Written with love, by Pastor Dave Page
Marriage is not always rainbows and butterflies. Have you found that to be true? I believe that the hardest thing you’ll ever do in life is to be part of a healthy and growing marriage relationship. It just takes a lot of hard work. Marriages go through stages. So what do you do when your marriage goes south? I’ve been there and done that. Below are 5 things we did that helped save our marriage:
1. HANG IN THERE
Don’t give up. Try not to walk away. Let any explosive anger begin to dissipate. Try to calm down. Get rid of any drama. Don't separate if at all possible. If you do end up separating, set a future date in which you plan to get back together. Don’t date other people during your cooling down period. When other people get involved it complicates the situation and divides emotions.
2. GET COUNSELING RIGHT AWAY
The best possible scenario would be for both of you to go to counseling together. If your spouse refuses to go with you then go alone. In our marriage crisis my wife refused to go to counseling. She felt she didn't need it but she encouraged me to go nonetheless. After a few sessions she saw that I was serious and she volunteered to come with me. There are good counselors and bad counselors – get a good counselor. Do the homework that she gives you to do. Most likely it will involve communication and conflict resolution exercises. These were invaluable and I believe they helped save our marriage.
3. ASK TO BE FORGIVEN AND FORGIVE
I said and did some hurtful things to my wife. She was deeply wounded. Our counselor suggested I write her a letter detailing the ways I hurt her and then ask for her forgiveness. I spent hours writing the letter. I took responsibility for the things I did wrong in our marriage. I took my wife out to dinner and read the letter to her. She was so gracious and forgiving. We both had tears in our eyes. After I shared my stuff, she admitted that she had done some things she regretted as well. It takes two to tango. It was easy to forgive her after she so freely forgave me.
4. BE WILLING TO CHANGE
I closed off the letter with lyrics from a Lifehouse song called, “Whatever it Takes.” Below is the chorus to the song:
I'll do whatever it takes
To turn this around
I know what's at stake
I know that I've let you down
And if you give me a chance
Believe that I can change
I'll keep us together
Whatever it takes
I was willing to do whatever it took to turn our marriage around.
5. SEEK SUPERNATURAL GUIDANCE
My wife and I are both persons of faith. We believe in God and seek to do His will. Neither one of us wanted a divorce but we were worn out, frustrated and at our wits end. I like what Ruth Graham said when asked if she had ever considered divorcing Billy Graham. Her answer, was, “Divorce? No. Murder? Yes.” I think that’s how we both felt at the time.
I want you to know that there is HOPE. God specializes in resurrections. He can resurrect a dead marriage. Sometimes we need to get outside of ourselves and surrender our will to Him. Faith can go a long way. Jesus said, “With God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).
I know firsthand how excruciating the pain can be when you’re in a difficult marriage. I would be glad to pray for you personally if you email me privately. I will keep whatever you share with me confidential. I’ve never offered to do this on a blog before and may not offer to do it again in the future but would be glad to join with you in praying for you, your spouse and your marriage.