If you missed it, be sure to read the first installment of this series What Should You Do When Your Spouse Walks Out the Door? Part 1!
4. Don’t create more conflicts. If you truly want reconciliation with your spouse, one of the most important steps is to be sure you don’t create new conflicts while you are separated. Even though a couple may be separated from each other, the conflicts can continue to mount up. This is a great mistake. This means you must stop the harassing phone calls, showing up unannounced to make some new demand, or trying to force your will upon your mate. When these behaviors continue to occur, your spouse begins to wonder if he or she should even try to reconcile. Your spouse considers these additional conflicts as conformation that nothing has changed in your life and that it would be fruitless to reconcile.
However, I believe the conflicts will cease if an individual is truly examining his or her own heart before God. When you realize your personal fault and begin dealing with your hardness of heart, you can’t help but want to reconcile. You naturally want to stop the battling. Remember Solomon’s exhortation, “Stop contention before a quarrel starts” (Prov. 17:14). Be assured, His grace is sufficient to enable you to control your anger and your tongue (2 Cor. 12:9).
5. Begin making changes in your life. While you are seeking reconciliation with your mate, begin actively dealing with your own faults. Go back to the list that you made and undertake the most important issue of conflict between you and your mate. Begin to study the Scriptures on this subject and start learning all you can regarding what God requires. If you are unsure exactly how to do this, seek out a friend that is more knowledgeable in the Word of God for help. Then ask God for the wisdom to apply these truths in your life. Continue asking for the empowering of God’s Spirit to fill your heart with the strength to walk in love. Become a doer of the Word and not merely a hearer (James 1:22-25). Taking this action will encourage reconciliation with your mate and assure that when the relationship is restored it is built on a new foundation.
6. Keep the right motivation. What should be your ultimate motivation for making these changes? Is it to get your spouse back? Is it to be free of the uncomfortable circumstances you’re living in at the moment? Why should you be seeking to restore your relationship? It must primarily be because you want to please God by being obedient to His Word. Paul encouraged the Thessalonian church how they “ought to walk and to please God” (1 Thess. 4:1). Be sure this is your ultimate motivation.
What is the most practical thing you can do to please the Lord? Seek reconciliation! Jesus said, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother” (Matt. 18:15). In addition He encouraged, “If you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matt. 5:23,24). Are you willing to go and seek reconciliation simply to be obedient to God? If you want to please the Lord, this is what you must do.
Steps to take that will help in your reconciliation.
1. First determine what’s negotiable and what’s not. In most marital break-ups there are usually many issues that have led to the deadlock. You must first determine which are issues that you might compromise with your spouse and which you cannot. Obviously, moral issues and biblical principles cannot be compromised. To compromise over them would be disobedience to God and a rejection of His lordship over your life. God’s Word teaches us that we should deny “ungodliness and worldly lust, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age” (Titus 2:12). Therefore, you must reject any ungodly or unrighteous behavior as unacceptable. Only confession and repentance can resolve those issues.
However, when you and your spouse disagree on non-moral or personal issues, you must find a workable compromise that satisfies both partners. How can you find this compromise? Choose to walk in love by determining where you are being offensive or unreasonable in your demands. Choose to give. This is the counsel Paul gave to the church at Rome. This church had many disputes over non-moral issues in which members were offending others continually. His counsel was to “pursue the things that make for peace and the things by which one may edify another” (Rom. 14:19). He declared that if you are choosing to offend your brother “you are no longer walking in love” (Rom. 14:15).
Therefore, specifically determine those areas in which loving compromise needs to be worked out. Where you have failed to walk in love by a poor attitude, cutting words, or insensitive behavior, repent and confess it to your spouse. Be willing to ask forgiveness for each offensive or unrighteous act. Once you settle these issues between you, it becomes much easier to focus on what is really important. The moral and biblical issues should always be the priority in your discussions for reconciliation.
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