Responding as a Couple to World Tragedy

Etienne Laurent, EPA

Etienne Laurent, EPA

With the recent attacks in Paris many of us watched with horror as the toll of victims continued to rise. Stories emerged of bravery, fear, and desperate measures taken for protection. Nations are now on heightened alert. Militaries and police have increased their vigilance at home and abroad.

Tragedies impact our lives and thus they impact our marriage. If we try to suppress their effect on us it can decrease our sensitivity to painful events in our own lives. If we obsess on world tragedies, we can become overwhelmed with sadness and fear.

As a Christian couple, how do we process tragic world events? Here are a few things to consider:

Notice

While we couldn’t miss the horror of what took place in Paris, we often allow other acts of terrorism or tragedy to cause us to pause…and then continue on our day. For example, did you notice that the day before the Paris attacks, 43 people were killed in a Beirut attack? To date, in 2015, there have been 289 terrorist attacks around the world.

As you’re alerted to this kind of tragedy, stop and consider the lives that are being affected. Allow yourself to engage by keeping your heart tender to suffering around you.

Talk

Take time to discuss the world events as a couple. Be respectful of your spouse’s  sensitivity to the level of detail regarding the tragedy. Ask each other, “What are your thoughts on what just happened? How does it make you feel? Does it affect your faith? What can we do?”

As you talk, remind each other of the sovereignty of God. He is in control. While He has allowed evil to progress for a time, He grieves over the pain that has been inflicted. Talk about the real author behind the terror—Satan. The Bible says, “He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short” (Revelation 12:12). Remember together that our struggle is not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12).

If your children are still in the home, talk together about how to walk your children through what happened. While you may not want to discuss every tragedy, you can decide together which one may be best to discuss with them. Talk about the Biblical perspective you want to impart to them. Draw them into how you as a family might help more tangibly.

Discuss ways you might respond as a couple and family. Perhaps there’s a monetary gift you can send to a relief agency you trust. You may be able to donate clothes to a charity that can send them to survivors of a natural disaster. In some situations, you might be the catalyst to rally local support to bring relief.

Pray

Take the time to pray for the victims. Hold hands and pray for the rescue or relief teams who are working tirelessly. Pray for the advancement of Christ’s purposes in the midst of pain and seeming chaos. If they are old enough, bring your children into your time of prayer for these tragedies. As a couple you can model for your children how to guard your heart and engage in world pain.

As you stay tender and responsive, you will experience greater purpose while you build your marriage.

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