About the Author

Joy McLaughlin’s passion is to see women set free to live the life God intended for them. Married to Todd, they have three married sons and one adorable grandson. She loves all things words and a beautifully constructed sentence rivals a bowl of ice cream on a summer day.

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  1. Thank you, Joy, for persevering–and for being willing to share the rocky road that has led you to this place of peace and wisdom. I’m rejoicing with you, too, and humbled by the patience of God for He has persevered as well, walking with us both over the broken ground.

    • Yes, I’m so thankful that God doesn’t treat us as we deserve or grow tired of us, but instead He desires to redeem those broken places in our lives and use them for our good and His glory!

  2. When you’re in the middle of the hard stuff it’s hard to imagine the sweet spot. Thank you for offering hope to those who desperately need it today!

    • It is tough, Andrea! I remember those feelings well. It was my desire in sharing this part of my story to offer hope to those in the hard places, and I’m glad that this reached you. Lean into Jesus, and while it may not seem like it, you can rest assured that He is working on your behalf even if you don’t see it because that’s what He does for us! Take care!

  3. How beautifully said!
    My husband and I also struggled for many years and continue to disagree but know that our love and perseverence mean more than the immediate challenge before us.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Love and blessings, Maggie

    • Thank you, Maggie! I pray that God will continue to draw you and your husband closer to each other as He draws you both closer to Him. Perseverance and love mean making choices every day to honor the covenant you made before God even if the feelings aren’t always there. You’re on the right track. Blessings to you!

  4. Joy,

    Marriage takes work & effort on both parts. It usually starts out sweet. Then life happens. Family troubles, work, etc. & the fights can start. We must remember to think before we speak. In the movie War Room the husband & wife fight all the time. The wife is real estate agent & talking to a lady trying to help sell her house. The lady asks the wife how often do you pray for you spouse? That hit me right in the eyes. I never thought about praying for my husband. Now I have a list of things I pray over him. He states he prays for me. Some of our problems have been resolved. The messy middle is hard. You must not try to do it alone ever!! Go to God & find a trusted friend to help out. They can simply listen & try to encourage you. It helped me out tremendously!

    Blessings 🙂

    • Great advice, Beth! Yes, praying for your spouse is so important. It’s hard to hold onto unforgiveness when you are sincerely praying for someone. Prayer not only benefits the one you are praying for, but it also changes us. One of my favorite things to do is to pray with my husband also. I love the connection in the Spirit that it brings. I’m so glad that you learned and have laid that foundation in your marriage! Take care!

  5. What a coincidence.. Hubby and I got married very young too and we are in our 25th year. It is hard and still is hard. I think over the years, I had just remained submissive and not wanting to start stuff and I find as I get older, I am more bolder and no longer that scared little girl. In so with this, I become something else, someone else I rather not be. My voice is now louder and I cannot refrain myself from all the things that upsets me and gets me rolling with anger. I am struggling to hold my tongue every day and to think positive thoughts. I feel as if I am failing greatly at this. While my hubby is on cloud nine. He loves life, enjoys everything and I am drowning here with work, home life and I feel like I am a single married woman. I do so much and sometimes it would just be nice to hear him ask if I need help. He tells me that he know I am a strong woman and can do it without much help. Well I hate to burst his bubble but I am strong because I had to do it without his help, there was no choice. I know everyone reading this will think I am a horrible person but honestly I feel as if he is teaching me how to live without him and at my weak moments, I might do something I will regret deeply. I love my hubby and can’t imagine my life without him and it’s not fair of me to dwell on petty stuff I know. Lord, help me to be a better helper to my hubby and allow me to control my tongue and love on him. Thank you for sharing this.

    • Maylee, you are not a horrible person! You are a beautiful soul with hurts and unmet expectations. I’ve been there too! I’m sorry for the struggles you’re having. Is there a way that you can share your feelings with your husband at a time when emotions are not running high? Marriage is a crazy partnership of two (often very different) people who fell in love without all of the tools to sustain a healthy relationship (I’m speaking from my own experience). There were times when I would ask my husband for help, and he would ask what needed to be done, and I would say “everything, just look around.” I can’t tell you how many times I got the deer in the headlights look from him because he didn’t see what I saw. When I learned to give him specifics (such as vacuum the floor, help the kids straighten up their room, etc.), he was relieved to have a task with boundaries and was more than willing to do it. Communicating what we need is so important, but also communicating to our husbands our appreciation and gratefulness is equally important. I don’t know if this helps at all, but I’m praying that God heals the hurting places in you and helps you and your husband come together with Him at the center. I also encourage you to ask God to show you how He sees your husband and that God change your heart for your husband to be like His. The fact that you shared where you are at shows that you care and desire change. God can do a lot with a willing heart. Blessings to you!

  6. Joy, thank you so much for sharing this story. I love how God pursues us, often through the love and counsel of a friend. What a profound gift. I’m especially chewing on this wisdom:

    “She taught me about personal responsibility being independent from another’s actions, that an ungodly response, provoked or not, was still ungodly. It was painful and exhausting at times, but then the road to surrender usually is.”

    So good! So true. There is always hope in surrender.

    It’s a joy to host your words at (in)courage today. xx

    • Thank you so much, Becky! It was such an honor to share a part of my story on incourage! My hope was that by sharing my story I could encourage at least one person to hold on and contend for their marriage and not lose hope. Thank you for giving me this outlet!

      Blessings to you and your amazing team!

  7. Dear Joy,
    I’m so pleased with your story today. also struggled with a marriage that didn’t have restoration and with suicidal feelings. Loosing my family and being alone were too hard. God helped me going through and freed me from suicide. Love you

    • Marinalva, I’m so sorry to hear about your story. I can only imagine how hard that must have been. You’re right, all stories don’t end with restoration, and while we don’t have all the answers, God promises to use it for the good of those that love Him. I am so glad to hear that God helped you and freed you from taking your own life. I pray that God continues to hold you close and speak His love and words of life over you. Thanks so much for taking the time to share part of your story. God bless you!