health, he meant it. Emotional health is included in those vows!
Talk to your husband openly about what’s going on and ask for his support and prayer during this season in your life. Make your husband your greatest ally in this battle and choose to fight together. Let this time be something that brings you closer instead of tearing you apart.
Think About Your Ending
God has good plans for those who love Him. When we struggle with anxiety, it can be hard to think about the good things that are ours through Christ. The Bible is FULL of the promises that God has given us. One of my favorites is found in Romans 8:28, “For we know that all things work together for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.”
We may not see the light at the end of the tunnel now, but we know that in the end Jesus wins. God’s plan for our lives is to live victoriously and to overcome. God wants to see us whole and healthy and He wants our marriages to thrive, even in the midst of anxiety.