Take Time to Recover
The third stage is to take time to recover. Try to get some time off and get away for a change of scenery. Build positive memories. Take a break from extra-curricular activities that create more busyness. Make sure your family gets rest. If your relationship is at a relational deficit, then start making deposits.
This is also a good time to set some new boundaries relating to the issue. Perhaps you both need to stop spending time with friends who drink heavily and find other avenues for friendship. Maybe you both need to set some boundaries with activities that aggravate issues. Follow the avenues of healthy support. You also have the unique position to help him get the nourishment he needs through healthy meals and exercise. In fact, eating right and exercising are essential for his (and your) healing.
What I’m suggesting here is for the both of you. His crisis affects you in a huge way. Things you go through affect him as well because your lives are intertwined. You both need time to recover and to heal. In some cases it could be a lengthy road. You’ll need this time to remain patient while the problems are resolved.
Being Strong When We Feel Weak
Years ago the mentor I met with while a newlywed was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor. Debbie was given six months to live but died in five. During that time I too was dealing with internal hurts that needed healing. It was really tough. A wise friend of mine encouraged me to watch for what I could learn during this time. “Find purpose in the pain,” she said. I’d never done that before, and in the midst of it all, it seemed impossible.
But it wasn’t. With the help and support of my husband, eventually I viewed the end of Debbie’s life as a new beginning for me. Debbie had imparted a bit of her heart into mine, and this I could hold on to. Incredibly, the final piece of my healing was put into place through a conversation at her funeral. And although I miss her even now, in a way I keep Debbie alive as I carry forward what she taught me.
When you are going through painful seasons of life, challenge yourself. Try to find purpose amidst the pain. What can you learn? What can you carry forward? How can you have victory over what seems like defeat?
When life is topsy-turvy, we need to be held up by our foundations and support system (see chapters six and seven). There may be a tendency to withdraw when things are tough, but it is when we need others all the more. A timely phone call or a meal provided is very uplifting. You never know what kindnesses others will offer when you are in crisis.
As a person of faith, I turn to God for comfort. He has been my refuge and strength in the midst of some very hard times.
The last bit of help may just come from your own attitude. It may sound strange, but when you are going through tough times, be thankful. Sometimes you might have to start with being thankful your situation isn’t worse than it is! It may seem like your life is in shambles, but there is always something small (or large) to be thankful for. You will be surprised how being grateful will lift your spirits!