A special needs child. Job stresses. Financial issues. Health problems, including the wife's undiagnosed Lyme Disease that she unknowingly passes to all four children.
Jeff and Sarah Walton have faced all these losses and more in their 16 years of marriage. And they recognize that, because of COVID-19, we're all facing storms right now. In their new book, Together Through the Storms, the Waltons explain how important it is for spouses to recognize the differences in the way they process grief and loss.
"Most often you're experiencing the most similar grief. But ... we are completely made up differently," Sarah says on the Hope for Your Marriage series on the Charisma News podcast. "So we may be facing the exact same trial or the exact same loss. But we are most likely going to process it differently, express it differently. ... it will look different for each of us.
"Sometimes I've seen even in other relationships and friends we know where one spouse will be completely broken by what the loss of experience, and the other spouse may feel like they need to kind of hold it together for that season. Well, from the outside, that may look like one is deeply hurting and the other is not feeling as affected, where that is most likely not the case," Sarah says.
"It's so important [to understand this] in our own relationships because the danger is, we can look at our spouse who maybe grieving something differently or just navigating that their own path of grief in a completely different way," she adds. "And that lends itself to a lot of misunderstanding of each other or assumptions of each other which can lead to feeling disconnected. It can lead to even a sense of bitterness that your spouse may not be feeling it the way you think you are feeling it."
Jeff points out that we also see this difference in response to grief between the biblical figure Job (who fell down and worshipped, but also shaved his head) and his wife (who told her husband to "curse God and die" [Job 2:9b]).
"And so I think another important aspect of this is that we need to take our grief directly to Christ," he says.
To learn more about why you may process grief differently than your spouse and what you can do to navigate losses associated with COVID-19 and more, listen to this podcast.
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