Maggie Jobson

15 September 2020

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Hopelessness in Marriage

Many clients I see in my practice deal with hopelessness at some point in their marriage. Some may experience this difficult emotion more than others.


So what are some ways to address feeling hopeless in your marriage?


1. Look for the root of your hopelessness.

Take stock of your marriage. When did the slide from being in love to feeling things were over begin? What elements are causing you to feel hopeless? Circumstances? Did someone cheat? Is addiction a part of things? Were Hurtful words spoken and never addressed? Etc.


2. Assess what’s left.

When a hurricane blows through and destroys a home, the first thing to do is see if anything left to salvage. Is the foundation still there? Or is it going to be a complete demolition and rebuild? Sometimes couples try to date or spice up their marriage to see if there’s anything left, which is like decorating before the drywall is even up. What is needed is to go deeper, to the foundation, to the root. Is it still intact? Is there trust? If even a small amount? Have the hard conversations with a counselor present to help reflect what they see from a more objective place and help get down to the root of things. 


3. Make a decision.

When we think we are trapped, we can feel both helpless and hopeless. But here’s the deal, we always have choices. No matter what you choose, it will be difficult. It is up to you to decide which difficulty you will live with. Ask yourself, “can I stay and be healthy?” And “what does health emotionally look like if I stay.” As Christians, we feel we are stuck however, we do have a choice. When we choose to stay under difficult circumstances, we feel a sense of agency from which, no matter if our spouse does or not, we have the power to become better ourselves. Many times one individual In The marriage becoming healthier inspires the other to do the same. You need to know you have a choice. You are not a victim. (If you are, in fact, a victim of abuse, however, and staying is dangerous for you, the choice is obvious. Not easy. However, your spouse by their actions has made leaving your only option). 


4. Ask for wisdom.

You do not have to do this alone. If you believe in God, ask God for wisdom. He has promised to give this if we ask. Ask trusted friends. Talk to your family if they are safe people for you. Ask what they see. Many times if one is in an abusive marriage, they are made to feel “crazy,” which makes outside perspectives crucial. When we are in a spiral of hopelessness, we need people more than ever to speak truth to us, and this would be one of those times. 


5. Once you decide, take care of yourself.

Self-care, when you feel hopeless about your marriage, is so important. Go on walks, get outside, talk to trusted friends, eat good food, watch your alcohol intake (which can cloud your vision), get a physical, catch up on medical care, etc. 


Marriage ebbs and flows. Getting together with a counselor for couples therapy or individual therapy can help you discern what is really happening in your marriage. If your spouse refuses to go, you go. You need support when your marriage feels hopeless, and to remember, you are not alone and you have choices.


You can learn more about the author, Maggie Jobson, a counselor at Pinnacle here. 

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