Joshua Rogers: We promised to love each other 'for better or worse' – Here's how it turned out

When my wife and I stood at the altar and promised to love each other “for better or worse,” we had no idea how much of the “worse” times we would go through.

In each of our 12 years of marriage, there’s been some major, stressful event that has rattled my wife and me. It’s gotten so predictable that we’ve come to expect it.

“Wonder what it will be in 2020,” I said on New Year’s Day.

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My wife chuckled.

We didn’t even make it through March before a crisis hit (and I’m not talking about COVID-19 either).

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Our circumstances aren’t exceptional though. Bad things happen to couples all of the time because life happens. And in those times, my instinct is to fix, fix, fix (or at least try to). Thank God my wife has a different approach.

Raquel’s instinct is to keep trying to turn everything over to God during stressful circumstances, and I’ve gradually begun to follow her lead. Discovering God in the messiness of marriage is the only thing that allows me to address problems with God’s strength – not mine. 

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That’s not to say that the only thing we do is pray together in our “worse” times. We lean on friends and seek wise counsel, and it has helped. But we need more than good friends and advice in the face of challenges. You and your spouse do too.

Making it through stressful events requires a commitment to intimacy, and I’m not just talking about emotional and physical intimacy. We’ve got to branch out into spiritual intimacy too.

For Raquel and me, that requires prayer as well as intentional reflection and encouraging each other with Scripture. (If you want examples of how we do that, there are several in my book, "Confessions of a Happily Married Man: Finding God in the Messiness of Marriage.")

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As we’ve fought alongside each other (and sometimes with each other), we keep coming back to Jesus and discovering, again and again, that God is still good.

He not only makes our struggles “better”; as we follow Him together, but He also takes our “worse” times and uses them to make our relationship stronger.

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