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Marriages go through ups and downs, and even the strongest relationships can be tested during hard times. Illness, financial troubles, grief, job loss, and other challenges can put an incredible strain on couples.

During difficult seasons, husbands and wives need to turn to God and seek out Scriptural truths and promises to meditate upon.

The Bible offers guidance, wisdom, and encouragement for those struggling in their union.

Focusing on Bible verses is one simple but powerful way to invite God’s help and perspective.

In this article, we’ll be specifically looking at Bible verses from the New International Version (NIV) translation that speak to couples navigating rocky terrain in their journey together. Whether you’re battling external circumstances or relationship issues like loss of connection or frequent arguing, God cares and provides breadcrumbs of hope along the way.

What does the bible say about hard times in relationships?

The Bible speaks extensively about relationships, including navigating difficulty within them. While specific interpretations and applications can vary among denominations and individuals, here are some key themes:


  • Love as the foundation: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 beautifully describes love as patient, kind, humble, selfless, and forgiving. This enduring love is the guiding principle for navigating challenges.
  • God’s love as an example: John 13:34 reminds us that Jesus commands us to love one another as he loved us. His sacrificial love sets a high standard for forgiveness and compassion even in difficult times.


  • Essential for healing: Ephesians 4:32 emphasizes forgiveness as crucial for overcoming grievances and restoring relationships. Just as God forgives us, we are called to extend the same grace to others.
  • Letting go of bitterness: Colossians 3:13 urges us to replace bitterness, anger, and slander with kindness and compassion, fostering an environment conducive to healing.


  • Active listening and understanding: Proverbs 18:13 highlights the importance of listening before responding, fostering mutual understanding and avoiding misunderstandings.
  • Honest and respectful communication: Ephesians 4:29 promotes honest communication without malice, ensuring openness and clarity in addressing issues.

Humility and patience:

  • Recognizing our own flaws: James 3:2 reminds us that we all stumble in our words, encouraging humility and understanding toward each other’s imperfections.
  • Patience and perseverance: Romans 15:5 emphasizes the importance of patience and perseverance in love, reminding us that building strong relationships takes time and effort.

Seeking guidance:

  • Prayer and faith: Throughout the Bible, characters find solace and strength in prayer during difficult times. Seeking God’s guidance and relying on faith can offer comfort and perspective.
  • Community and support: Proverbs 15:22 emphasizes the value of counsel and encourages seeking guidance from wise individuals, including spiritual leaders or therapists.


These are just a few guiding principles, and specific situations may require different approaches.

It’s important to consider the context of each verse and avoid rigid interpretations.

Consulting with a religious leader or trusted advisor can provide deeper insights and personalized guidance relevant to your specific situation.

Old Testament Verses Offering Reassurance of God’s Presence and Plan

  • Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 – Discusses the strength and comfort found in walking through life alongside someone, emphasizing that two can withstand what one alone could not. Reminds couples that God designed marriage for mutual support.
  • Psalm 34:18 – God draws nearest to the brokenhearted and saves those crushed in spirit. Human companions can’t always identify with our pain, but God fully understands.
  • Genesis 2:18 – Eve was created as a helper and partner for Adam. Intimacy in marriage allows spouses to walk as a team through challenges big and small.
  • Proverbs 3:5-6 – Instructs couples to wholly trust in God’s direction and timing rather than relying on their own human understanding. Takes off pressure.

Table containing additional notable verses:

VerseHow It Helps
Psalm 143:8Highlights God’s desire to shower faithful love and guide couples who pray to Him.
Isaiah 41:10“Do not fear, for I am with you” is a soothing balm from God that quells loneliness and anxiety during hard chapters.
Psalm 23:4The Lord’s rod and staff comfort and protect those in dark valleys who follow Him.

Old Testament Bible Verses for Couples in Hard Times (KJV)

Here are some Old Testament Bible verses from the King James Version (KJV) that can provide comfort and encouragement for couples facing hard times:

  1. Genesis 2:24: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”
  2. Psalm 34:18: “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”
  3. Psalm 46:1: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
  4. Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
  5. Isaiah 41:10: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
  6. Isaiah 43:2: “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”
  7. Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”
  8. Lamentations 3:22-23: “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”
  9. Habakkuk 3:17-18: “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”
  10. Malachi 2:16: “For the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the Lord of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.”
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These verses offer hope, strength, and guidance for couples facing trials and challenges in their relationship.

New Testament Verses Offering Hope and Healing

The New Testament contains many treasures – these are a few that stand out as beacons for couples seeking to weather storms well and protect their bond through turbulent times.

1 Peter 5:7

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

This straightforward verse packs a powerful punch. It motivates couples to release worry to the Lord as an act of trust and faith during seasons where many anxieties arise. It also comforts couples in knowing God cares deeply and invites them to cast those cares upon His shoulders.

James 1:2-4

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

At first glance, counting hardship as “joy” seems counterintuitive! But these verses assure couples that trials have spiritual purpose – God uses those tests to develop perseverance and character within. Growth through difficulty makes relationships stronger.

Romans 8:28

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

This oft-quoted verse gives couples a 30,000 foot view of any affliction they walk through. God promises to use all circumstances that touch His children’s lives for an ultimate positive outcome.

Clinging to this “big picture” truth alleviates anger over specific hurts.

