So often during our own separation I heard people tell me that I couldn’t save my marriage by myself. I hear the same thing now from people whose spouse wants out and they are teetering on giving up. Okay, I will agree that legally with no-fault divorce, in the long run if a spouse absolutely wants out of the marriage they can get out of it by waiting enough time and having enough money. However, there is a lot you can do to change the dynamics of your relationship for the positive and dramatically increase your odds of saving your marriage.
The first thing to remember is that with God all things are possible. If you are a Christian in a marriage it is also good to remember that a cord of three strands (you, your partner, and God) is not easily broken. I am going to link to some articles and videos that will give you hope and ideas on how to practically change your marriage for the better by yourself.
Michelle Weiner-Davis gives excellent examples in this clip. I think she is dead on that we know how to push our spouses buttons in an instant to make things go bad, so we need to think about what buttons we can push to make them go well. If she didn’t convince you that you can change a marriage by yourself- listen in that clip, you can hear her say it shorter and more succinctly here.
Charlyne’s husband Bob was having an affair. Her pastors told her to get divorced so she did, and then she became convicted by God that she was to pray and fast for Bob to repent and come home. He eventually did come home, they were remarried, and ministered for over 25 years together before he passed away. You can read their testimony here. If you browse over the website you will find encouragement from their own lives and the lives of others how much change can happen in a marriage when one person seeks God.
Joe and Michelle Williams (Reconciling God’s Way) wrote a curriculum called Marriage 911. It encourages a spouse to focus on God and allow Him to change them first and then their marriage.
Jeff and Cheryl Scruggs were happily married for a season but she had an affair and they got divorced. About three months later she repented to God and her husband, but it took three years before he could even look her in the eye because of his anger. It ended up taking a total of seven years for his heart to change enough to forgive her and for them to be remarried. You can hear some of their touching story here.
On this blog a lady tells how she gave her husband her list of demands for a better marriage and said she was contemplating divorce but he dropped dead the next day. She came to realize that even without him most of her problems were still there. I love her subtitle “How to have a happier marriage without waiting for your spouse to change”.
So yes, one person can make huge difference in saving a marriage. Sadly, most who say they will do anything to save their marriage try one or two things, wait just a very short time for their spouse to change, but then give up.