People struggling in a marriage often either wait too long to get relationship help or refuse help altogether. Yet, we know how to help marriages that are headed toward divorce.

There are 3 pre-conditions necessary to do the hard work of resurrecting a dying marriage or bringing problems to the forefront to be helped. Here are those preconditions:

1) Consider the possibility that you contribute to on-going or past problems.

Before you complain about what your partner does, take a hard look at yourself. At least entertain the idea that you are not the perfect spouse.

Ask yourself: Do I carry old wounds from my past? Do I blame my spouse for things that are really my fault? Am I walking close to God? Get out of the blame game and into the reality that it takes two to tango!

2) Recognize that you don’t have control over your spouse’s will, but you do have a great deal of influence.

For every action in marriage, there is a spousal reaction. You control your reaction no matter how your spouse behaves. When you change your behavior, it changes the couple interaction.

So work on the part you can control–your reaction. If you are a screamer, stop screaming! If you avoid conflict, push yourself to address problems.

This type of change will feel awkward at first and will create tension in the relationship because you are changing the pattern of how you relate. But over time, your changes will make a difference and influence the relationship in a positive way. Commit to working on your reactions.

3) Be aware of the spiritual deception that attempts to derail your relationship.

The enemy loves to divide and destroy relationships. In any relationship that honors God and involves holy matrimony, there is a spiritual battle. We must open our eyes to the battle that is beyond flesh and blood and see the principalities and powers that operate to deceive and destroy us.

God is not the author of negative thoughts or critical remarks. If you aren’t actively seeking intimacy with God or praying over the relationship, you aren’t doing what is necessary to bring transformation to the heart. Heart-change is what makes reconciliation possible.

Whether your marriage is the best it’s ever been, or is spiraling out of control, incorporating these three principals will equip your marriage to face the future. Prayerfully consider the changes you need to make individually and as a couple.

Divorce-proofing your marriage