Have you ever needed to rebuild something? A few years ago dear friends of ours had their home demolished by fire. After the shock came the grieving and eventually, the rebuilding. Through their loss they experienced the power of friends and community supporting them and meeting various needs. Eventually, they were able to use the same foundation and construct a beautiful and even more functional home for their family.
Rebuilding in marriage is like that. Something has been damaged or demolished. Some of the areas of marital breakdown include: trust, friendship, communication, hope, affection, intimacy, and understanding. It’s a time when the power of friends and community can be expressed and experienced. There is always some sort of foundation to build upon and what results from the rebuilding can be even more beautiful than what was shared before.
Here are seven keys to rebuild your marriage that we have found to be important in our marriage and that we teach at retreats and to the couples we coach:
1) God is all about restoration and reconciliation
It’s always good to know who is on your “side,” and when it comes to rebuilding any area of our marriage, God’s help is available. He is FOR your marriage! So commit your efforts to Him, pray consistently as you take significant steps, and give Him the credit (glory) for all of the positive steps you take.
2) Be humble and learn
This is the time to listen to your spouse more than you speak. What do they need from you? What do you need to “own” that got you where you are? Ask questions. Drop defensiveness. Seek wisdom from books and blogs to help you improve.
3) Trust is paramount
At the core of every breakdown is the loss of trust. We counsel men and women to do whatever is necessary to restore trust. Depending on the devastation the marriage has experienced, it could take months or years. But the humility, the ownership, and realization that God is helping you makes trust building not only doable, but healing as well. You can do it!
4) Expect to work at it
To rebuild takes effort: emotional, physical, relational, and spiritual. Some days you may feel your self tapped-out at all levels. Progress seems like you are swimming in peanut butter. But your marriage is worth every ounce of effort. What you will receive at the other end of the process will be a marriage that brings joy to you, leaves a legacy for your family, and will be an encouragement to a watching world.
5) Press through the obstacles
We have good friends who are fighting for their marriage and working on rebuilding. None of their other friends are supporting them. But they know that it is worth the fight even of opposition from those close to them. Your schedules can be an obstacle. Perhaps your obstacle is proximity due to travel or limited time alone together—whatever is in your way, stay faithful to your commitment to the marriage and press ahead!
6) It’s ok to get help
There are gifted and trained men and women who can help you find the path toward wholeness. Don’t be afraid to find a good counselor who lines up with your shared values and who will fight with you for your marriage. Pull in a mutually trusted friend or two who will be encouragers in your journey as well. We all need someone who can cheer us on in our race toward victory.
7) Remember: you CAN do all things through Christ
To rebuild requires a recognition that our personal effort alone isn’t enough. We need to ask Jesus to help us. The Bible says that “I can do ALL things through him who strengthens me.” With Jesus strengthening you in your steps to rebuild, you will experience satisfaction, peace, and joy as you build your marriage!