We have been reconciled a little over five and a half years. Here are some things that I have learned in that time.
Reconciliation is a long term process. Our marriage didn’t fall apart in a short time and it takes awhile to rebuild it. Building a great marriage is going to be a life long process.
The discouraging thing is that some of the same old issues raise their heads, but the good news is that we have learned new ways to deal with those old issues. When we realize that we are responding in old negative ways, before too long one of us reminds the other that we know better ways to do things. That is usually all it takes to get us back to practicing what we know and “preach” – which is so much better than the old ways.
Clint and Penny Bragg (Inverse Ministries) published a book called Marriage on the Mend that is quite helpful in addressing issues that are typical to a reconciliation. They have podcasts on their website where they talk about the things that help marriages reconcile.
We have begun making a practice of having Sunday night devotions. We started out by using the devotional, Dance Lessons, by the Braggs. We take turns leading each week. One of us has some sort of devotional thought – it might be a scripture, it might be something we read during the week, or it might be something God has really been showing us. We share our calendars for the upcoming week also so we have some clue what each other will be doing. That leads into a time of prayer requests and prayer for each other, our children, our families, couples and individuals we work with and other subjects God brings to mind. Even though Sunday devotions are not long or complex they help us keep that feeling of connection with God and with each other.
Helping others in struggling marriages helps keep our marriage sharp, because we keep practicing what we have learned, and each time we teach we learn something more about ourselves.
Marriage isn’t perfect bliss, but it is so much better than being alone, so much better than our marriage before our separation, and I shudder to think what life would have been like if we had divorced.