Post written by Contributing Writer, Daniele.
Man and woman stand at the altar, ready to be pronounced. Ready to begin a new life together, to make dreams come true. How long they have waited for this day and now the moment has come! Visions of how all will unfold fills the minds and hearts of the couple:
“Oh, how I will be her knight in shining armor! I will defend, cherish, love and protect…always.”
“He is such a gift and I am so blessed. I will honor, respect and appreciate him…always.”
The marriage is sealed, family and friends celebrate, heaven rejoices. For on that day, a covenant of divine proportions has been set into action. Man and woman have become husband and wife. A God-idea brings forth fruit.
And time goes by, and life moves on, and the ‘always’ whispered in hearts that day become ‘when he starts to…’ or perhaps ‘if she would only…’
Repeated frustrations threaten to blossom into anger, creating tension, tearing at the fabric of the covenant. Husband and wife sense loss and wonder what went wrong, and most importantly if there is hope.
Is there? Is there hope when love goes crazy?
Today I offer that yes, YES…there is hope. And while a few words here will not solve everything, prayerfully, they will be words of encouragement for a weary heart.
First, focus on ‘our marriage’ and not ‘my spouse’.
When a union is formed between a couple, something new is created–a marriage, a covenant between the two and the Lord. Instead of pointing fingers at each other, allow the discussion to be about how to help the marriage be repaired or reconciled, not how my husband needs to do such and such. Maybe he does need to make changes, but viewing your marriage together is more helpful than only glaring at one another’s problems.
Commit to praying HOPE. Pray words of hope, words of life!
This is not dismissing the issues or pretending they do not exist. There is tremendous power in our words and when we choose to pray hope and faith for a better marriage, our attitudes, spirits, and mindsets will be uplifted and encouraged. Choose scriptures and write them on index cards, placing them throughout your home, office or car to pray. Rewrite your vows and commit them again to the Lord, asking Him to renew the marriage. Also, consider asking a few trusted individuals to pray HOPE with you, and as much as possible, pray together as a couple.
Determine what level of care repairing your marriage will need.
Are you able to come together to discuss or do these conversations end up in heated debate, angry words and further distance? Will a resource such as a book be helpful or do you need the accountability of another person(s) to assist in the journey? Asking and determining how to move forward is critical to then… (Michele’s Note: Lindsay has offered a helpful “State of the Union” marriage evaluation worksheet here; download your own copy to begin the conversation!)
Make a plan and begin the journey.
After focusing on your marriage and not solely your spouse, committed it all to prayer, and thought through what recovery path would be helpful…it’s time to put a plan into action! A few resources:
Consider attending Family Life’s A Weekend to Remember getaway. If time allows, this is an excellent retreat of sorts that is meant to take a look at various aspects of marriage and the goal of creating oneness. Great for any couple, not just those in crisis. We attended one several years ago and still draw from the wisdom shared. Maybe one is being held near you? Family Life also offers one day events should this not be a possibility.
If reading through a book would be desired, there are many available! Check out your local Christian bookstore to choose a good fit for you. One suggestion is Love & Respect, which examines a husband’s and wife’s needs based on Ephesians 5:33.
Should there be a desire for godly input & accountability, seek the advice of a pastor and/or the intervention of a faith-based ministry in your area dedicated to assisting marriages (many are in the phone book or your congregation may have recommendations). There is no shame in admitting a need for help. Silence is not usually helpful.
God is always in the business of restoration–of making things new, of bringing life. He takes despair and returns praise, gives beauty for ashes, and holds close our broken hearts (Isaiah 61: 1-3).
Entrust Him with your marriage.
Daniele is a pastor’s wife and homeschooling mama of five–a woman on a journey towards intentional living. She celebrates family, gathers up grace, and nurtures the spirit over at Domestic Serenity. You’re welcome to visit!