New Testament Bible Verses for Couples in Hard Times (KJV)

Here are some New Testament Bible verses from the King James Version (KJV) that can offer encouragement and strength for couples facing hard times:

  1. Matthew 11:28-30: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
  2. Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
  3. Romans 15:13: “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”
  4. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7: “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”
  5. Philippians 4:6-7: “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
  6. Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
  7. 1 Thessalonians 5:11: “Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.”
  8. Hebrews 13:5-6: “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”
  9. James 1:2-4: “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”
  10. 1 Peter 5:7: “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”
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These verses emphasize the importance of faith, hope, love, perseverance, and reliance on God’s strength during difficult times in a relationship.

Verses Promoting Unity, Empathy and Mutual Care

Navigating rough waters puts relationships to the test. It’s all too easy for husbands and wives to disconnect, argue, assign blame, or stop investing in intimacy during hectic or troubling times.

But Scripture calls couples to fight for their marriage – even when fighting within the marriage.

Consider the following verses:

Colossians 3:12-14

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

Trying periods often highlight weaknesses of human character – selfishness, pride, impatience, and more. This verse charges spouses to combat natural inclinations by intentionally “clothing themselves” in Christlike virtues.

Ephesians 4:32

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Shared hardship inevitably sparks disagreements between spouses. God commands gentle, compassionate understanding. Emotional hurts must be forgiven, just as God forgives couples through Jesus.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

This passage is popular at weddings, emphasizing that authentic love stands the test of time. Persevering love is patently needed when couples enter periods of grief, stress, fatigue, or trial. Spouses must re-choose gentleness constantly.

Verses Encouraging Shared Spiritual Intimacy with God

As blankets of hardship threaten to smother marriage unions, couples must cling tightly to the shared spiritual intimacy that (hopefully!) first kindled their relationship. Chasing Jesus together reignites faint embers of love and passion again.

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It allows husbands and wives to combat challenges outside of their control with awe, trust and tenderness between themselves. Consider the below verses that inspire teamwork with God:

Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NIV)

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

This oft-quoted verse depicts marriage relationships intertwined with God Himself in a strong braided cord. As couples invite God’s presence into their hardship, they weave Him into every aspect of their struggle and partnership.

Matthew 19:4-6 (NIV)

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Jesus explains that the Genesis model for marriage is sacred because God mystically fuses husband and wife into “one flesh”. This spiritual union occurs beneath what the eye can see – despite circumstantial divisions couples may experience as they walk through difficulty.

Ephesians 5:25-33 (excerpts)

These excerpts equip husbands to love wives sacrificially during hard times when energy runs low. They remind couples that their human marriage signifies Christ’s relationship with the church – encouraging them to invest in godly intimacy despite trial.

Overcoming Adversity While Waiting on God

Seasons of adversity and waiting strain marital bonds and individuals’ mental health. But Scripture provides hope. Christians believe suffering is temporary, and God rewards those clinging faithfully to him through the darkness. Consider the below promises and examples:

John 16:33 (NIV)

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Christ forewarns believers they will endure anguish on this fallen planet. Yet anchoring into His finished work provides supernatural peace and courage to withstand hardship while anticipating eternal Victory.

James 1:12 (NIV)

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

This verse depicts hardship as a “test” with suffering being temporary and purposeful. A glorious reward belongs to couples who don’t abandon faith in God during adversity.

Genesis 37-50 (Story of Joseph)

Few biblical accounts record years of adversity coupled with prolonged waiting! Early on, Joseph received a promise from God that he would rule Egypt. However, he underwent intense betrayal, injustice and confinement for over a decade before seeing this prophecy miraculously fulfilled. His perseverance offers hope.

Habakkuk 3:17-19

Despite hopeless circumstances out of his control, the prophet Habakkuk clung to joy and faith in God’s eventual salvation and provision. His posture inspires couples battling difficult diagnoses, financial ruin, relationship fractures or other major losses.

Summary and Call to Action

Hard times will inevitably strike – such is life on Earth! No couple coasts through marriage without some storms. Seasons of financial desperation, grief, relationship disconnect, fear, disbelief, anger and doubt test even the healthiest foundations over decades.

Yet in the midst of raging storms, Christian couples cling securely to the anchor of God’s Word and presence. Scripture offers breadcrumbs of comfort, wisdom , perspective and reassurance along difficult roads. The Bible teaches that with God’s help, hardship does not have the final word. Beneath heartache, His grace and purposes mysteriously operate.

Commit to meditating on the following action steps together:

1) Identify which Scriptural promise or passage resonates most today given your current adversity

2) Schedule intentional time praying these verses over your relationship and decision making

3) Ask God to reveal His personal care and activity, even when circumstances feel out of control

4) Research Christian books, podcasts or mentors offering hard-won wisdom on navigating your specific struggle

5) Serve others amidst personal crisis to gain eternal perspective

No quick fixes or silver linings eradicate the sting of Christian couples sobbing, “How long, O Lord?”. But as believers cling tightly to the faithful God who redeems suffering, their pain is never pointless. They can trust He will use it to untangle the knots with which sin and tragedy have distorted their marriage tapestry – reweaving something more intricate and beautiful they could never achieve alone.

Key Takeaways:

  • God cares deeply about the hardships couples face and offers His living presence amidst the pain through Scripture
  • Biblical verses provide reassurance, perspective, wisdom and promises to cling to
  • Trying times have spiritual purposes: to develop Christlike character and deepen intimacy with God
  • Maintaining unity and continuing to invest in the marriage despite challenges brings strength
  • Waiting on God through suffering is heroic and leads to blessings
  • Anchoring into biblical truths and God’s eternal redemption story sustains hope

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