Restoring Your Marriage I Mal 2:16 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
This sermon is on restoring your marriage, if you are, or a friend or relative is, having difficulty keeping your marriage or their marriage together. In our day, we are seeing more and more marriages messed up by infidelity, irresponsibility, incompatibility, instability, irritability, and you name it. Husbands and wives spend more time fussing and looking for a way out of the mess than they do trying to reconcile. They know that they vowed at their wedding to stay together till death do us part [Matt 19:6]. And they know that the Bible is against divorce [Mal 2:16]. But they don’t have a clue what to do to keep their marriage together and thrive in a happy marriage. It just doesn’t seem worth the effort.
So, we offer some advice from the words of God that will help you if you are truly determined to salvage what is left of your marriage and turn things around for the better. If you will follow this little outline of instructions, you will give yourself as good an opportunity as you can get to keep your vows and be glad that you did.
Be honest about your contribution to what has gone wrong. Rom 12:17; Eph 4:25. Own your part of the lust, selfishness, cruelty, dishonesty, broken trust, spiritual weakness, unjust criticism [fault finding], broken fellowship with the Lord, neglect, retaliation [that’s brilliant – kill yourself and your marriage trying to get back at your spouse], bitterness, living in the past [what happened to you before will happen to you again if you keep imagining that it will], nagging, withholding affection, and all of the other things people do to torment each other in a bad relationship.
Sincerely apologize for what you’ve done wrong. You don’t apologize just so that your mate will let you off the hook. You apologize so that you may acknowledge before your spouse exactly what you did wrong and so that you may sincerely employ your best effort to prevent it from happening again. Your apology allows you to reconcile with your spouse by giving him or her the opportunity to forgive you for what you have done wrong. Learn to sincerely forgive and learn to love [this is something you are not naturally equipped to do, Tit 2:4-5, Eph 5:25].
Establish some ground rules of communication. 1 Cor 15:33. Never ever bring up prior relationships or infidelity. Get it all out at one time and be done with it forever. Stop all jealous behavior and don’t give your spouse the first reason in the world to be jealous about you by hugging all over guys, or hugging all over girls. Stop talking animatedly with a pretty girl or handsome man and then talking gruffly with your spouse. If you continue this kind of behavior, you are not going to fair very well in trying to restore trust in your marriage. Stop all phone calls, emails, text messages, social media and other forms of communication that contribute to some sort of fantasy in your mind. Your body language screams a potential for trouble here.
Establish some appropriate “boundaries” for yourself and your spouse. Prov 27:3-4; Prov 25:28. In broken relationships, the spouses tend to say and do very cruel things to each other. One spouse may point a finger at the other one to blame them for something that might not be their fault at all. Take the blame for the things about which you are truly at fault but do not accept the blame for something that is not your fault, thinking that somehow this is going to make for a peaceful relationship. It is wrong to accept the blame when you aren’t wrong. You must learn appropriate and fair ways to communicate with each other. If you are talking about a subject that is tense, only go as far as you can in the conversation without getting mad. If you need time and space to cool off, take it. Then resume the conversation when you can handle the subject without flying off the handle.
Establish real and achievable expectations for yourself and for your spouse. 1 Cor 7:33-34. It is a good idea to write these down. In dysfunctional relationships, people don’t have a very good idea what is truly expected of them and they are not sure that the expectations they perceive are even agreeable to them. So, each spouse should write down what he or she expects of the other and what he or she is willing to do to meet those expectations, if he or she agrees with them. Otherwise, you will end up despising your spouse because God didn’t create the spouse who can live up to your fantasies and expectations when they are unreasonable and built upon a Hollywood dream world.
Conclusion: these are just some of the things to do to begin to restore your marriage. We will continue tomorrow with more practical things that will help you keep it together.