Home Life by Bev and Phil Haas
Many couples waste time and energy trying to keep up appearances of a good marriage when their marriage is dying. The first step toward reviving your marriage is admitting it’s in trouble. We’re glad that one of you is looking for help rather than the exit.
A marriage with one partner willing to save it is moving in the right direction. When both partners have called it quits, there is little hope of recovery. Because your spouse is pessimistic, you are the one who is going to have to step up and demonstrate that life together can get better. You may not like the fact that this feels one-sided, but at first, that may be how it is. Swallow your pride, roll up your sleeves, and mentally prepare yourself for a marathon effort. Change will not happen overnight.
Listen to Godly Guidance
The book of Proverbs offers this godly advice: “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety” (11:14, New King James Version). You may be thinking, Wait a minute! Are you suggesting we let our friends and family tell us what’s best for our marriage? Don’t get hung up on the word multitude. Read it again, and this time substitute the word marriages for the the people. “Where there is no counsel, marriages fall.” We’re not suggesting you consult with everyone in your circle of family and friends, nor should the entire clan be telling you what’s best for your marriage. But if you don’t listen to someone on the outside, you’re headed for more trouble.
A godly friend or couple who will speak the truth can be a great source of help even when their insights convict rather than comfort. Is there someone in your life who can speak to you openly and honestly about your marriage? Counseling can be beneficial, but it’s not always easy to open up to an unfamiliar therapist or Christian counselor. That’s why we are first recommending that you and your spouse have a heart-to-heart conversation with a couple you are close to who also have a heart for God and a marriage you respect.
At some point you may need to meet with a marriage counselor. It’s important that you agree when selecting a counselor. This prevents one of you from feeling as if the others are teaming up against you. As with all other professions, there are good counselors and there are poor counselors. Sometimes personality differences between the counselor and a couple can clash and hinder your ability and desire to discuss the problems in your marriage. Although it may take a couple of sessions before you feel comfortable revealing the depth of the problems, consider a second opinion if you get stuck. However, if you find yourself bouncing from one counselor to another, take a good look at yourself.
Reach for a Good Resource on Marriage
In addition to godly counsel, read a good book about marriage together. Here are two helpful books on marriage: His Needs, Her Needs (Revell, 2011) by Willard Harley and Love and Respect (Thomas Nelson, 2004) by Emerson Eggerichs. These books will bring you into contact with some extraordinary counsel from men and women God has gifted in the area of restoring marriages.
We believe the most satisfying marriages are the ones where each partner works to meet the needs of the other. When the wife concentrates on meeting her husband’s needs and the husband concentrates on meeting his wife’s needs, the result is a highly satisfying marriage for both. That kind of commitment is a foundation you can build upon. We don’t want to overload you with advice, so we trust these two simple steps will get you moving in the right direction.
Send your questions about family life to Phil and Bev Haas in care of The Lookout, 8805 Governor’s Hill Drive, Suite 400, Cincinnati, OH 45249, firstname.lastname@example.org. We regret that personal replies are not always possible. Phil and Bev Haas are involved in education and family ministry in Cincinnati, Ohio. They are the parents of two children, and they have one grandson.