Myth: The tough times make us strong because we figure out how strong we are during them
Truth: Tough times cause serious damage to our psyche and are not what God had in mind when he created us. Tough times are because of sin. Abuse, miscommunication, death and hurt are all results of brokenness in the world. A lot of times they teach us how to watch over our shoulders better, build higher walls and keep our heart to ourselves and this protects us from further hurt... and we might define this as "strong", but... we are called to "love more". We are called to give ourselves away.
So if we have been through many tough times we may be weak at being Jesus-strong. Follow that? But if we resist the temptation to build walls and isolate ourselves after tough times... we may follow Christ's way of learning to love despite tough times
. This is what holiness is. When there is nothing in it for you. It is a tough tough achievement. Impossible on human standards. Tough times make our faith strong if we learn to love/find joy despite the difficult season.
Loving your spouse during tough times
You probably stopped thinking of your spouse as a gift from God after the wedding/honeymoon! Doesn't take long to discover selfishness...Just as often as they are our best friend, they can be the one that causes much frustration and anger. This is the key: Receiving our spouse as a perfect gift from God is not based on our spouse's performance. It is based on our trust that God has provided what we need to make us more holy.
We must choose to receive our spouse as God's perfect provision for us. And seek to love them despite tough times. Despite their imperfections. Even more
because of them. Because we have been called to Love.
(As usual- when discussing "love despite tough times", I think of people in abusive environments. Abuse should never be tolerated. If you are not sure if that applies to you- or have an inkling of a thought that it might, seek out a professional counselor or abuse hotline. Therapists are trained to help you identify how to keep yourself safe.)