Father Dick McGinnis, an Episcopal priest, interviewed a number of couples who had been separated and then reconciled. After listening to their stories he came up with a list of 17 Statements that described what most couples went through on their road back together. Each person does not necessarily go through the list in this order, but most people when they reconcile realize that somewhere along the way they went through these steps.
The 17 Action Statements
The Heart of Marriage Ministry
1. Through other Christians’ testimony and example we/I found hope for our marriage.
B. COMMITMENT TO GOD
2. I experienced God’s love and forgiveness.
3. I made a decision/commitment to love: Christ, mate, self.
(This wording indicates that this kind of love comes only after commitment is made. Known as agape, it is the form of love that is self-giving rather than self-receiving.)
4. I made a decision and commitment to follow Jesus as my Savior and Lord.
5. Once obedient to God, we were able to begin to love by His standards, not ours.
6. I became accountable to God for my behavior, thoughts, and actions, and became aware of my accountability to others.
C. COMMITMENT TO PARTNER
7. We/I made a decision to stay together.
8. We/I made a decision to forgive mate and myself.
9. I accepted my mate as he/she is.
D. CHANGED MYSELF
10. I realized that the problem was with myself.
11. I began looking at myself as needing change, to be able to love, no matter what. I became aware that I needed to change, became willing to change, learned what and how to change, and began to change with God’s help.
12. I made an examination of my role in our marriage, according to God’s word, and changed accordingly with God’s help.
13. I accepted change in my mate.
14. Through Christ, I began trusting enough to increasingly put my whole self in the care of my mate.
15. I learned to communicate honestly, truthfully, and openly in love.
16. I learned to put God and mate ahead of myself (became humble before the Lord).
17. We are still in the process and realize that we must share what we have found with others.
Read Action Statement #1. Ask, “Who first gave you hope for your marriage?”
Read Action Statement #2. Ask, “When did you experience God’s love and forgiveness? How did you make a commitment to the Lord?”
Continue this process through the 17 Action Statements.