Recently we have had people contacting us for help in reconciling a severed relationship that has ended in either separation or divorce. We thought it might be helpful for you—or for someone you know—to put into practice. Here’s what we’ve been sharing…
First, good for you for wanting to rebuild what was broken. Your heart honors God because He is all about rebuilding what was broken, beginning with what Christ did on the cross to restore us in our relationship with God.
Nothing is impossible with God. That said, he does give free will and the person you love and want to be reconciled to may not respond. It is a privilege for us to join you in prayer for the restoration of your relationship, and that God will be doing a work in the other person’s heart as well.
Each of these points requires the exercise of self-discipline to carry them out.
1. Stay centered
Center in on your relationship with God first and foremost. Spend time every day reading the Bible (15 minutes perhaps) and praying. Let your prayers be focused more on the person God wants you to become than on wooing the other person back.
2. Stay humble.
Get a pad of paper or sit in front of a screen and specifically ask God to reveal to you everything you did (even the small things) that contributed to the breakup of the relationship. Don’t focus on their part—that’s your spouse’s responsibility before God as he directs them.
Write down everything the Holy Spirit reveals to you. This is only between you and God—it can be destroyed after this exercise if you so choose. Then re-read it to be sure it is complete. Do you agree fully with the list? Do you take full ownership of your part?
Once you are at that place of full ownership, then go through the list, one by one, and out loud before God, simply pray:
“God, please forgive me for ______________. I acknowledge that was sin before you and it contributed to the breakdown of my marriage. I accept your forgiveness for this.”
Do that for each item the Holy Spirit has you write down.
This list you wrote is one for you to fully own. Sadly, the “blame game” is what can stop any reconciliation in its tracks. Your spouse needs to feel safe and know that all the fingers aren’t being pointed in their direction—that’s the Holy Spirit’s job.
3. Be accountable
Ask 1-3 godly and wise people of your gender whom you respect to be on your prayer team. Ideally, find people who have a long history of being married to the same person.
Ask them to pray with you and for you about the reconciliation. Use these people as your “personal advisory board.” Let them ask you hard questions (ask for it) to be sure you are ready to step up and approach your spouse for reconciliation.
4. Reach out
NOW you are ready to reach out. When a relationship is severed, there can be huge distrust and hurt. Don’t underestimate that. Sometimes we have seen spouses project anger or put up walls or stiff-arm renewed intimacy to protect themselves and see if the change that is being presented is really humble and true.
5. Go slow
Be patient. Be consistent. Listen and learn more than talk. We like the phrase, “listen to understand before speaking to be understood.”
6. Trust God
You may not know what to do next, but you can trust God to reveal to you the next steps toward reconciling your marriage.
In the end, you will have peace, confidence, and integrity. You will know that before God you have taken the wise steps that honor him to re-build your marriage.