Waiting Out a Painful Season With Your Spouse

Remember the long wait between the day you got engaged and the day you got married?

Mistakenly, many of us think that once we’re married, the waiting is over and our life can really begin. But then life throws a wrench in the works and we find ourselves stuck in a holding pattern we can’t seem to shake. So how do we handle waiting for something we really want–possibly for a long time?

Long waiting periods can put a significant strain on your marriage relationship. When couples are focused on what they don’t have, it can create stress and sadness. We understand it; when a deeply-held desire doesn’t come to fruition, it does hurt. But there are ways to hold onto one another during this time that can help deepen your relationship, rather than strain it.

Make gratitude a daily ritual

Expressing gratitude seems counterintuitive when we don’t have the things we want. In fact, it can feel quite alien to let go of something we’ve been obsessing over, in favor of being grateful for what we have. But a grateful attitude can actually go a long way toward improving our attitude and quality of life.

Talk with your spouse about how the two of you can make gratitude part of your daily life. Will you talk with one another every day–or even a few times a week–about what you’re thankful for? Will you commit to journaling? Will you be accountable to one another for practicing gratitude while you wait?

Try not to ruminate

It’s easier said than done, but try not to spend too much time thinking in negative terms about the thing you’re waiting for. Some might say, “Don’t spin in it.” While it’s useful to address the subject at times, it doesn’t help to get caught in a thinking loop and become stuck in rumination.

Instead, take action every single day toward the thing you want. Looking for a job? Keep submitting applications. Paying down debt? Continue watching your budget. Staying in motion will help give you a sense of control over the trajectory of this situation, even if just a little.

Remember you’re in this together

Long waiting periods can drive a wedge between you if you’re not intentional about sticking close to one another, no matter the circumstances. So if you’re dealing with a long, frustrating season of waiting, remind yourselves daily that you’re on the same team. You’re not enemies, and you shouldn’t let this situation turn you against one another.

Try to make time to do enjoyable things together that will nurture positivity and love. Date nights, shared activities, and meaningful connection will help you while you wait.

Accept reality

It’s not easy to accept the reality of a difficult situation–particularly one that may be prolonged and beyond your control. Remaining in denial about a particular situation can prolong your pain. It can also create unnecessary conflict not only within yourselves, but between you, as well.

In these cases, it’s best to come to terms with your situation as soon as you’re able to. And be aware that you may experience denial and acceptance as two stages of a grieving process. When the life we’ve dreamed about doesn’t unfold the way we hope it will, that disappointment can turn to grief. The important thing is to recognize it, acknowledge it, and continue moving forward.

Keep on keeping on

The good news is, waiting periods are usually temporary. Most of the time, our waiting feels like it takes forever. But once it’s behind us, it can feel like it wasn’t really that long at all.

So hand-in-hand, keep moving forward toward your goals. Stick close to one another through this season, and you’ll come out on the other side stronger than before.

Have you and your spouse had to wait months–or years–for something that was very important to you? What was it? How did you handle the wait? We’d love to read your stories in the comments.


  • Caroline says:

    This is simply timely for us. Thank you!

  • John D. says:

    WOW! This is exactly what I’m dealing with. Thanks for the help to focus on the good and not the what if’s in life.

  • Denise says:

    Yes my spouse and I are waiting now he’s been in prison for 10 years 10 long years God has truly built our relationship during this time he has changed quite a bit do I know they’re still change that we all must continue to endure he’s been turned down by parole six times we really thought he was getting out on this parole and they denied him just last week on the 24th. His heart was broken he cried like a baby not understanding where God is and all of this. Sunday at church the preacher’s message was God is in the disappointment he has an appointment to show us his goodness so we wait for his goodness he is scheduled to come back up for parole in another year. We will trust God while we wait

  • T. Irving says:

    Soo needed this word! This is DEFINITELY our season!

  • Clarice W. says:

    Thank you! I will wait with gratitude. I will not ruminate; but will prayerfully, consciously move forward. And, it’s true–after the waiting is over, the pain of the wait seems to go away–“Hope deferred maketh the heart sick; but when it comes to pass, oh what joy!”

  • Michael Van Dyke says:

    I wanted to be a career firefighter. I tested for almost 5 years everywhere in Arizona. My wife was my biggest cheerleader. I just couldn’t quite get a high enough score on the written tests to get considered. I resigned myself that I might just not make it. I had a decent job, but it just held no allure. I let go and quit trying. One day a fire truck went by and I just started at it. My wife asked me if I still wanted to be a firefighter. I said yes. So she convinced me to try again. I got hired almost immediately. 30 years and a great career later I understand why I was made to wait. You see by waiting not only did I appreciate the job more, but it aligned all my life’s goals. I received everything from a work perspective that I had dreamed of and worked for. Without the waiting I most certainly would not have been a part of that. The Lord blessed me beyond my imagination. Today I am retired 6 years and I’m very grateful for a God who cares about me.

  • Angie Simmons says:

    Thank you for this message. My husband is doing exactly this to work with me through our waiting season. He’s the greatest cheerleader on my worst day & I praise God for having him.

  • Amanda says:

    My husband and I have been trying to have a family for some time. We have gone through IVF a couple times, only to result in a miscarriage at 6 1/2 weeks. We are trying again soon. The waiting, heartbreak and not knowing is the hardest part. This message came at a wonderful time as we wait, thank you.

  • Heartbroken says:

    This is great only if both are doing the same. My situation is difficult. My husband keeps pulling away from our problems to the point of divorce. Resorting to blaming himself for making a mistake marrying me. Ive tried so hard to do what I can and remind him of God’s covenant betwerm us but it falls on deaf ears. I need major prayers for his heart to change.

  • Exception says:

    There are situations where a lifetime of waiting will not give you what you wanted in your marriage. In my personal struggle I have read many books (mostly Christian based) and have spent years in Christian counseling. Apparently, I have an exceptional situation. Only one author addressed situations similar to mine and the counselors advised me to leave. I haven’t found anywhere in the Bible where God promises to give you the desires of your heart EXCEPT when ……. I have not only struggled with my marriage but also with my faith. My only reason in writing this response is to ask Christian marriage counselors to address the exceptions because if your situation is the exception, it is still the only life you have. It is your reality.

Leave a Reply