It has happened to me a few too many times lately. Over the past couple weeks, I’ve encountered friends that I haven’t seen in some time. During our catching up conversation, I’ve opened my mouth to insert my foot. You’d think my question is rather harmless. “Is <insert spouses name here> with you?” Unfortunately, this simple question has led to some very awkward moments. In those moments, my old friend is forced to put on a strong face and explain that their marriage has recently separated.
Now, obviously I wasn’t aware of the marriage separations, so it was an honest mistake on my part. However, I find myself instantly heartbroken over the pain that my friends must be feeling. Heartbroken so much so that I struggle to find words to continue our conversation. Shortly after the tide of sorrow rushes over me, fear begins to set in. Fear of the same revelation made by John Bradford when he said “there, but by the grace of God go I.”
Having described my own sorrow and fear, I don’t want to make this article about me. I want this article to speak to and encourage those currently involved in the stressful situations that could end your marriage. In order to offer that encouragement, the best I have to offer are comments related to what I would do if I were in your shoes. Don’t take that statement to suggest that our marriage is perfect. In fact, I’ve thought about divorce before (and I know my wife has), but by the grace of God we haven’t taken it much further than a thought. God willing, I’ll share more about these thoughts in next week’s article.
Faced with the recent conversations related to divorce, I asked myself the question; “what would I do?” Let me share my answer with you here in hopes that it will challenge, encourage, and equip you to turn your marriage around.
Seems obvious, right? Well, in my own life and marriage, reflection proves that times our marriage has struggled the most followed times of draught in my prayer life. Droughts in prayer focused on our marriage and focused on my sacrificial love for my wife.
Devote yourself to a tremendous amount of prayer. Let the grass grow knee high. Let the laundry pile up. All of that stuff can wait. You spend every possible moment in this critical time of your marriage on your knees. In your prayers, focus on your love for your spouse. This is not the right time for you to ask God to change your spouse. Your marriage is in crisis mode, don’t place the hope of your marriage on your spouse’s response to your prayers. Your request of Christ should be that He will give you what is needed to love your spouse with the same sacrificial love with which He loves you and your spouse. Commit to Christ in your prayer that you will take immediate action on whatever He commands.
It is natural and easy for us to identify the faults of another in our conflicts. This is not the right time to allow your self-righteousness to continue to lead your marriage astray. Humble yourself before the Lord and examine your own faults. Much like the recommendation regarding prayer, don’t allow your mind to focus on changes your spouse needs to make.
Self-examination in the form of prayer, Bible reading & study, and Christian consultation can open your eyes to your part in the conflict. A marriage conflict is always two sided. Fault is often equally shared. Through self-examination and changes made in light of this examination, you can move the needle greatly in your marriage.
Never Speak Negatively
All too often a separation or full divorce is made worse by negative comments. In conversational situations much like I described in my opening, a spouse can allow the wound of separation to fester and widen with the infection of negative comments. Negative comments feed your own mind with the fuel necessary to endure the pain of separation. At this moment in your marriage, you need to starve any motivation or will that drives you to continue the separation.
Negative comments not only widen existing wounds in your relationship, they can also create new wounds. The surgical industry has proven that surgical wounds can bring healing, but this is only true because of the care provided by the surgeon to close and medicate the surgical wound. Restrict any and all comments that could result in new wounds to your spouse to the close care of a Christian marriage counselor in order that this wound can be professionally closed and cared for. Negative comments to your friends about your spouse will only result in deep wounds that could result in your marriage bleeding out.
Do Whatever It Takes
Finally, resolve to do whatever it takes to restore the marriage. This is where the rubber meets the road. What would you do if you knew that quitting your job would save your marriage? What would you do if you knew turning your back on some old friends would restore your marriage? What would you do if you knew spending several hours each week with a marriage counselor would restore your marriage? What would you do if you knew that selling the golf clubs or fishing boat would save your marriage?
Again, your marriage is in crisis. Your answer to any biblical and lawful request is “yes”, no matter what the sacrifice.
Question: Is your marriage in crisis mode? What are you willing to do to restore your marriage? I hope you are willing to commit to these 4 steps to restore your marriage. Share your experience in the comments below or with me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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