Ephesians 5:21, 31, 33 “And the Spirit makes it possible to submit humbly to one another out of respect for the Anointed. ‘And this is the reason a man leaves his father and his mother and is united with his wife; the two come together as one flesh.’ Nevertheless, each husband is to love and protect his own wife as if she were his very heart, and each wife is to respect her own husband.”
In over twenty years in the ministry, I’ve talked with many married couples in trouble. Each pair have their own unique circumstances, but there are common threads that run throughout as well.
Fairytale wedding… erosion of intimacy over time… spouses become roommates not marital partners… “grass is greener being single” thoughts… distrust… arguments over petty things… control issues…
all eroding into divorce.
And nobody knows it’s happening. Like a tooth with a cavity in the back of your mouth. Looks healthy on the outside… but the hidden decay rots away at the integrity of what once made it strong… Both sides hurt and the blinded world never sees it. A maiden name re-surfaces. Wedding ring grooves appear where a golden band was once placed.
I do becomes I used to.
How do spouses turn it around? It’s not easy… but it happens… four life-changing transformations take place which make what seem irreparable into something whole again. Let’s quickly look at all 4.
1) Commit together
The first and most important thing couples do is give their lives to Christ. He is the centerpiece of successful marriages. Many will say… “I’m a Christian and he/she is not… how can I make them choose Christ?” Fact is… you can’t. They have to make that decision on their own. Simply live out your faith in front of them…and never quit praying that the Holy Spirit would help them see the importance of a relationship with Jesus. If you are a Christ-follower… the tendency is to let your non-believing spouse drag you away from God. Be the exception. Stand strong in your faith and provide the same grace and mercy toward your spouse as God is doing in you.
2) Pray together
Successful marriages commit to grow spiritually together. Having the same quiet times, reading scripture together, coming to church regularly all matter in the restoration of Godly marriage. If you are in a struggling marriage and you are both Christ-followers… commit to spending some time together each day with God. Pray for each other… lift each other up… journal about your successes and failures… God wants to say something to both of you through your time with Him…be sure to listen.
3) Serve together
There’s nothing like giving time to God each week together. Getting involved in a ministry…helping people..is extremely fulfilling and helps each person in the marriage grow. By pouring into the lives of others, we gain perspective on our own problems and see blessings where we once saw barriers.
4) Obey together
Obedience is not a natural behavior. Often, we do things our own way and things eventually fall apart. Once a couple accepts Christ as Lord… things change. God blesses… but not automatically. People’s behaviors have to move from selfish to selfless… God-absent to God-honoring… us-centered to Christ-centered. And when this transformation happens, and God is honored in obedience, blessings come… and the purpose of the marriage shifts in many ways… No longer just raising kids… but raising Godly future husbands and wives No longer putting my spouse on a pedestal… but Christ. No longer defending against divorce… but moving forward in beautiful marriage.
If you are reading this… and your marriage is in trouble.. God wants to remind you of something.
It isn’t over.
Is there work to do? Will it be difficult? Does it seem like he doesn’t care anymore? Has she withdrawn from you?
Don’t quit. The road back may seem long… but it’s well-traveled. You won’t be alone.
God still restores. People still change. Healing still takes place.
I’m praying for you… take the first step today.