Couple devotional: Coping with changeWritten by Laird Crump
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This month’s couple devotional is focused on the challenges of marriage and, in particular, the thriving marriage trait of coping with change.
Begin your devotional by praying that God would impact both you and your spouse with His truth.
Read the following thriving marriage statement out loud together.
Coping with change: Thriving couples understand that life is filled with significant challenges. They proactively anticipate family changes and ensure that they get on the same page to agree on a course of action. They carry each other’s burdens and help each other seek God during difficult times. They are quick to admit their needs and to seek help when needed.
On a scale of 1-10 (1 = low, 10 = high), how are you doing in regards to coping with change in your family?
As a couple, what could you do to increase effectiveness in this area of your marriage?
Read the following Bible passages.
"Change." Some people love that word. Others despise it. Most of us feel a gnawing sense of discomfort when we hear it. But one thing is certain: change is a reality of life – and marriage. As much as we try to settle into our nests and have everything in our lives down to a predictable routine, change inevitably enters.
Changes come in a variety of ways. We could experience a change of health requiring us to alter our lifestyle. Or our work situation could change. Whether we are moved to a different department or let go, workplace changes can be disconcerting. How about changes with our children? Every age and stage brings a different set of challenges. Then, of course, we all experience bodily changes. By midlife, gravity has found us all and the results aren't pretty!
When changes occur in your family, how do you as a couple respond? In some cases, changes can drive couples apart. They distract us and consume our energy. With the stress of change, we often displace our anger and frustration on our spouse. At times, changes spark symptoms of depression, causing us to withdraw from each other. If not dealt with properly, change can take a tremendous toll on your marriage.
Fortunately, changes can also draw couples closer together and help them to become more aligned with God’s purpose for their lives. God has given you to each other to help each other through difficult times and to remind one another of His truths.
In Jeremiah 29:11, God reminds the people of Israel of His sovereignty in their lives amidst some traumatic change. He declares that even though things may look dark, He has a good plan and a wonderful future for His people.
Similarly, in Romans 8, the Apostle Paul declares that nothing can separate us from the love of God. Regardless of what you may be experiencing or what may be around the corner, God’s love for you individually and as a couple remains strong and true.
Sometimes when we face disturbing changes in our families, we feel like we are all alone and that we simply do not have the strength to cope. The Apostle Paul assures us in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that there are no unique problems we will face that others haven’t. Changes, both good and bad, happen to families all the time. The important thing to remember is that in the midst of change, God is faithful and He will not let us down. Furthermore, if we call on Him during changes, He will give us strength and not push us past our limits.
God often brings others into our lives to help us navigate some of the changes of life. It is truly a gift from God when we discover another couple who has "been there, done that" and has been victorious in dealing with the changes that life brings.
- Think of changes you have experienced in the past with your family. Can you point to times when God seemed very real to you?
- Discuss a time when you experienced a change and were, at first, very upset. How did that situation resolve? How did God help you through that situation? What lessons did you learn?
- What changes are you currently facing in your family? Thank God for the positive changes. Trust God in the negative changes.
- Re-read the Bible passages listed above. Take turns reading them slowly to each other to allow God’s truth to sink in.
- Memorize Jeremiah 29:11. Say it often to each other to remind each other of God’s sovereignty in your life.
- Look around in your church and community. Are there other couples or families experiencing some of the changes you’ve gone through in the past? How could God use you to help them navigate these changes? Why don’t you give them a call and ask them over for dinner? God may want to use you to help others.
Take a few moments to listen to God, express your concerns to Him and ask Him to help you reflect His relational ideas in your marriage.
Reference to the individuals and organizations quoted does not constitute a blanket endorsement of either the individuals’ external work or their respective organizations.
Laird Crump was the director of marriage ministry at Focus on the Family Canada.
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