Everyone makes mistakes in marriage. No one is the perfect mate.
Perhaps you or your spouse made a financial mistake. Maybe one or both of you sinned through a moral failure. It could be that one of you has been mean, selfish, demanding, absent, or unkind. Perhaps your spouse has been an excessive complainer or verbally abusive. Some have misused alcohol or drugs. Others have been workaholics.
If you’re married there are probably some areas of your life where you wish you could have a do-over; an opportunity to rebuild your marriage. If this describes you or your marriage, we want you to know there’s hope for you. You can rebuild your marriage. Here are seven steps to start the process of rebuilding:
1. Seek accountability.
It’s difficult to rebuild a marriage when you don’t have any accountability or help to change existing patterns. We strongly believe that if you want to rebuild your marriage, you need to meet with a godly, Christian counselor. A trained counselor will provide tools to guide you in changing existing patterns along with the accountability you need. You will likely have to learn new ways to communicate and handle conflict. Several years ago we went through a difficult time in our marriage. We needed to learn new habits, thought processes, and skills. This wouldn’t have been possible without the direction of our counselor.
2. Take responsibility for what you’ve done.
No one is perfect. Own up to where you failed or messed up. Apologize unconditionally for what you did wrong or how you contributed to your marriage problems. Own your stuff and don’t worry about whether or not your spouse apologizes for their wrongs. They may or they may not. Entrust their response to the Lord.
3. Be honest.
When you ask forgiveness, tell the truth. It’s impossible to rebuild a marriage when you’re not honest. Make a commitment to be a truth-teller, but make sure you are doing so tenderly and with compassion.The Bible speaks about speaking the truth in love – that’s the caveat – in love– which means in a kind, gentle manner.
A marriage can never be rebuilt where bitterness and grudges reign. In order for trust to be established, forgiveness must be granted. Your forgiveness isn’t giving approval of your spouse’s mistakes or sins. Forgiveness means you are choosing not to hold these things against your spouse. You refuse to be vindictive or take revenge on your spouse.
5. Engage with other Christians.
If you want to change your marriage, it’s important to surround yourself with persons and friends who are FOR your marriage. Christian friends should provide accountability and encouragement for you as you rebuild. You can find friendships like this through small groups at church and Bible studies. (Be careful about how much to share about the problems you experienced with your spouse. Oversharing can be detrimental to your rebuilding process.)
6. Have fun together.
Remember when you first dated your spouse? You enjoyed your time together. Maybe you participated in activities together or shared similar interests like music, movies, or theater. Be intentional and return to the things you did when you first fell in love. It will draw you to each other and naturally help to improve your relationship.
7. Commit to praying together.
- Pray for your spouse.
- Pray for yourself.
- Pray for healing in your marriage.
- Pray for the stamina and strength to endure–rebuilding is tough work.
- Pray for the Lord to direct you as you attempt to root out bad behavior and poor habits.
- Pray that you will think and speak the truth.
Rebuilding is work, but it’s worth it. We know. With the Lord’s help, we rebuilt our marriage and we are so thankful we did. Follow these seven steps, do the work of rebuilding, and you too can build your marriage.