Growing up, I used to think that I’d have my life together, quickly find the love of my life be married by the age of 22. Now thinking about that, all I can do is laugh. Surprisingly, I found the love of my life at the age of 22, but I was so far from having my life together.
I remember not knowing what my next steps would be after university, but I don’t recall being anxious about it. It was a new adventure that excited me. The world was my oyster and God was my guide. Why should I fear? I wish my 26 year old, recently married self would feel the same way!
Marriage is a beautiful journey that brings joy and fulfilment, but it can also present challenges, including navigating our mental health. I had always struggled with insecurities but this anxiety thing was new. I have no idea where it came from or how to get rid of it, but all I know is that I was feeling worried all the time.
“But, I’m a Christian! I have faith in God and I’m about to be a wife. I need to shake these anxious feelings as soon as possible?” But those feelings were much harder to shake than I thought.
I was constantly thinking of things that would go wrong leading up to the wedding. I was worn out mentally from the wedding planning and house searching, yet I couldn’t get any other work done. My brain wouldn’t let me do anything but house search and wedding plan… the two things that were causing me stress. It exhausted me and it was all I could think about. My thoughts were rarely positive. My brain would flash forward to everything that could go wrong or the negative things people could potentially be saying behind my back.
I would be panicking at the thought of going to my own bridal shower. “Being centre of attention is like being the centre of judgement”, “People are going to talk about me”, “They are going to think my wedding is cheap and tacky”. Just some of the thoughts that floated around my brain. I would feel ill just thinking of my traditional Zimbabwean wedding day and the church wedding itself. “Is it too late to elope?”.
And then leading up to the wedding, I spent two weeks straight, crying every day. We were getting married in the matter of weeks but still had no place to live. “God, are You punishing me? Did I do something wrong? Are You testing me?” It was the same set of questions every day because I just couldn’t understand why every single option ended in rejection. We were running out of time! It actually looked like we were going to get married to and be homeless.
It was hard to hide these feelings and emotions from my fiancé, he could see I was not ok. I had to be honest with him and share my concerns. As I opened my mouth to share one fear, six more poured out. It’s like I was bottling up a bunch of fears that I never even knew about.
Anything and everything that could go wrong, went wrong in my head. In real life, apparently it was fine, but to me, it was game over! I even remember questioning if getting married is the right decision. I kept thinking, “Nat, you were happy as a single girl. Why are you putting yourself through all this stress when you know you’re going to flop at being a wife anyway. He deserves better.”
Wow. What a convenient time for my insecurities to pop up again.
It was at this point that I realised I needed to address the elephant in the room…my mental health.
I knew my fiancé would be gracious, but he went beyond my expectations. Everything that was overwhelming me and bringing me to tears, he took out of my hands and delegated it to friends, family and even took upon himself. He prayed with me and reassured me that God had not abandoned me. He urged me to place my trust in the God I sing so loudly about. To not just claim to trust God, but physically acting upon that trust.
Although we were at a distance and talking through FaceTime, I honestly felt like God stepped into the room and gave us both a massive hug.
As Christians, we are fortunate to have a source of strength and comfort. If it was not for a relationship with God and the encouragement of a God-fearing spouse, I’m not sure if I could say I’d be married right now, let alone happily married!
And I can honestly say my anxiety and insecurities have not disappeared. They are still trying to make a regular appearances in my life and in my marriage. I know the devil is trying to sabotage my marriage but there is no way I’m going to let that happen. This is the best gift God has given to me and I refuse to let that slip through my fingers. Yes, sometimes I have low days and sometimes I’m paralysed by fear but I’m intentionally trying to act on my faith and hold on to the promises that God has given me.
The Bible continually reminds us, being a Christian doesn’t mean we will never experience fear, hardship, depression or anxiety. But, understanding that God's love and grace can guide us through even the darkest times, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel and get through those dark days.
The devil will always try and attack marriages in any way that he can. Depression and Anxiety may seem like the number one tool Satan uses to sabotage marriages, but there are so many other reasons people give up on their marriages. Financial stress and secret debts, lack of intimacy, drugs/alcohol abuse, unhealthy addictions and toxic behaviours just to name a few.
With that being said, yes, it’s not easy dealing with anxiety or depression in marriage, but God promised “No weapon formed against you shall prosper” (Isaiah 54:17). That means, no matter what life grenades the devil has launched your way to destroy you, Your God won’t let it prosper!
We can take heart and tell our anxiety to chill, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).
There’s so much more to say, but i’ll leave it for the next blog post. I hope my testimony helps someone and please feel free to reach out if you’d like to talk. How do you navigate mental health in your marriage? What tips can you share? Let us know in the comments below. You can also catch up with us on Instagram.
About The Author
Illustrator/animator who loves all things Christian Apparel. I have a passion for sharing the love of God through my art and my testimony.