My Spouse is in Chronic Pain (Part II)
By Justin Talbert
A long road awaits with my wife’s unrelenting pain. For both of us.
Marriage is a sack race. As one flesh, we’re in this together, even though it’s my spouse who physically suffers.
We’ve got more to learn. But here’s what we’ve gathered.
1. Fight on your spouse’s behalf.
Your spouse did not choose to be sick. It’s easy for them to feel burdensome, with downward-spiraling guilt aimed toward the pit.
Give your spouse safety to be sick. Believe his or her pain. Financially, prioritize treatment options.
2. Offer next-level service.
Without being asked, aim to serve strategically, in the tasks that trigger anxiety or worthlessness.
3. Communicate wisely.
Whether listening, offering counsel, simply crying with them, tactfully changing the subject, or “talking them down” because they’re all up in their head, pray for wisdom.
Be God’s presence to your spouse.
4. Remember: Our suffering makes us more like Jesus.
When my wife hits another dead-end diagnosis, or abominable pain roars, she is sharing in Jesus’ suffering, in His death to Himself (1 Peter 4:13). And not just that: She is sharing in His glory, His resurrection (2 Corinthians 4:10, Philippians 3:10).
She is becoming more like Him. Swords are forged by heat and hammers. Gold turns bright as it’s purified by fire.
My wife’s capacity for life’s demands has expanded. Her gratitude for what most of us call normal and take for granted has multiplied. Her Jesus-dependence has deepened.
No matter what that dark path in front of you looks like—I find it’s less about the path, and more Who you’re walking with.
The Good Stuff: And if [we are] children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. (Romans 8:17)
Action points: Reflect together: How have you changed amidst your pain? What’s one kink you would each like to work out as you learn the dance of this new normal?
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