8 Ways the Holy Spirit Helps When Marriage Is Painful –  Encouragement for Today – March 1, 2023

Dannah GreshMarch 1, 2023

8 Ways the Holy Spirit Helps When Marriage Is Painful

Lee en español

"Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you." John 16:7 (ESV)

Has your marriage ever been in a place where you barely knew how to pray?

Mine has.

My husband's fierce battle with lust and pornography once knocked me to my knees. At times, the only prayer that formed on my lips was, Lord, help!

And He did. God has written a redemption story in the marriage of Bob and Dannah Gresh that I could never have dreamed of. We worked hard, of course. And we used many tools to help us work through what we were walking through, including clinically informed and biblically grounded therapists, godly friends, support groups, and the slow passage of time. But nothing and no one helped me more than the precious Holy Spirit.

Have you experienced His power?

Jesus said this about the Spirit: "Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you" (John 16:7).

Jesus had close friends and followers when He walked on this earth. Perhaps no one other than His mother would have felt the acute pain of His departure more than these individuals. But our Savior told them it was to their advantage that He would leave them.


Because after Jesus went away, He sent the Helper - the Holy Spirit.

And think about this: With intention and purpose, God chose when you would be born. (Jeremiah 1:5; Psalm 139:15-16) He placed you - and me - onto the planet during this time, ever so short in the scheme of things, when it is to our "advantage" that Jesus is not here in the flesh. We get to experience the goodness and help of the Holy Spirit!

During my time of pain, I pulled together some scriptures to give me understanding of how the Holy Spirit provides support no matter our need. I then considered how these truths applied to a wife when her marriage was painful. As I kept my eyes open to see Him at work, I experienced eight ways the Spirit helps us through marriage trauma.

  1. He comes alongside us to advocate for us. (John 14:26, NIV; John 15:26, NIV)
  1. He intercedes for us when we run out of words to pray for ourselves. (Romans 8:26)
  1. He opens our minds to understand the Scriptures, something we may need a lot of help with when our brains are hijacked by trauma. (John 14:26; Ephesians 1:17-18)
  1. He helps us experience freedom from anything that holds us in bondage, including fear, bitterness or hypervigilance. (2 Corinthians 3:17)
  1. He leads us into Truth, helping us bypass all the confusing lies. (John 16:13)
  1. He works to lead us and make us more like Jesus in everything we do rather than reacting to our husbands out of our emotion and fear. (Romans 8:14-16)
  1. He sweetly convicts us - and our husbands - of sin so we can confess and find freedom. (John 16:8)
  1. He helps us, our husbands, and others in the body of Christ to experience unity of heart and mind. (Acts 4:31-32)

The Spirit's help makes all the difference when your body and soul need some extra care because your heart is in trauma. Call upon Him. The Spirit is able to help you as you seek redemption and healing in your marriage.

Dear Holy Spirit, thank You for interceding for me when I'm knocked down and senseless from marital pain such that I don't know what to pray. I want to experience the other ways You help. Give me eyes to see where You are at work. In Jesus' Name, Amen.


Need some biblical, clinically informed advice for how to navigate your husband's battle with lust and pornography? Get a copy of Happily Even After: Let God Redeem Your Marriage by Dannah Gresh.


Read Dannah's FREE sample chapter, "This Is His Brain (and Sadly Yours) on Sin." It contains useful research to help you understand why you need and deserve help when your heart is wounded by your husband's sexual sin.

Listen to Dannah's podcast series "Six Steps to Overcoming Negative Emotions," which contains more teaching about the Holy Spirit.

Enter to WIN your very own copy of Happily Even After by Dannah Gresh. To celebrate this book, Dannah's publisher will give away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We'll randomly select 5 winners and then notify each one in the comments section by Monday, March 6, 2023.}


John 14:26, "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you." (ESV)

When we find ourselves in new tests and trials, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. But the Holy Spirit, our sweet Comforter and Helper, will teach us everything we need to know. What has He already taught you in times of hardship?

© 2023 by Dannah Gresh. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
P.O. Box 3189
Matthews, NC 28106