Can You Come Back From a Marriage Disaster?

It’s hard to imagine restoration while standing in the rubble of a major marriage disaster. After an earth-shattering revelation, a breach of trust, or a deep conflict repairing the damage done may seem utterly impossible.

But it’s amazing what God can do with some time and two willing hearts. It’s not easy, but even marriages which have driven all the way to the edge of the cliff and peered over can choose to back up and start over. {Click to Tweet} By taking a deep breath and approaching your situation with honesty and wisdom, you stand a chance of pulling your relationship—and your family—back from the brink.

Consider some of these angles to forgive past transgressions, diagnose how things got so off track, and find the road back to joy and peace in your home.

Take your time.

When emotions are high, good analysis is usually low. Your marriage and whether or not it can survive is a question too important to rush. By slowing down and giving yourself ample time to process all that you’ve experienced and the ramifications of different solutions, you’re less likely to make a decision you’ll regret later. Take a deep breath and let the dust from recent conflict settle a bit before you make any major decisions about your marriage or your future.

Understand that healing is a process with multiple stages.

A good friend of mine walked through a rough season of marriage in which her husband was unfaithful. When she learned of his affair, it shook her to her core. While they both agreed that they wanted to save the marriage, he was soon frustrated with her for struggling with residual feelings of fear and anger. He wanted to flip a switch and immediately return to the marriage they had pre-disaster, but that doesn’t happen overnight. Recovering from a major breach of trust is a much like grieving a loss: there are moments of disbelief, anger, and sadness before moving on to acceptance and rebuilding what was lost. Be patient with yourself and your spouse while you both work through the natural emotional processes. A qualified counselor can help each of you understand the other and cope as you rebuild your relationship.

Don’t just focus on the symptoms–diagnose the disease.

Whatever fell apart in your marriage has the outward, obvious thing (the “what”) and the reason behind it (the “why”). For instance, filing for bankruptcy and losing your home may have been the symptom,but irresponsible financial habits and a desire to keep up with the Joneses may have been the real disease. Don’t get so focused on the thing that blew up your life together that you fail to deal with the real moral, ethical, or good judgment issues that allowed it to happen. If you merely treat the symptoms without fighting the disease, you’ll soon be back in crisis mode in your marriage. {Click to Tweet}

Shield your kids when possible.

Children are remarkably perceptive, so it may be impossible to keep them completely in the dark about your marriage struggles. But remember–they’re your children, not your counselor. The person you’re angry with is also a parent they love, and it will hurt them to hear you speak negatively about your spouse, even when it’s true. (Heck, especially when it’s true.) Keep it positive when talking to your children, and let them know that you and their dad are working hard to make your marriage and family life the best it can be.

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