One of the hardest things for us about helping crisis couples, or even one person of the crisis couple, is inspiring them to use and practice what they are taught. Sharon and I can teach many communication and conflict resolution skills and reference many resources – all of which can be very helpful to a spouse or couple in marital crisis – but they somehow have to be inspired to use at home what we have taught them.
It gets so disappointing at times that we will share our testimony of what Jesus has done in our own marriage, teach them practical skills, and reference testimonies of healed marriages, and yet so often they seem to give up hope for their own marriage so quickly and often make very little consistent effort to try to apply what we teach them. Many couples want a “quick fix”, but we remind them they didn’t get into a crisis overnight and they won’t get out of it overnight.
If you are a couple in crisis, I implore to start pursuing a relationship with Jesus with your whole heart and continue to look for even the smallest ray of hope in your marriage. We’ve learned that God can and will do a miracle in your marriage if you give Him a chance. If you humble yourself before Him, allow Him to work in your heart and attitude while trusting Him to be working in your spouse’s at the same time, God can do amazing things.
What is so sad in our culture is that we will get so excited about a movie star or singer who got rejected hundreds of times, but then hit it big, or the athlete or team that held on to hope and kept trying to win in the face of incredible odds and became champions. But, when it comes to marriage, so many couples quickly give up hope and go the divorce route. Our culture also cheers when two unlikely people overcome incredible odds and fall in love and get married. The idea of having that same never-give-up attitude towards their spouse when they are in a crisis just seems to fall on deaf ears.
I love this quote by Theodore Roosevelt:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”