Marriage is one of the most, if not the most, important relationships in life. If you don’t think this is true, then why do you have to sign a contract? What other relationships in life are so important that you need to sign a contract?With this in mind, it makes sense that a happy marriage can very easily lead to a happy life. If you are in sync with your spouse, then even the most trying of circumstances will not squelch your joy. However, if your marriage is on the rocks, then even success in your career, social life, or finances can feel empty at best.
This makes sense because in the Bible marriage is seen as a joining of two people, “that is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24)
From a biblical perspective, when things are going poorly in your marriage, then things are going poorly for you because you are one. You can’t simply disassociate yourself from your marriage, it runs deeper than an earthly contract, you and your spouse are inextricably connected.
So what happens when things start to go south in your marriage? How do you fix a broken marriage? Well, the answer is simple, but not easy. It will require honesty, sacrifice, humility, and intentionality.
There is no silver bullet or new life hack for saving your marriage. There is only the road of disciplined effort and love. It is a difficult road, but the reward of fixing your relationship is worth every painstaking step you take.
How to Fix a Broken Marriage
Honesty The first step to healing your marriage is admitting it’s in trouble. If you keep putting it off and making excuses, saying things like, “once work calms down things will go back to normal” or “when the holidays pass it will get better.” In order to fix your relationship, you need to recognize something is broken so you can start healing the damage.
Once you are being honest, don’t stop. The next step to fix a broken relationship is being honest about what you are feeling and listening to your partner be honest about what they are feeling. More than likely, you are on different pages and have been hoping to somehow magically start seeing eye to eye.
That’s not how things work. In order to get on the same page, you will need to be honest with each other. You will need to share your hurts, your pains, your desires, and your fears. By being honest, you will get to a place where you can start rebuilding.
While being honest might sound easy, it usually isn’t. Sometimes it’s ridiculously hard to be honest, especially if you’ve drifted apart over time. But honesty is one of the main ways how to fix a broken marriage. In light of this difficult, it may be helpful, or even necessary, to reach out to a trained counselor who can help facilitate a healthy conversation.
Sacrifice Once you are honest with your spouse and have communicated your feelings and listened to theirs, then you will need to respond to them. For example, maybe your wife shares with you that your relationships with certain female coworkers at work make her feel uncomfortable. First, you will have to honestly examine if these relationships are in anyway inappropriate.
If they are, then you will need to share that with your wife and make a plan to safeguard yourself at work. But, if after honest examination, you truthfully don’t think the relationships are inappropriate, then you still may need to change your interactions with your coworkers for the sake of your wife. That’s the nature of sacrifice. It’s not about fairness, it’s about love.
Sacrifice is key to fixing a relationship because it expresses commitment and love in tangible ways. It’s one thing to say, “I love you,” but it’s different to show it. Sacrifice shows another person that there is meaning behind your words. And when you are rebuilding trust with someone in a broken relationship, sacrifice is a really important way to not just say something but to prove something.
All of this needs to be undergirded by humility. If you are operating out of self-righteousness, then it doesn’t matter how honest or how much you sacrifice. In any conflict, there are always two parties involved, and both are partially responsible. If you seek to fix your relationships from the position of, “I’m right and your wrong, you need to be the one to change,” then the relationship is doomed. It’s doomed for two reasons.
First, because, as noted above, in marriage you are one flesh. There is no longer “I” and “you.” You’re in this together. Second, because it’s not true. Even if the other person is primarily at fault, that doesn’t make you blameless. If you can’t see that you have things to learn, apologize for, and sacrifice, then the process of recovering your marriage is going to be long, arduous, and painstaking.
Humility is necessary to fix your marriage because without it, you will fall into the divided “I’m right” and “you’re wrong” positions, which only lead to division, not healing.
Finally, the last step to fixing a marriage is intentionality. Often, the lack of intentionality is what puts your marriage on the rocks. Intentionally, thinking about what the other person likes, wants, and needs is usually present at the beginning of a relationship.When you are “in love” or emotionally high, intentionality comes easy. All you can do is think about your partner. You are infatuated and can remember everything from their Starbucks order to their favorite brand of soap.
However, as time goes on in a relationship the intense infatuation fades and intentionality often goes with it. The busyness of work, kids, and life get in the way of your once well thought out sense of purpose. As you seek to fix your broken marriage, you will need to take back this intentionality, choosing the keep your spouse’s thoughts, needs, and desires above your own.
Since thinking about other people first doesn’t come naturally to humanity, this will require some discipline. One way to get started is to sit down with a piece of paper and brainstorm some ideas of what your spouse would like. You can make several categories.
For example, you could make an extravagant category, which is a dream they have but will take time to realize. Then you can make an everyday category, which is something you can do for them every day. Coming up with simple lists like this can help keep you living intentionally so your spouse feels loved and known. This sort of work is key to rebuilding a broken marriage.
Another way to come up with ideas of what your spouse needs or wants is to talk to them about it. Be intentional and ask them how you can love them better. This needs to be heartfelt and genuine. If you are faking or don’t really care, this sort of conversation will not go well or produce any fruit, but if you really are being genuine, then this sort of conversation can be really helpful.
When it comes to fixing a broken marriage, there is no quick fix. It requires time, effort, and love. But you won’t regret putting in the work because meaningful and satisfying marriage is one of the greatest things you can experience.
There is a reason God puts such an emphasis on marriage and uses it as one of His most powerful metaphors for His relationship between Himself and His people. Jesus is the true bridegroom coming for His bride. And even the best of our marriages can only reflect a glimmer of the love and care He has for us.
“Broken,” Courtesy of Chuttersnap, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Don’t Let Go”, Courtesy of Everton Vila, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Broken,” courtesy of Tom Butler, unsplash.com, CC0 Public Domain License; “I’ve got you!”, Courtesy of Alvin Mahmudov, Unsplash.com, CC0 License
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