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We all need hope. No one wants to live life without it. Anyone that has it, tries to hang onto it. Anyone that has lost it, wants to get it back.

When we want to do anything significant in our lives we have to have hope stirring in our hearts. That includes having a great marriage. And if we want our marriage to overcome all of life’s struggles, we have to have hope for what our marriage can be and hope for where our future will take us.

We are on this series, Getting That Stubborn Stain Out and how to use COFHE to deal with difficult marriage issues. We have talked about commitment, ownership, and forgiveness. So now let’s talk about H for Hope.

Hope is something we are naturally inclined to. We just have it without any effort to create it. It is formed out of our desire for something and our belief we can have it. It’s the image we carry in our hearts of what life should be and what life could be.

Even if we don’t have it because of the present circumstance we are dealing with, we still want it. We want to have hope for a better life, a better marriage, and a better future.

But some people are afraid to hope. Their hearts have been broken and they just don’t think they can stand anymore disappointments. “Their hope has been delayed and their hearts have become sick with sadness….” (Prov. 13:12)

But if we are naturally inclined to hope, why do we lose our hope and what can we do to get it back? Or what do we do to hang onto it while we go through the worst of life’s struggles.

Whenever you’ve lost hope or you are afraid you might lose it, the answer is the same. You defeat the thieves that steal your hope and your hope will rise again, effortlessly.

9 Ways to Keep from Losing Hope.

Proper placement prevents problems.     The most common reason for lost hope, specially in marriage, is placing all of our hope on another human being. The only one we can truly depend on and therefore put our hope in is Jesus. He is the one that will never leave us or forsake us. He is the only one capable of being completely faithful to us. When we place too much hope on our spouse, we are expecting them to never let us down. And that is simply an unrealistic expectation.

Put your trust in the word.     The word tells us that He will never leave us. (Heb.13:5) He walks with us through the valley. (Ps.23:4) The troubles we go through in this life are temporary. Our life with Him is eternal. (2Cor.4:16-18) He will cause anything we go through to work for our good, if we love Him and surrender to His purpose in our lives. (Rom.8:28) So bring every thought into obedience with His word. (2Cor.10:5) Believe the word above all circumstances.

Be encouraged.     Many times throughout the book of Psalms we read where king David encouraged himself when he went through difficulty. We can do this too. So speak to yourself according to God’s word. Refuse to believe anything that is contrary to His word. And find others who will speak encouraging words according to the truth that is found in the word. Be careful of whose voice you allow to speak.

Be inspired.     Look for examples that inspire you to overcome your struggles. Testimonies like ours and so many other testimonies of how God did a miraculous work in someone’s life can inspire hope to rise in your own heart.

Examine unrealistic expectations.     Sometimes we build up in our minds an idea of what our spouse should be without examining where those ideas come from. Is there a model of what you think a good husband or a good wife should look like that does not line up with scripture? Is there someone else you admire and appreciate their example and now you want your spouse to measure up to them? Make sure you accept your spouse for who God says they are and who they can be according to His call on their life.

Initiate what you want in your marriage.     Don’t set back waiting on your spouse to make the first move. That will only cause you to feel like a victim when you get let down. Make a bold move and initiate ways to make your marriage better. Be creative. Be proactive.

Rephrase the words of JFK.     Ask not what your spouse can do for you, but ask what you can you do for your spouse. There is so much more life in the giving than there is in the receiving. And when you focus on your own giving you are not as likely to feel let down.

Count your blessings.     Be thankful everyday for everything you can think of. If you want hope for tomorrow, you start by being thankful for today. When we are thankful we let go of the things that are disappointing and we focus on the good things of life.

Express it.     Hope is contagious and the more you express it, the more you will have it. Then it will spread to the rest of your family. Your spouse will catch it and your children will also.   

 One final word

The reason I can give this advise is because I have lived it. As I said in Our Story, I could not see any reason for hope when our marriage went through a very dark season. But yet, hope was something I held on to. It was something the Lord would not let me let go of regardless of our situation. Without it I could never have push through those difficult days. I would have quit and moved on if I had believed the situation was as hopeless as it looked. But the Lord gave me a picture of what our marriage could be. It was what we both had always wanted. And as I held on to that picture, it began to infect Janet with hope. Now we have the proof that what we had hoped for was not in vain.

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Until next time, keep creating an awesome marriage!!!

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