4 Ways to Care for Yourself in a Struggling Marriage

Often when wives are in the midst of dealing with a struggling marriage, self care gets put on the back burner.

So much focus and energy are placed on the issues at hand that there isn’t much left in her reserves for anything else.

However, this is actually the opposite of what you want to do when you are working through a struggling marriage. In fact, it is truly one of the most important things you can do to improve your confidence and well-being during this time. As you grow in these areas, it benefits you and can even positively impact your marriage.

(disclaimer- I’m not a licensed counselor, all thoughts presented here are solely from my own experiences as well as drawn from the experiences of many I’ve come to know on this similar journey. Always seek a licensed counselor when in need.) ** In addition this post contains affiliate links. Click Here for full disclosure**

When our standing for marriage group was in the beginning stages, one of our groups’ pioneer members introduced us to the acronym P.I.E.S.  She went on to explain how each letter represents an area a wife can work on as she waits on God for marriage restoration, and we began our first P.I.E.S. group challenge.  We learned that it was a hopeful thing to do in a time when most things feel out of a wifes’ control, and was empowering as these are things she CAN control.

Here is the breakdown of each area of self- care and growth:

P= Physical, anything that benefits our physical well-being

I= Intellectual, any way we can grow intellectually

E= Emotional, any way a wife can grow and improve emotionally

S= Spiritual, ways a wife is growing spiritually

Let’s start with P (physical).  The bible says in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

 By caring for ourselves physically we are honoring God with our earthly temples, to be used for his glory.  Now, if you’re groaning thinking, “This blogger lady wants me to start exercising and eating right”, Ok yes you’re onto me, but that’s definitely a positive thing we can all do for our health and overall wellness!  However, there’s so much more. Maybe for you it’s finally making that doctors appointment you’ve been putting off. It could also be something like quitting smoking, or getting more sleep.  Maybe it’s taking that courageous step and realizing you are struggling with addiction, and you bravely step forward and ask for help. Or, maybe you’re interested in looking into Holistic Health Support.

Anytime that you work to improve your physical health, you will feel better and reduce your stress level. When you feel more energetic and more relaxed, you will also be better able to handle issues in a struggling marriage. 

Are you reading this and thinking, well my marriage isn’t really struggling? That’s ok! Working to improve your physical well-being will spill over into more energy and a relaxed attitude when you are dealing with the regular demands of life, as well as any normal stressors than can affect your marriage.  This will be true for all of the components of the P.I.E.S., as each area a wife grows in will improve her life in general, and be a benefit to her marriage.

Moving into I (intellectual), there are so many creative ways to grow intellectually. Some choose to read a new book to improve their knowledge and wisdom on a topic, while others choose to enroll in a class to learn a new technique for a particular activity. Truly, if you are learning something new, you are challenging your intellect!  It could be something as simple as attempting a soduko puzzle, all the way up to finally taking the plunge and enrolling in classes towards your degree. If you are looking for ways to grow intellectually, start with choosing something that interests you and isn’t too overwhelming, and then build on it. Some people think of the word intellect as dull or boring to pursue, but when it’s something you become passionate about, it can actually be quite fascinating! And when you are in the midst of a struggling marriage, learning something new can feel like a breath of fresh air. It can be a huge boost to your self confidence in a time when often a wife’s self confidence is struggling.

The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” Proverbs 4:7

E (emotional)  So much of what a wife goes through in a struggling marriage is emotional. It can be truly exhausting and relentless.  One of the best things a person can do when having difficulty emotionally is to surround yourself with others who are supportive. I highly encourage signing up for individual professional counseling to work through the emotions that are surfacing at this time.  I also recommend looking into any supportive church groups or 1:1 minister programs when working through the emotions and difficult decisions in a struggling marriage. Many find that regular journaling is a helpful release for the heavy emotions they are feeling. Some find it so helpful that they look forward to coming home after work to journal right away.

It is good to find ways to be good to yourself, and gentle. Imagine if it were your friend who was going through the things that you are going through.  How would you treat her? Would you surprise her with a hot cup of her favorite tea or coffee? Would you insist on going to lunch together or taking her to a movie? Think of yourself this way too! Treat yourself like you would your dear friend. Feeling defeated and low? Forget the laundry pile for now, and snuggle in your softest blanket and grab your favorite movie. Or, take yourself for a drive to the nearest bookshop and sit and thumb through all the latest titles. Maybe for you it’s treating yourself to a pedicure, or even a massage.  The idea is to be gentle to yourself and treat yourself well in ways that sooth your emotional soul. And remember, you’re never alone. Jesus has you in his hands, and he weeps with you and cares for you, and will not ever leave or forsake you.

Click here if interested in services for the emotional benefits of holistic health approaches


S (Spiritual) Our spiritual self is essential for our growth and well-being. Some may find this post and have never considered this aspect of themselves. However, having a faith and trust in God can be one of the most important things we can do to improve in all the other areas of the P.I.E.S.

Ways that wives have worked on their growth spiritually is through activities such as bible journaling, or listening to worship music. Some like to read books on spiritual growth, or listen to podcasts from their favorite spiritual teachers. Others prefer a walk in the woods enjoying all of Gods’ amazing and beautifully designed creation.

Prayer is a huge way to connect spiritually. Prayer is a regular ongoing dialogue with God that can transform a believer in mind, body and soul.

However you find that you connect best with God, that’s a great place to start! You can always build from there if you feel stunted in your spiritual growth, but the key is to pursue it purposefully.

Growing spiritually in faith and trust in God will be the only way to Gods’ best for you, and provides immense relief of burden when you can give your struggling marriage over to God. You can march forward boldly in faith that he will redeem your story and lead you to his will.

1 Corinthians 2:9 “However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him

Every time we do this challenge, we encourage wives to choose at least one goal from each letter of the P.I.E.S. and create it so that its achievable and realistic. For example, it may not be realistic to say you’ll lose 5 pounds this week, but, it may be achievable and realistic to say you’lll go for a walk 4 times this week and start drinking more water etc.

Aaaand the best part? We always encourage a reward! Each time you meet your goals, reward yourself!  For some this is something like treating themselves to some flowers, or their favorite coffee.  Others will treat themselves to a new book, or a pedicure! Whatever would be a reward to you, make it worth it, and within your budget.

So are you ready to work on your P.I.E.S.? Luckily if you’re not into baking, you can still make these! And if you are in the midst of a struggling marriage, this could be one of the best most positive journeys you embark on.

Click Here for A Free P.I.E.S. printable to get started!

When He Says I Don’t Love You Anymore, A Christian Guidebook For Those in the Battle For Their Marriages

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