The warning signs are clear. You know your marriage is strained and broken and you don’t know what to do anymore. You and your spouse have not seen eye to eye for a long time. You rarely communicate and when you do the tension is swift and thick. This lends itself to misunderstandings that take root and become resentments. Like a burning inferno, the resentment sweeps through your relationship, destroying everything you have built together. And now, the love that was once sacred is in trouble, left broken and in disgrace.
What do you do?
If you’re a person of faith, I encourage you to take a page from Nehemiah’s playbook. Though Nehemiah 1:1-11 is not about relationships, it is, in essence, about how far one man was willing to go to rebuild a life he once loved. The walls of Jerusalem had been broken down and the city lay vulnerable and open to destruction.
Is your marriage anything like Jerusalem? Do you find your relationship in trouble and disgrace? Are the walls of protection strained and broken? Nehemiah sets a great example of what to do when faced with what seems to be insurmountable odds. He prays. And prays. And prays.
I encourage you to really take stock of where things are in your marriage and follow Nehemiah’s lead. “When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.”
- Take the time to weep – acknowledge where things are in your relationship and allow yourself to feel the pain of a dying love.
- Take a few days off or away – Remove yourself from anything that can distract you from the battle ahead.
- Take time to mourn – A strained and broken relationship is a loss. Before it can be revived, the loss of what once was must be felt.
- Take time to fast – the clarity that comes with it is worth it.
- Pray. And pray. And pray. I encourage you to pray Nehemiah’s prayer but with your marriage in mind as in the following:
Prayer for Your Strained and Broken Marriage
“O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands; please listen to me as I earnestly pray before you day and night for my strained and broken marriage. I confess the sins I have committed against you (be specific here and own up to your faults). I have acted very wickedly toward you and to my spouse. I have not obeyed the commands, decrees, and laws you gave me in how to be a Godly partner to my husband/wife.
Remember the instruction you gave us for our wedding vows, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” In our unity, we have become unfaithful. The love we once felt has been scattered and our relationship is strained and broken. But, if we return to you and obey your commands, then even if our relationship seems to be beyond repair, you will gather us together so that our home can once again be a dwelling for my Name.
We are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. O Lord, let your ear be attentive to my prayer. Give me success today by granting me favor in the presence of my spouse.”
Each day, as you commit your relationship to God and to the plans he has for you and your spouse, don’t lose heart. Stand firm in your trust in Him. Even though it won’t be easy, remember that just like the walls of Jerusalem, your broken and strained marriage can be rebuilt.
BMWK, are you ready to pray for your strained and broken marriage?