Marriage has come with plenty of challenges for us lately.
Moving states in my 3rd trimester to live with my parents being a big one. Making that decision together was also a big challenge for us and our marriage. We had to listen to each other and work together in ways we never had. And now, as we adjust to this new life and the changes of parenthood coming our way, Cristian and I are realizing we need each other more than ever.
Something that has helped us a lot through these challenges is an LDS devotional given by Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles called “Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread.”
In it, he talks about looking to God for what is needed each day. To us, this means asking the Lord for help with what we need THAT day, one day at a time. When experiencing challenges in marriage (or just life in general, whether you’re married or not) it’s easy to get wrapped up in all of the unknown. By focusing on things one day at a time, it’s a little bit easier to accept whatever it is Heavenly Father has planned for you.
Elder Christofferson says, “Asking God for our daily bread, rather than our weekly, monthly, or yearly bread, is also a way to focus us on the smaller, more manageable bits of a problem. To deal with something very big, we may need to work at it in small, daily bites. Sometimes all we can handle is one day (or even just part of one day) at a time.”
He gives an example of when, a while before he was called as a general authority, he had experienced a personal economic challenge that threatened his family’s welfare. “I thought we might be facing financial ruin,” he said.
After many times of praying for a miracle and getting the answer “No” from the Lord, he said he learned how to pray accepting not his will, but Heavenly Father’s.
“There were times when I had exhausted all my resources, when I had nowhere or no one to turn to at that moment, when there was simply no other human being I could call on to help meet the exigency before me,” Elder Christofferson said. “With no other recourse, more than once I fell down before my Heavenly Father begging in tears for His help. And He did help. Sometimes it was nothing more than a sense of peace, a feeling of assurance that things would work out. I might not see how or what the path would be, but He gave me to know that, directly or indirectly, He would open a way. Circumstances might change, a new and helpful idea might come to mind, some unanticipated income or other resource might appear at just the right time. Somehow there was a resolution.
Though I suffered then, as I look back now, I am grateful that there was not a quick solution to my problem. The fact that I was forced to turn to God for help almost daily over an extended period of years taught me truly how to pray and get answers to prayer and taught me in a very practical way to have faith in God. I came to know my Savior and my Heavenly Father in a way and to a degree that might not have happened otherwise or that might have taken me much longer to achieve. I learned that daily bread is a precious commodity.”
Cristian and I have already been able to tell how our suffering within our recent marriage challenges has strengthened us and prepared us for future challenges. Focusing on our “daily bread” has made our marriage better and helped us become better people.
Now, whenever one of us is despairing about difficulties or circumstances that we can’t easily change, the other says, “Daily bread! What can we do today?”
Elder Christofferson quotes a senior Navy SEAL officer from the book The Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell.
“Don’t let your thoughts run away with you, don’t start planning to bail out because you’re worried about the future and how much you can take. Don’t look ahead to the pain. Just get through the day, and there’s a wonderful career ahead of you.”
Five weeks ago, I badly sprained my ankle. We were in the midst of waiting to see how the challenge of Cristian shutting down his business was going to pan out. We were also waiting to see if someone would take over the lease to our townhome so we could actually move. Without these two things happening, our move to Utah was going to be impossible.
Me falling (by missing a stair) and spraining my ankle seemed like icing on the cake.
At first, we didn’t know if I had broken it or not, so we went to Urgent Care (it was a Sunday). The Urgent Care doctor was shocked that no break showed up on my X-rays, but said he couldn’t tell if I’d torn a ligament or how brad my sprain was because of the swelling.
We went home, and Cristian was upset. He was upset because he felt that for going through all of that, it should be broken! He by no means wanted my ankle to be broken, but was frustrated that (with how tight money is) we went to Urgent Care just to find out it was sprained. I understood, but still felt like it was my fault for causing this stress. That my pregnant clumsiness was causing even more challenges for us.
I remember just barely getting up the first set of stairs to our townhome with Cristian’s help, and he went off to talk to his mom. I sat on the floor at the top of our stairs to take off my shoes, and I just sobbed. And sobbed. I felt so helpless and guilty. Cristian came and sat next to me, feeling sorry for being mad. He was just frustrated with everything that was building up, and was experiencing a moment of weakness. The challenges were getting to him. This was particularly difficult for us, because I felt the same way. We sat there together in the middle of the floor with my swollen foot and we knew what we had to focus on: daily bread.
We decided to accept the challenge and be grateful it wasn’t worse, and that more importantly, our baby was okay. We decided that for that day, our daily bread was to focus on being thankful for our blessings and to get me well. Everything else we would take one day at a time.
We have seen miracle after miracle since then. We’ve started our new life in Utah and are nervous for the near future, but more excited than anything because we know Heavenly Father takes care of us. One day at a time.
Elder Christofferson’s devotional was turned into a series of short videos for the Mormon Channel. You can watch them on YouTube, but below is our favorite clip, where he talks about the economic challenges he was facing. Watch below.