Nearly over half of all marriages end in divorce. That’s an alarming statistic that doesn’t seem to be getting any better. It’s also a statistic that’s not surprising to anyone who is married because marriage is hard work. You have two imperfect people trying to live and do life together. There’s likely to be some friction and serious conflict that can truly strain a marriage. While many get through their rough patches, a lot end up separated or worse, divorced. There are a number of reasons and challenges that contribute to the end of a marriage. One thing that’s certain is that a broken marriage is more likely to end in divorce than a healthy and happy one.
Now to be clear, a healthy and happy marriage is not the same as a perfect marriage, because a perfect marriage doesn’t exist. A perfect marriage implies that you never argue, you always please one another well enough, you smile while doing the dishes and you never buy things that you don’t need from the store. A perfect marriage isn’t real and isn’t the goal. A happy and healthy marriage, on the contrary, is an ongoing rhythm of choosing to work on you as a person while choosing to work on your marriage as a couple. It’s a rhythm with notes of compassion, grace, honesty, open communication, forgiveness, and intimacy. It’s one where you’re free to be who you are without the pressure to conform but also with the accountability to keep growing. It’s an ongoing rhythm that changes and evolves over time as you change and evolve and sometimes despite your best efforts, you get stuck and something goes off beat. That’s normal but what’s important is that you fix it instead of ignoring it or wishing for it to get better.
So, a healthy and happy marriage acknowledges the cracks and breaks in the relationships and readily addresses them, despite how long it takes or how difficult it is. A broken marriage doesn’t address the cracks and over time those cracks create deeper and greater division between you and your spouse. Before you know it, you’re looking up divorce lawyers online. Happy and healthy marriages do not end in divorce, broken ones do. Not every time though; there’s hope for healing and restoration.
If you’re in that place or if you ever find yourself in a place in your marriage where it feels more broken than happy and healthy, then I have some solid suggestions for what you can do to heal your broken marriage. I believe that when you said, “I do”, you meant it for a lifetime, however, you didn’t anticipate the bangs and bruises your marriage would have to endure and the brokenness you’d have to experience. So, while you didn’t go into your marriage hoping for it to feel broken, the reality is, that’s exactly how you feel. It’s okay because I have some ideas to help you.
Commit it to consistent prayer
I can’t think of a more powerful strategy you can use in your marriage than the power of prayer. Consistent, fervent and specific prayer about the pain in your marriage can transform your heart as well as your husband’s. And if you’re the one who’s ready to head out of the door then you’re likely not feeling up to prayer, which is more of a reason to do it. Prayer can change your perspective of your marriage and lead to the healing process.
Consider writing your prayers in a journal, such as how Priscilla Shirer explains in her book, “Fervent”. Add some more strategy to your prayer by including the word of God, worship, and fasting. I know this may seem all extra spiritual and holy, but if your marriage feels broken then you need to employ methods that will work far beyond the surface issues.
This is spiritual warfare, so you need spiritual weapons. When my husband and I are arguing and are not at our best I make it a point to pray more fervently because I realize that there is a real enemy that would love nothing more than to destroy our marriage and destroy our family. Prayer is your line of defense that you can use as often as you like and it never requires you to do anything but be open and honest with God. So, if your marriage feels broken right now I want to invite you to 40 days of prayer. And while you’re praying ask a trusted friend or family member to commit to praying for you and your marriage too.
Get professional help
Have you ever tried to build a happy and healthy marriage before? No? Yeah, me either. It’s something we’re living out and doing as we go along. That’s why we need help along the way. You don’t have to feel anything but grateful that help is available for you. Sometimes people feel afraid to ask for help or feel ashamed for “needing help”, but if you were drowning and there was help available would you deny yourself of it? Probably not, because that would be foolish. The same is for your marriage.
In case you’re wondering, where is that help. Well, it can be found in a number of places. You may be able to get help from your pastor, a licensed marriage therapist or you can work with a relationship coach like me. You may want to look into a couple options to decide which is best for you based on what you need.
If your marriage is drowning and there is help available, then do yourself and your marriage a favor and get help.
I’ve worked with couples who benefited greatly by working with me and sometimes I’ve continued the work on a one-on-one level. It depends on the person and the needs, but if your marriage feels broken then get help. And watch out for the advice of friends, especially those who are unmarried or are also in broken marriages. Sometimes people can unknowingly make a situation worse with their “advice”.
Like I do with all of my clients, I’m going to give you an assignment. Over the next couple days schedule a time to meet with someone to interview them regarding working with you and your spouse. If you’d like to schedule a time to meet with me, simply send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s free and zero-pressure. I can’t wait to hear from you.
Acknowledge and decide
When I’m working with my couples, one of the things we do is identify the specific problem(s) that are causing pain in their life and marriage. We then decide what change and improvement would look like. We spend time determining what is the realistic and practical change in their lives and then develop a plan to get there. And what I do as a coach is provide support, guidance, and resources to help along the way. It’s a simple process but it’s not an easy process because it involves quite a bit of emotional and mental labor. But once you commit to the process and stay the course you’ll be glad you did because growth is likely the end result.
A broken marriage can’t be restored without first acknowledging what’s broken. Once that’s clear (it doesn’t matter who broke it, though understanding the root of the issues is helpful), then you can decide what healing would look like. This is crucial because the two of you may have conflicting ideas on what’s broken or what healing looks like, so, coming together and establishing a common ground is essential. It isn’t always easy, but this is necessary so you can walk the process out together.
Here’s another homework assignment for you. Make a list of all the things in your marriage that are concerning you…what are the things that feel broken? Then, next to each thing, write down what healing or restoration would look like. Now take this list with you when you meet with the person you’re interested in working with; ask them if they have experience or knowledge in helping someone with these challenges. This will help you get an idea of what you want to work on in your marriage and will help you decide who is the best fit to help you in your marriage.
Healing a broken marriage is a journey that isn’t easy. It takes a lot of time and patience, but with the right support and with the commitment of both you and your spouse, healing is certainly possible. Don’t wait another day to reach out and get the support you need. Do it now. This is your sign.
Sis, I know you feel all sorts of feelings after reading this. But don’t try to process all of them alone. That’s why I’m emphasizing to you so much to get the help you need because this is too hard and too much to do on your own. And you don’t have to do this alone. Let’s talk. Simply send me an email and let’s schedule a time to discuss what’s going on in your marriage and determine how I can support you. The consultation is free and just may be the start of a happier and healthier marriage.