In a recent article, I talked about the “labor of love” that is necessary to keep your marriage strong. I pointed out that “labor” means so much more than just “work.” It involves bringing a conceived love to life. In other words, giving birth. So what do you do when the very thing you gave birth to begins to die? How do you handle marriage problems that have become terminal to your relationship?
Marriage problems show no favoritism. Neither does the Bible. As such, the solutions I offer today can be followed by anyone of any faith or creed. But they tend to be more challenging if you haven’t chosen the Bible as your standard of living. If you’re serious about bringing your dead marriage back to life, however, you won’t go wrong taking these scriptures to heart.
5 Biblical Ways to Revive a Dying Marriage
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Seeking advice isn’t necessarily a Biblical concept. We do it all the time about all kinds of things. And we certainly don’t shy away from it when it comes to relationships. But, here’s where the Bible gets you. Usually, when we “seek” advice, we go talk to the friends who we know will agree with our point of view. In particular, when it comes to relationships, we share our grievances with family or friends who will take our side. The Bible calls that foolish. In fact, Proverbs 28:26 says specifically, “the way of a fool is wise in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.”
When you get advice only from those who will say what your “itching ears” (2 Timothy 4:3) want to hear, you are being a fool. Instead, the Bible says in Proverbs 27:6, “wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”
Seek advice from those willing to call you out on your wrongdoing. When a marriage starts going south, it takes two to get it there. Seek advice on what and how you need change and then trust it. James 3:17 says that the “wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure, then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” That’s the kind of wisdom that can bring a dead marriage back to life.
So many times when you are facing marital problems, you can get caught up in what the other person is doing, has done, or is going to do. What you should be doing instead is looking at your own heart and aligning it with God’s word. Once you receive Godly advice from a trusted source or sources, then take the time to work on your character. Proverbs 15: 9 says “the Lord detests the way of the wicked but he loves those who pursue righteousness.”
Finding what is “right” in the eyes of God means opening your Bible and searching for the areas you need to grow. Once you find them, water them daily with prayer and action. Practically speaking, if you’re used to grumbling under your breath when your spouse says something, don’t. If you have stopped showing interest in intimacy, change it. Since the tongue can be a fire, if you usually curse at your spouse from sun up to sundown, don’t. If you spend money like it’s going out of style, stop.
Some changes will be more evident than others at first, but your marriage problems didn’t start in a day and they won’t be fixed in a day either. However, just as you pursued your spouse at the start of your relationship, pursue righteousness and watch your heart for your marriage come back to life.
I know that this is way easier said than done. It seems only natural to place conditions on love during difficult times. When marriage problems arise there is always a tit for tat in behavior. She hurt me, so I’ll hurt her back. If he apologizes, then I’ll change. You attach conditions to some of the easiest things to give in a relationship. As a result, marriage problems abound and your relationship suffers.
If you got married because you were in “love,” then the Bible has a lot to say about that in 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8. While I implore you to read that whole passage, let me point out a few nuggets. Love is “not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” When you love unconditionally, you look to the interests of your spouse more than you look to your own interest. You love in a way that gives your marriage life.
Honestly, this one is easy. When you are enthralled in marriage problems, the tongue wags loose. You say what you want to say without concern for how it impacts your spouse. You love to “tell it like it is” and “keep it real.” You just forgot one thing, love. See point three. Ephesians 4:15 attributes maturity to “speaking the truth in love.” Rather than fly off the handle like a child and tactlessly say what you feel like saying, grow up. Attacking your spouse with hurtful words will kill your marriage. But exercising restraint and pressing pause if necessary can keep bad problems from getting even worse.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is a great marriage. When problems take over, they drain the life right out of you. As you work on rebuilding your marriage, patience will be the call of the day – every. single. day. If you try to rush it, your foundation will be weak. Ephesians 4:2 says to “be completely humble and gentle, bearing with one another in love.” Patience requires humility. I know that’s a tough pill to swallow when your marriage is on the rocks. But it’s worth it when it comes to saving your relationship.
Even though you may get frustrated…and tired, take Galatians 6:9 to heart: “Let us not become weary in doing good for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
The Bible works. It’s really that simple. If your marriage problems are more than you can bear, take them to God who is always on your side. Seek His guidance, follow His word and pray for your marriage to be brought back to life.
BMWK: what do you need to do to bring your marriage back to life?