Many couples stagger to a sad moment in their relationship when they feel that nothing can save their marriage. They either feel utter contempt for their partner, or are convinced that the only solution for emotional health is to get out of the relationship. They have given up. The future looks grim unless there is drastic change.

“It’s just too late to make this marriage work.”

John and Susan were at this point. Their relationship had moved from criticism to defensiveness to feelings of contempt to distance. The road to this progression was well documented. The road back would take a lot of work, but was doable. When I asked if they were willing to try, John hesitated. “I just want out. I am not happy.” He was not willing to do the work and he didn’t believe change was possible.

When a marriage is at this point, couples need to ask, “Do we believe that nothing is impossible with God.” Yes, the marriage feels impossible, but with a willingness to do the hard work, can God restore an impossible marriage?

In the process of trying to restore a difficult marriage, it is important to recognize the spiritual force behind all the unhappiness. While it may be true that you and your partner are doing things to make the marriage unhappy, so is the enemy of your soul. And one way he is successful is to discourage you and fill your mind with negative thinking. Discouragement, envy, hopelessness and negativity are not from God. Couples who understand that this spiritual dimension of a marriage cannot be ignored, can war against attacks when they begin to come. Traditional marriage counseling may not address this spiritual dimension.

Usually, a broken marriage is in need of a willingness to try. Without a willingness on both sides, it is difficult to reconcile. If there is a willingness to try, then repentance and forgiveness are both needed to go forward and reconcile hurts and wounds that have led to emotional distance.

Often our biggest obstacle is believing in the transforming power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. With surrender, repentance, humility and a willingness to honor the covenant, couples can change.

My former pastor reminded me that we often live in the probable. We will probably get divorced. He probably won’t change. She will probably continue to hurt me, etc.

But God wants us living in the possible. All things are possible with God who gives us a hope and a future. What he has done for others, he can do for you. Stay connected to the God of the possible and allow his work to be done in both of your hearts. Soften your heart, seek Him and believe. If you are willing to try, God can restore an impossible marriage.


Adapted from I Married You Not Your Family: And Nine Other Relationship Myths That Will Ruin Your Marriage by Dr. Linda Mintle

Hope for the impossible marriage

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