What is the condition of your marriage? If your marriage relationship continues in the direction it is going, what will it look like in a year; 5 years; 10 years. Remember, the easiest and most effective time to renovate or repair is before the damage becomes debilitating.
If your marriage is in need of repair, here are 4 R’s to bring about change.
#1 – Repent -If your marriage is moving in a bad direction, the first question you need to ask is what is driving it there? And often, in our polluted culture, there is at least one specific sin involved.
Alcohol or drug abuse, pornography, anger issues, materialism, flirting – these are examples of things that steer a marriage towards trouble. If sin has taken root in your marriage, you need to know that nothing else can truly help until you repent. That means that you need to confess your sin– get it out in the open where it can be dealt with. You need to ask God to take it and cover it with Grace. And then you need to take specific steps to change it.
#2 – Re-Focus – Inevitably, when a marriage gets into a troubled situation, the arguments are almost always focused on SELF. “He just doesn’t make me feel happy anymore.” “She just doesn’t consider my feelings.” “He doesn’t pay enough attention to me.” “She doesn’t seem to respect me.” These complaints reveal a marriage with a wrong focus.
So how do you fix that? You fix it by purposefully pulling your eyes off of yourself and fixing them on the other person. Instead of, “What can I get,” ask, “What can I give.” Be selfless, as Christ as selfless. And as you think about yourself less, and about giving more, you will find that your heart will change.
#3 – Repair – Once you repent of sin and refocus your eyes off of yourself, it is time to work to repair the relationship. As you enter this stage, remember that you cannot fix your spouse. You don’t have the ability to change him or her. So you have to sacrificially focus on doing what you can do, and trust your spouse to do the same. (And even if he or she won’t, repair your side. Do your part). So what specific areas need attention?
- Attitude –Stop allowing yourself to think that your marriage is over and that it can’t be changed. If you keep thinking and saying that it’s over, your feelings and actions will follow. Instead, consider the possibility that your marriage could work. Keep hope alive – it will make a difference.
- Words – James aid that the tongue is like the rudder on a ship. It steers you somewhere. In what direction are your words steering your marriage? Step back and think before you speak. Be honest; be respectful; be discrete. Don’t fight your battles in public. Those words will come back to haunt you.
- Time. Ask yourself, how can I leverage my time to strengthen my marriage. Be Intentional in your approach. After all, your marriage will not strengthen itself. So ask yourself: what steps can I intentionally take, on my side, to build my marriage relationship.
#4 – Remain. Honor your promise. When you got married, it was two imperfect people who walked down the aisle to start a new life together – two fragile, faulty, messy people. But that’s okay, because it is not the perfection of people that holds a marriage together, or even the strength of their feelings for one another. It is the strength of their promise that protects a marriage.
Because of your promise, you need to fight for your marriage. Repent of your sin, refocus your eyesight away from yourself, repair the relationship by doing whatever you can do to build it . . . and commit yourself to remain, even when things are hard. Allow your promise to sustain your love.
The road ahead may look dark, but if you can just turn around, there is hope in the future.