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Elayne Grossmith explores how married couples can use their God-given talents to keep their relationship strong in times of trial.

From the day you walked down the aisle, you wanted a happily ever after kind of love. But some days, wishing for it is easier than achieving it. Marriage can be challenging because it has so many moving parts. And then, when you think things are going well, life throws you a curve ball.

As a Catholic mom, you know God is always there for you. Our dear Lord Jesus Christ is your first line of defense when disaster hits. But, God also wants you to use your talents to the best of your ability to keep your marriage vibrant, functioning best, and prepared for the unexpected.




You want to maintain psychological well-being by keeping a sense of control over what your situation demands. You'll want attributes that help you function effectively and not become overwhelmed when your world turns upside-down.

Start by considering the following scenarios of six married couples:

  • Darrin and Alicia fell in love even though he was Jewish and she was Catholic. From the beginning, Alicia relied heavily on the assumption that Darrin would convert to Catholicism, but he never did.
  • Tim came from a large family and looked forward to the day he and Shauna would have children. They learned early in the marriage that Shauna was unable to conceive.
  • Bobbi was attracted to Tyler's athletic physique. She loved to see how other women noticed him when they were out in public. But after his Hummer encountered an improvised explosive device, Tyler was never the same.
  • Lisette and Maurice felt they had it made. He was an investment banker with the highest credentials being looked at by the most influential financial institutions. One rainy night, Maurice rolled over in his sports car, sustaining a life-altering head injury.
  • Dayla and Tatin met while serving in the Marines. Tatin was happy to be discharged and on with his civilian life while Dayla still had time to serve. They were eager to start their family and did so while Dayla was still serving. Tatin became the full-time nanny to their child when Dayla deployed and after she decided she wanted to stay in the military.
  • On their honeymoon, Trish and Scott rode all-terrain vehicles in the backcountry woods. Scott's vehicle flipped, landing partially on top of him. He was diagnosed with quadriplegia, having lost control of his arms and legs.

In these real-life scenarios, married couples experienced severe challenges to their relationships. And yet, despite the tragedy and hardship, they chose to work through their situations together rather than separately. Each couple possessed attributes that enabled them to override their overpowering circumstance and stay on course. Although they had imagined their lives would be much different, they demonstrated courage as they worked to make the best of their new realities.




Their situations changed dramatically. Change is a persistent characteristic of marriage, whether spouses are dealing with stressors like inadequate funds or the everyday hassles like who's picking up the kids. There are plenty of opportunities for spouses to learn and grow as they encounter adverse events and obstacles if they remain engaged in the struggle.

While these six couples didn't walk away from their marriages, not everyone handles change well. It's easy to get fixated on how you want your life to proceed, and then you might find it too challenging to give up that idea.

The attributes of tolerance, adaptability, and flexibility are crucial characteristics of a successful marriage. Spouses with these traits recognize and respect each other's differences, whether in their thoughts, actions, values, or attributes. They recognize that life is not a constant, that circumstances change, and they remain poised to work hard to get through the storm.

Mental flexibility enables you to recognize and adapt to various changing situations. If you're flexible, you can modify your mindset and use your emotions, thoughts, and behavior to help you tolerate negative situations and achieve the best possible results. By being attentive, you stay aware of what each situation requires and can choose the best strategy for your life.


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God wants you to use your talents to keep your marriage vibrant, functioning best, and prepared for the unexpected. #catholicmom


How spouses survive life changes matters a great deal. Spouses that pull together help solve issues, and can keep moving forward. Without tolerance, adaptability, and mental flexibility, couples tend to swirl in the same place or turn away from each other. An inability to think flexibly in response to changing situational demands increases levels of psychological distress, such as anxiety and depression.

Remain aware, open, accepting, and non-judgmental toward new ideas to be more flexible. You start by being present in the moment and not avoiding your circumstance. A problem never got solved by avoiding it. Be willing to change your thoughts and actions in response to environmental cues—practice shifting to alternative solutions rather than getting stuck on one idea. Look at curve balls as a challenge to work together to create a better tomorrow.




[Author's note: names have been changed to protect the privacy of the couples in the scenarios described here.]

Copyright 2022 Elayne Grossmith
Images: Canva