If you are in need of marital reconciliation, there are probably many factors that got you to this point. Most crises don’t happen overnight. In the same way, reconciliation doesn’t tend to happen overnight; it requires work and dedication. There are many key factors that influence reconciliation, and many of these are counter-cultural to what our natural tendencies are. I titled this the 5 “No-Nonsense” keys because what we often hear from friends, family, and even our own flesh is nonsense that doesn’t align with God’s Word. The Truth often is not what we want to hear, but it is what we need to hear. If you are working towards marital reconciliation, be mindful of these 5 keys.
1. Daily prayer with your spouse. Many Christians who are consistent with their devotions and prayer still find themselves in marital trouble. The strongest of Christians are still not exempt from trials. Many people make the mistake of only refreshing their personal spiritual walk and ignore their marital spiritual walk. Yes—your marriage has a spiritual personality of its own. The Biblical principle for this is the one-flesh principle. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh” (Ephesians 5:31). You still need to have individual walks with the Lord, but should also be spiritually walking together, as one. Daily prayer together is the best way to get in agreement spiritually. Couples who commit to praying together daily have marginal divorce levels compared to the majority of Christians. Try this. We dare you! Once a day, take turns praying in front of one another. Ask God to forgive you for how you have wronged your spouse and thank God for the wonderful aspects about your spouse; then, your spouse will have their turn. Commit to do this once a day for a month.
2. See a Christian marriage counselor together. A common mistake that we see often is two spouses seeing separate counselors. This is generally a huge warning sign that things are going to get worse from here. Both spouses only share their one side and get separate advice from separate individuals. This doesn’t enhance togetherness; it solidifies individuality. At our NAME centers, we have Certified Marriage Specialists (CMS) equipped to give free, biblical, couple to couple counseling. That way neither husband nor wife feels sided against. There are situations were individual counselors are extremely vital, and even necessary alongside marital counseling, but do not bypass marriage counseling. Your marriage has issues that cannot be addressed separately. Two separate counselors often contradict one another, but marriage counselors who are focused on restoration offer succinct guidance. “Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in an abundance of counselors there is victory” (Proverbs 11:14).
3. Do not separate. You have heard the age-old saying, “with distance, the heart grows fonder.” During marital trials, with distance, the heart often becomes entrenched in bitterness and anger. This is spoken from two decades of experience: separation does not increase the likelihood of your marriage persevering. If you are committed to reconciliation, stay in the same house and the same bed. The Bible says, “they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate” (Matthew 19:6). Upon the covenant of marriage, the two become one-flesh, but in separation, the one-flesh starts slowly and painfully ripping itself apart. Separation is harmful to the one-flesh relationship. Of course there are scenarios where separation is necessary for the safety of an individual or children, but if that is not your situation, separation is not contributing to the health and sustenance of your marriage. We urge you: move back in.
4. Do not stay angry forever. You were probably expecting us to say, “do not let the sun go down on your anger” (Ephesians 4:26). While this is true and an excellent principle, chances are, if you are in need of marital reconciliation, your marital trials have gone beyond this simplicity of immediately releasing your anger. Anger is a deep and complex emotion that often occurs due to offense. Even God Himself experiences anger; however, He looks forward to forgiving and showing mercy. The Bible says, “Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of His inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy” (Micah 7:18). Even if you have not fully let go of some of your anger, God wants you to look forward to extending forgiveness and mercy. You need to let your spouse know that even though you may be processing your emotions, you are on the path to forgiveness. The sooner you start releasing your bitterness and anger the easier it becomes to start the forgiveness necessary of reconciliation.
5. Ignore your impulses. When most of us are hurt, our flesh wants revenge. Even if we don’t see ourselves as revenge motivated, revenge has a sneaky way of inserting itself into life. It may not be as blatant as “well he slept with his secretary so I am going to sleep with someone now.” Often it reveals itself in our speech or our feelings of entitlement. When Jenny berates her spouse for a mistake he already asked forgiveness for, that is from a vengeful spirit. When Ralph says he deserves a woman who cooks and cleans, that is vengeful since he in anger hurts her by saying he desires someone else. Jesus wants us to ignore our fleshly impulses and instead bless. “Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain blessing” (1 Peter 3:9). If you want to experience God’s blessing in your marriage, bless one another, even when it does not come naturally to you.
Thank you for reading our blog and for considering marital reconciliation. When marriages are reconciled, God is glorified. Christ’s love and forgiveness, that we as Christians are supposed to be operating in, is made more tangible to the world. Again, reconciliation requires work and dedication, but the reward is greater than you can imagine. Your marriage will be stronger, and you will find new excitement in each other again. Many strong marriages have weathered very strong storms. We at NAME want you to know that we believe in you, and even more so, we believe in God who freely extends His powerful love and reconciliation to situations just like yours! Click to find the nearest NAME Counseling Center near you!