Together in the Orchard

Struggling Together

by Phylicia Joannis | Jan 25, 2024 | fellowship | 0 comments

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Three months after our wedding, my husband lost his job. And for nearly a year, in the most expensive city in the US, we went through one of the toughest financial hardships we would face. While that season certainly helped shape our faith in ways we wouldn’t forget, going through it was difficult, even for two people with a strong foundation in the Lord. I was working a low-wage temp job at the time, and our relationship as husband and wife was still fresh and full of unrealistic expectations. I wish I could say we braved that season with the patience of Job and unyielding love for one another.

Walking by faith as an individual is different from walking by faith as a couple. I’m grateful for the strong biblical foundation each of us had and the strength of our relationship with the Lord as individuals. But this was our first major struggle together and three things really helped us weather through it.

  1. God’s Faithfulness. We prayed for God’s wisdom and help during that season and we were given deferments on debts. After paying rent, there wasn’t much left over, but by God’s grace, every bill was paid. We saw the faithfulness of God for ourselves. Though we struggled, God brought us through it, and our faith is stronger for having seen Him work in that way.
  2. Open Communication. Before we were married, my husband and I had established communication as a value in our relationship. We talked about everything, and through those conversations, we developed a significant amount of trust in each other. When hard times hit, that trust was put to the test. There were things we just didn’t know how to do together yet, places where my thought processes and his diverged. Getting on the same page financially took a lot of work. There were arguments and tears. But there was also open and honest communication and, ultimately, breakthrough. 
  3. Vulnerability. Going through hardship can place a lot of stress on any relationship, especially a marriage. I spent a lot of time carrying the burden of managing our finances before I finally admitted to my husband that it was too much for me. His prayer warrior wife had a chink in her armor. And it was okay. Responsibilities shifted, for the better, because we were vulnerable with one another and candid about our weak points. We learned quite a bit about each other during that season. And while there were no miraculous overnight solutions, there was a bonding that happened, and a commitment to continue to be honest with one another.

Fast forward fourteen years, and we’re still in the business of communicating and being vulnerable with each other—admitting faults, insecurities, and any lack of confidence. When one of us struggles, the other is there to bring encouragement. When we’re both struggling, we admit it and ask God to guide us and help us.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NLT) says:

A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”

And that’s really the main point. Whether one of us or both of us is having a hard time, God is right there. He’s proven himself faithful again and again despite our weak faith and insecurities—through petty arguments over who spent grocery money on gum and whether or not we should get the cheapest toilet paper or keep a bit of dignity and splurge on two-ply. Our marriage has seen hardship, but it’s also seen tremendous growth and even more of God’s goodness. From a major financial hardship three months in to fourteen years and counting, we’ve learned that we can struggle together and thrive together, as long as God is with us. Because, as the scripture above states, a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

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Your Scribe: Phylicia Joannis

I’m Phylicia and I love writing stories. I have a degree in biblical studies and lead foundational Bible study groups with my husband. Ours is a heart for Christian community and we love to see people grow.


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