If your spouse has just left you or has asked you to leave, you are most likely in the midst of great turmoil within your heart and mind. There are many questions racing through your head: What should I do? How should I respond? Can this relationship be reconciled? If so, how?
This will not be an easy time for you, nor will there be easy answers to your dilemma. However, God is in the business of reconciling people unto Himself everyday, and because of this, He understands how to reconcile your marital relationship. He has revealed the methods and principles that you need in His Word. If you will open your heart to His counsel, the reconciliation process can begin. This can be a time of great change and healing in your life and marriage if you will only yield to His plan. What should you do to see the work begin?
1. Examine yourself. This is the first and most important step you must take. Instead of dwelling on your mate’s faults and failures, begin by examining your own. This is what Jesus told His disciples to do when they became involved in a conflict or were tempted to condemn others. He taught them, “First, remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matt. 7:5). There is no way that you will be able to see the conflicts in your marriage clearly until you have first taken this step. Self-examination is not an easy step but it is an essential one if reconciliation is ever to become a reality.
What are your faults? How have these failures contributed to this break-up? What have you said or done that has destroyed the love between you and your mate? Or, what have you failed to do that has caused this break-up? I suggest that you write these problems in your behavior, words, or attitudes on paper. This will help you in several ways. First, it will enable you to be specific in prayer to God for change in these areas. Also, listing your own faults helps you to remember and focus on the issues you need to confess to your mate.
Self-examination and confession are the fastest way to reconciliation. If you acknowledge your faults, then your mate doesn’t have to spend time attempting to prove to you where you’ve failed. If both partners take this action, reconciliation is easy. Therefore, ask God for truth in the inward parts of your heart and identify your faults.
2. Don’t get any harder. Hardness of heart is the primary reason why this break-up has occurred in the first place. Jesus identified a callous heart as that which destroys marital relationships. He explained to His disciples that it was only the “hardness of your hearts” that God even allowed Moses to give instruction concerning divorce (Matt. 19:8).
This hardening process has resulted because of your failure to obey His commands to seek reconciliation and real solutions to the day-to-day conflicts that have occurred. These unresolved issues have slowly built up and hardened you, and have ultimately separated you from the intimacy you once had with your spouse and with Christ.
Therefore, deal quickly with the state of your heart. Ask God to convict and soften you, so that you might turn from your resentment, anger, pride, or an unwillingness to work at the relationship. Ask Him for a brokenness inside as you see your own faults and failures. Request a willingness to do anything God requires of you in order to reconcile your marriage. What will help you get this broken and contrite heart?
3. Renew your relationship with the Lord. Once you recognize your faults and humble yourself before God, you must seek the only One who can change your heart and, ultimately, your behavior. You must understand that every marital problem is first a spiritual problem. Whenever there is a failure to love, to give in a sacrificial manner, to lovingly communicate, to render and receive forgiveness, or to be understanding, there is a basic spiritual problem in your walk with Christ. Now of course, at times, everyone fails in these responsibilities, but when there is a consistent deficiency without reconciliation in these areas, it is because there is a basic weakness in your relationship with Christ. You either don’t see your personal problems or you are choosing not to obey God in some way. Therefore, to see any real change in your ability to resolve these problem areas in your life, there must be a restoration and a deepening of your love relationship with Christ.
The renewing of your relationship with Him will enable you to experience the power you need for change. Only the Holy Spirit can transform a person into the image of Christ (2 Cor. 3:18). As you surrender to Him on a daily basis, He will conform your attitudes and your behavior to be in harmony with His. Beloved, don’t try to change yourself by your own willpower. You need only to ask and yield, and your heavenly Father will give you the inner strength of His Spirit (Luke 11:13). Won’t you ask today?
If you would like more information on the marriage ministry of Pastor Steve Carr or his book Married and How To Stay That Way, please come and visit us on the Internet at www.covenantkeepers.org