I’ll be the first to admit I have a problem deciding when to throw something away and when to save it. The struggle I have is when I look at something thinking I might throw it away, I then think to myself, “maybe if I throw it away now I will one day in the future wish I still had it.” Because what I’m really trying to decide is, has this lost it’s usefulness to me, or does it still have some form of value to me?
That’s the same problem I see a lot people have when it comes to their marriage. They are trying to decide if their marriage has lost its usefulness to them or not. If they determine that it no longer has the value that it once did, such as “makes me happy,” “fulfills me,” “completes me,” or “satisfies all my needs,” they are ready then to dispose of it.
So marriage has become a consumable product in our consumer driven society today. Where people are disposing of their marriage just like they do all the other disposable goods, after they have consumed all the usefulness they can get out if it.
But what if people are throwing away their marriages now for whatever reason why, only to later in life look back and realize they lost out on the best thing they ever had, or they missed out on what it was yet to become? I would hate to be that person who later in life has to look back in regret knowing they lost out on the marriage that could have been.
So what do you do to save your marriage instead of throwing it away?
1) The first thing you do is pull it out of the trash pile
Understand this right up front, you don’t have a marriage problem, you have a value problem. Now I’m not saying there are no problems in your marriage. I know your marriage has more problems than you know how to deal with. That’s why you’re in this position.
But the biggest problem you have right now is a value problem. You have to make up your mind that your marriage does not belong in the trash. If you were cleaning out a garage or an attic and you were making piles for the things you were sorting through, you would have piles for things to keep, things to throw away, and things you are undecided on.
So pull your marriage out of the trash pile, because it doesn’t belong there. Your marriage is not disposable. It has far greater value than that. It belongs in the pile of things you will keep.
2) Next, clean your marriage up
Just like anything else that was once considered to be trash, your marriage now needs to be cleaned up. Clean off all the junk that life has thrown at it. All the stuff that has settled on your marriage from neglect, clean that stuff off too. And remove every stain that has tarnished your marriage and has hidden the beauty it once had.
To do all of this cleaning you have to use lots of forgiveness mixed with grace. You may not be used to using these ingredients, but trust me it works. Forgiving all the wrongs and having enough grace to be unconditional with your forgiveness goes a long way in cleaning up your marriage. And for those hard to remove stains that don’t go away easily, apply liberal amounts of the Blood of Jesus. It is 100% guaranteed to produce miracles.
3) Now, repair what is broken
After your marriage has been pulled out of the trash and after it has been cleaned up, you now have to repair what is broken. It may have some cracks, it may be completely broken in half, or it may even have pieces that are now missing. But the great thing about a marriage, unlike an inanimate object, even that part that is missing can be completely restored.
Just like with forgiveness, healing and restoration require lots of grace. And so with lots of grace you start repairing what has been broken with real honest communication. But remember you want to use communication as a means for healing and not for attacking. So just be honest, be open, and be vulnerable with each other.
Talk about what has went wrong in your marriage and what you can do to change that. Talk about the things that have divided you and how you can begin to settle some of those differences. Don’t expect marriage to be perfect where you have no differences. That’s where grace can help you a lot.
4) Increase the value of your marriage
Now that you have come this far to save your marriage from the trash, you have already made huge investments to improve the value of your marriage. But don’t stop there. Your marriage can continue to increase in value with every investment you make. Find ways to grow together and build greater intimacy in your relationship.
Spend lots of quality time together. Share in each other’s interest. Speak each other’s love language. Focus more on how you give and minister to your spouse’s needs. And when it comes to having your own needs met, be vocal and communicate clearly what your needs are without making it sound like you are making demands. Then allow your spouse to discover how to meet your needs without feeling pressure from you and from his/her own free will.
5) Protect the value of your marriage
Finally after coming this far, you will want to protect your marriage like the valuable treasure that it is. When you put this type of work into your marriage you will want to do all you can to protect it. You will want to keep your priorities straight by treating your marriage as the most important thing in your life, except your relationship with God.
You will want to set boundaries that guard your marriage from enemy attacks. Such as the attacks that come from other family members, friends, careers, ministries, and social life. You will want to protect your marriage from the attacks of business, and pursuit of fame and fortune. The American dream is great, until it cost you your marriage and family. Then you realize you would rather be happily married in a shack that to be lonely and by yourself in a mansion.
Thanks for reading this post. I hope it has blessed you and encouraged you.
Question: Do you think your marriage deserves to stay out of the trash pile?
Image courtesy of Witthaya Phonsawat at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Your post seems to address some superficial thinking, akin to equating marriage to a new suit of clothes that can be changed to suit the changes of fashion. But I’m not seeing how this applies to unilateral decisions that affect both couples. Just this weekend, I have read the stories of two men in their early 50’s whose wives have made the unilateral decision that there will be no more sex in the marriage.
If the counsel to these two men is “clean it off, and buff it up”, I don’t see how this can work. Knowing the backstory of these two marriage, the sexual component has been a source of conflict and friction, and both wives have told their husbands that since they are menopausal or peri-menopausal, that aspect the marriage is now over.
(btw – these are separate stories, not two wives who talked it over and decided.)
I would absolutely counsel these two men you speak of to do the same thing I have said on this post. I’m not saying the wives are right for what they are doing in these two marriages, but at the same time this no sex problem does not give these men grounds to divorce their wives. So if they should not divorce and they obviously cannot force their wives into changing, what choice do they have left? Applying forgiveness, grace, and praying the blood of Jesus over this situation is their only answer. Which is exactly what I described as how to clean up all the stuff that has tarnished the marriage. The picture illustration of this post may seem to simple for complicated and difficult issues, but there is nothing simplistic about the power of the blood of Jesus and allowing His grace and forgiveness to work in difficult situations. And so yes, when it comes to Jesus cleaning up the marriage, I do believe in this unilateral approach.
Hi my wife email saying she need a divorce we been sapareted for 7 months been married for 5 years yes we got kid 8 months old should I fight for marriage how , when she doesnt want it anymore and yes are Christians both of us , please can you help