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The Value of Suffering

Have you ever planned a party with the excitement and anticipation of hosting the most perfect evening, where you and all your guests could relax and experience pure joy and happiness? You drew pleasure from considering all the possibilities for food, decorations, and entertainment. You were energized at the thought of bringing joy to your special guests. You even felt significant in anticipation of being complimented and thanked for providing such a special treat. You worked very hard to bring it all together. Then, at the last minute, when everything was in place, the party was canceled because of severe weather. You felt incredibly disappointed, sad, and even angry.

How much more disappointing it is when you spend all of your formative years dreaming about and planning your life—what you will study in school, what job you will get, who you will marry, how your children will be—only to ‘wake up’ years later in a tumultuous marriage and/or with children who are not faring well. In that situation, there is not merely an element of suffering, the suffering is great.

Expectations and Meaning

Your view of suffering will greatly determine how you react to everything from small disappointments to catastrophic events in your life. Great suffering can destroy you or make you stronger, depending on your perspective.

Do you expect your life to always go as planned? To be fair? To never involve much pain? If so, you are setting yourself up for anxiety, depression, and despair. You are setting the stage for avoidance in relationships or, even worse, abandoning your spouse and children when the going gets tough.

Suffering is part of the human condition – it is unavoidable.

Your acceptance of it and what meaning you assign it will help you use suffering for the good it can bring. A few examples of the meaning of suffering could be:

  • It makes me stronger.
  • It motivates me to change.
  • It brings me closer to God.
  • It allows me to ask for the help I need.
  • It shows me that others will help me.
  • It teaches me humility instead of pride.
  • It makes me grateful for all that is good.

By accepting suffering and giving it meaning, you will diminish the pain. It will motivate you to make changes to move forward out of the pain. It will give you strength to work on yourself and your relationships. It will help you to be grateful in the midst of suffering.

Don’t let your suffering defeat you!

If you want to work with someone who will recognize your pain and journey and help you to use that pain to become stronger and motivated to make changes in your life, please reach out to us here at the Marriage Recovery Center. We’d love to help!


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