How to Live Out God’s Word in a Difficult Marriage

When your marriage grows difficult or you go through hard seasons, discover how to use God's word to encourage and strengthen you for this battle. #marriage #conflict #Bible #Scripture #warfare #quotes #verses #encouragement

Today I’m excited to share a guest post from my blogging friend, Jana Carlson, who will be guiding us on how to use God’s Word in the difficult moments of marriage. And who hasn’t hit one of those?! Be sure to welcome her with lots of engagement and encouragement! 

The day after the dreaded “D word” was first mentioned between my husband and me, I found myself aimlessly driving around town. Tears streamed so thick, I had to pull off the road. “God, I don’t want a divorce. There has to be another option. Help us!”

I was surprised when God actually answered my desperate cry, since I had almost given up. But He ministered to me through His Word. He gave me just what I neededreminders of Truth, hidden deep in my heart from childhood Scripture memory games.

Immediately after my prayer, Ephesians 6 came to mind—the passage about the armor of God. It seemed irrelevant in the moment. But God showed me the bigger picture. 

The real fight wasn’t about marriage or divorce. My husband is not my enemy. The issue was not me being right and him being wrong (or vice versa).

It’s a spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:12). 

The enemy of our souls works tirelessly to destroy us (John 10:10). Satan’s ultimate goal is to handicap us spiritually, render us ineffective, and bring division into the Body of Christ. And he often uses our marriages to do that. 

I pulled out my Bible and prayerfully read through Ephesians 6:11-17. 

“Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:11-17 ESV)

Those miserable moments in my car completely transformed my perspective of the difficulties in marriage. My husband and I are on the same team, even though it doesn’t always feel like it. 😉 I must do my part to fight the spiritual battle against our real enemy. 

Knowing that God’s armor is the only way I can get through spiritual battles victoriously, I take the time to “put it on” every day. 

Belt of Truth

A belt holds everything in place. It secures the rest of the armor so it doesn’t fall off and leave us exposed. The truth is God’s Word. 

I put on the belt of truth by seeking to grow in my knowledge of the Bible—reading it, listening to it, and studying it. Then, as I go about my day, I guard my eyes and ears from things that do not align with God’s Word. During the hardest times of tension in my marriage, I choose to stop listening to certain types of music, watching certain shows, or reading certain books. I immerse myself in as much Scripture as possible. 

Breastplate of Righteousness

The breastplate protects your heart. 

Especially in a difficult marriage, it’s so easy to allow our hearts to become hard, bitter, resentful, angry. When we put on the breastplate of righteousness, we actively guard our hearts, staying soft to the conviction of the Holy Spirit. 

I continuously pray for the Lord to reveal to me my own sin. When He does, I repent of it and commit to responding in obedience to Him.

This is no small task. When our husbands are hurtful or behaving in sinful ways, it’s tempting to point our fingers and expect God to deal with them first. But we’re not responsible for our husbands’ hearts. We’re only responsible for our own. 

We must keep our hearts right before God to walk in victory in this spiritual battle. 

Gospel of Peace

The gospel gives us peace with God through forgiveness of sin. It is grace—God’s riches at Christ’s expenseand is something we could never earn, nor will ever deserve. But He gives it to us anyway.

Walking in peace means forgiving my husband. I don’t ignore the hurt in my heart or his sinful behavior. I don’t pretend that everything is okay when it’s not. Instead, I work hard to root out bitterness and resentment, as well as never taking revenge or wishing harm on my husband.

I choose forgiveness.

When I receive God’s grace, I can extend it to my husband. I give him grace, not because he deserves it, but because it’s what Jesus did for me. 

Shield of Faith

The shield is a piece of armor that must be actively held. It’s not just strapped on and expected to stay there, but instead must be physically grasped. Shielding oneself requires intentional action. If it’s not held up, it’s useless against the arrows of the enemy. 

Hebrews 11:1 tells us that faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (ESV).

When our marriage seems hopeless, I look for what is true. Jesus Christ is the hope that does not disappoint (Romans 5:5). He will not fail. I put my faith in Him instead of my circumstances. Instead of trusting in myself or my husband to change or fix our marriage, I choose to believe that the Holy Spirit is at work behind the scenes.

Helmet of Salvation

A helmet protects the head. The head is home to the brain which is “command central” to the body. 

As a child of God, all my thoughts and actions should stem from the truth of the Gospel—salvation through Jesus Christ. 

It’s so easy to lose the wonder of what Jesus has done for us. The longer we live the Christian life, the more tempting it is to forget the cost of our redemption or what it actually means for us. 

For me, putting on the helmet of salvation each day is reminding myself of who Jesus is, what He has done, and who I am in Him.

When I have a fight with my husband, my tendency is to allow shame to take over, to feel defeated. But because of Jesus, I can confess, repent, and receive forgiveness. By His grace, I can start fresh at any moment, walk in obedience, and enjoy the resulting peace, freedom and strength.

Sword of the Spirit

The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God and is meant to be wielded. 

To effectively wield God’s Word, we must first know what it says, then we must live it out. We must become doers of the Word, and not hearers only (James 1:22, ESV).”

Victory comes through obedience. So, as I read my Bible, I intend to do what it says. For example, when I read, “Do everything without grumbling or disputing (Philippians 2:14, ESV),” I focus on serving my husband with gladness and keeping my complaints to myself. 

