When you got married, you weren’t naïve. You knew marriage would be difficult and that it would take dedication and work. You knew there would be challenges and trials. Sometimes, we don’t give our young married couples credit to them when they enter into a union. We assume they see marriage as all roses and fairy tales, but most young adults are aware that trials are an inevitable part of marriage.
They may not realize that there is a set of trials that every marriage will face. Every marriage? Yes. Every marriage. Are there any exceptions to this rule? Perhaps, but you’ll have to provide compelling evidence that a union could escape these trials.
“Every” is an all-encompassing word. There are no exceptions to the rule, and therefore, all will be affected. Knowing about these impending trials may give us some insight into how to handle them when they come.
The trial of identity.
No matter how unified you are in your marriage relationship, there will come a time when you struggle to find yourself within your relationship. Some spouses are content to identify as a couple, while others find friction in being recognized as the “spouse of.”
For the spouses who are content to identify as a couple and, in a sense, forgo their individual and independent identities, the trial can become when their “oneness” is threatened. Life intercepts the unity and threatens to take them in separate directions—whether in conviction, opinion, leading, etc. At some point, the one path will threaten to split into two. This doesn’t mean divorce or separation. Nothing so dramatic as that, necessarily. But, there will come a time when the oneness is challenged because, while you are a union, you also have two minds, two souls, and two very unique ways of processing.
For the spouses who prefer to maintain their independence and not be identified by their spouse, the trial of identity can come oppositely. Often, the quest to not lose their personage will create a wedge and a separation in the marriage because they want to be seen as their person so badly. In essence, they will sacrifice elements of oneness to remain single but married. This sounds a bit extreme to some, but the reality is that nothing in culture today inspires us to let go of ourselves and become intermeshed with another so profoundly that we can’t tell where we end and they begin. The culture encourages us to find self-care and self-identify, creating conflict within a marriage.
The identity trial has two extreme ends, but we’ll often find ourselves somewhere in the middle. The reality is, there is a delicate balance between being a union of two into one and also managing our own unique identities, wills, thought processes, and persons. Be prepared to forge through this trial together. It will polish your marriage if handled with sacrificial love.
The trial of differences.
We are genuinely fooling ourselves if we enter into marriage believing that our differences will be minor. Humor and comedy often come into play with the scripts of toothpaste tube squeezing at the end of the middle, TP rolling over the top or beneath, socks folded or piled, bed made or not, etc. Will there be these differences in marriage? Absolutely. But differences don’t limit themselves to the trivial.
No matter how much you prepare before you’re married, differences will continue to rise throughout your marriage. They may come in the form of beliefs. For example, you may find that you and your spouse agreed on the significant points of your faith/doctrine, but as you delve into the application of faith and daily life, you both approach life, and your faith walks differently. You may find that you didn’t address doctrinal differences nearly as much as you thought, and suddenly one of you believes in the idea of free will while the other believes God predestines those who will follow Him.
Your differences may come in the form of goals and dreams. You may have a lifelong ambition you agree on initially, but after years of pursuing it, one spouse may be done, while the other believes it may still happen.
When children come into the equation, you probably will find that you have different parenting skills simply because you were raised differently. This will inevitably cause friction—and probably a lot of it- if you haven’t stopped identifying the significant differences areas.
The trial of insecurities.
Men and women have vastly different insecurities. There are stereotypes of women being super emotional and insecure, while men tend to need to exert their dominance and strength to feel confident. Facts don’t lie. We all have insecurities. Nothing brings out these insecurities like marriage because it’s within marriage that we are the most vulnerable. Our questioning of ourselves becomes evident, and when a spouse questions those very elements, we can experience insecurity like none we’ve faced before.
You will battle insecurities within marriage. It is an assured promise that they will come. They will come in various forms. Insecurities you didn’t know you had may come to the surface. Perhaps you’ll develop new insecurities. Circumstances can influence you, push you into dark places you’re not prepared for, and leave you feeling exposed. The trial of insecurity is a big one. You can either choose to be together and work through them, seeking trust and reliance and respect, or those insecurities can fester and become deep wounds of mistrust that eventually lead to rifts in the marriage that can take years to heal.
The trial of finances.
Nothing can break a marriage faster than money. If you are opening a joint account or handling your finances separately, you will encounter financial problems in your marriage. It is essential to discuss any economic issues as a couple openly. Finances can be a sensitive topic, and couples should carefully discuss these problems. Try to come up with a plan that meets your shared financial goals. Also, try to make sure that if someone deviates from the plan, the motivation is discussed openly.
Don’t let these trials frighten you. The fact is, difficulties are inevitable. Knowing these are some that are sure to come can help you be proactive in preparing. This means communicating with each other and respecting the other’s position even if you don’t understand or agree. It means seeking the Lord in prayer together so that while you’re your individuals, you can also have a unity that will continue to grow during these difficulties.
Marriage is a guaranteed trial. But as Proverbs says, two are better than one, and three strands are not easily broken. Binding both of your hearts around the central person of Christ will strengthen you for the troubled days ahead.