My goal is to saturate my heart and mind with the living and active Word of God. The more I’m immersed in it, the more it spills out of me. I want God’s Word to be what comes out of my mouth, what informs my thoughts, what captures my heart and motivates my actions.

This year, my husband and I will celebrate our 22nd wedding anniversary. The day I blindly drove around town hoping for the solution to a seemingly impossible situation was almost 2 decades ago. We’ve both learned a lot since then, and have been through extremely dark valleys, continuing to fight battles—spiritual and otherwise. Now, we’re stronger and, by God’s grace, still love each other.

I’m still so far from being a perfect wife or a master at spiritual warfare. Many days I forget to put on God’s armor. I frequently miss the mark. 

But God . . .

He’s always there to pick me up when I fall and get me back on track. His Word has never steered me wrong. He meant it when He said that wearing the whole armor of God would enable us to stand. 

Through the fiercest storms of my marriage, God’s Word protects me, corrects me, directs me, and sustains me. May He continue to teach you and me to wield it well. 

Jana Carlson has an insatiable love for the Word of God. She blogs at Wield The Word where her desire is to inspire women to know God’s Word and live it out. 

Jana lives in Alberta, Canada with her husband and their 3 grown children. She works as a content creator and enjoys reading, breathing in the fresh mountain air, and spending time with family and friends.

Connect with her onInstagramTwitterFacebook, and Pinterest.


Which of the pieces of armor do you feel like you need the most right now in your life or marriage?


What has Jana shared today that encourages you the most, and why?  

25 responses to “How to Live Out God’s Word in a Difficult Marriage”

  1. […] Click here to read my story of Living Out God’s Word in a Difficult Marriage […]


  2. Jana, this is such a great point that our husband is never our actual enemy. This was something that hit me too when my husband and I were going through our Freedom In Christ study. It’s so vital we realize how important it is to fight for our marriages on our knees and in God’s word.


    1. Yes, April, “fighting on our knees” is the way to victory. It’s a powerful realization – that our husbands are not our enemeies. It certainly changes things, doesn’t it?


  3. Such an awesome Word. Thank you for sharing this awesome story and how to keep God at the center of marriage and other areas that may seem hopeless at times.


    1. Brittany, I’m glad my story is an encouragement to you. I like that you said “seem hopeless”, because with Christ, there’s always hope!


  4. “But because of Jesus”…everything changes. Amen! I pray we each continue to saturate our heart and mind with God’s word. Thank you for this encouragement!


    1. Amen! The more we fill ourselves with Him, the more He spills out of us and onto those around us.


  5. Sometimes it is very hard,
    and sometimes, well, it’s worse;
    by marriage bond we’re truly scarred,
    and it can feel like such a curse,
    but the scars, they come from harness,
    like those a Clydesdale wears,
    and should be worn in kindness,
    for Clydesdales work in pairs
    to pull the wagon, drag the plough,
    make fields fit for sowing,
    perhaps not knowing why or how
    the things not made for knowing
    on this wide created earth,
    but only in new Heaven’s birth.


    1. Great analogy, Andrew! “Clydesdales work in pairs”. Thanks for joining the conversation with your poetic insights!


      1. I was heartbroken but after I contacted robinsonbucler@ gmail. com and my ex came back__________________________💕


  6. Jana, I so appreciate your determination to bring the truth of God’s word into every single corner of our lives.


    1. Aw. Thanks for your continued encouragement, Michele! I appreciate you so much!


  7. Jana,
    I think the key is remembering that my husband is NOT the enemy. The enemy would like nothing more than to divide and conquer. When we stand together with God, a cord of three is not easily broken. Thanks for walking us through the armor of God for our marriages.
    Bev xx


    1. Yes, Bev, there is power in unity. I think it’s easy for us to forget that, and yet, Jesus Himself prayed about it! So it must be important!


  8. Jana, Beth, this is GREAT stuff!!! I love how you used the armor of God, Jana, to show how we are to handle a difficult marriage relationship.

    Pinned & tweeted.

    Thank you for linking up at InstaEncouragements!


    1. Thanks for your encouragement, Patsy, and for sharing.


  9. I am on an email list where I receive a Bible verse and some thoughts on it every day. Today, we got the same verse from Ephesians you quoted. God must be trying to tell me something. I need to listen. Thank you!


    1. Ah! I love it when that happens! Yes, repeat messages cause us to pay attention. This actually happened to me just last week. God is so faithful and gentle in His teaching.


  10. Such a great reminder that even the battles in our marriage are Spiritual Warfare, not against flesh and blood. We do need to be armed continually.


    1. Yes, and that’s a battle in itself – remembering to arm ourselves!


  11. thanks for the reminder that we’re in the midst of spiritual battle … the enemy of our souls surely does not want to see Christ-honoring marriages and families.

    bless you for taking us to God’s Word!


    1. You’re right, Linda. I think we underestimate the impact a God-glorifying marriage can have for His kingdom.


  12. We all need to remember that our enemy is rarely who it appears to be. Thanks for this encouragement to keep our spiritual armor at the ready.


    1. Yes, Lisa. I need reminding often! Thanks for reading!


  13. I’m so glad you two stayed together. Thank you for sharing your story


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