God blessed me this past weekend with having the privilege of leading a Marriage Retreat for couples who had been struggling with their marriages.
Twenty four couples for all over the United States joined us for a weekend of using proven tools that work to help them get their marriages back on track.
I was often asked by the couples, “How can you possibly fix our marriage in a single weekend?” The truth is I can’t fix your marriage in a weekend. After all, it took longer than a weekend to get into the shape it is currently in. All things that are worth having are worth working hard for though, and your marriage is certainly worth fighting for.
During this weekend, I focused on really a single theme that all marriages need more of – communication. I can pinpoint the moment when your marriage started to go wrong – it is the moment when you both stopped communicating with each other effectively. You see, we humans will go to great lengths to avoid talking about or emotions, especially us men. Women, sometimes you have to hit us over the head before we will even realize that something we did or said may have hurt you. And the longer you go without saying anything to us, the longer you will keep the hurt inside and it will only fester and turn to poison that will eat your marriage alive. On the other hand, women if you do or say something to hurt your mate, we will not say a word to you either because that might lead to having to talk about our emotions, and therefore the hurt just grows and never gets brought to light.
Over and over this weekend, I kept hearing from all of the couples as we had our counseling sessions, “I just did not have any idea that I had hurt him/her by doing or saying what I did.” On top of these ‘hidden’ hurts, we dealt with far too many cases of affairs in the marriages from both the husbands and the wives. Did you know that statistics show that when a couple decide to do the work to stay together after an affair, it takes on average of 2 years before the couple will even feel good about beginning to trust their mates again?! That is just a staggering fact, but I think you can understand why it is so true. Affairs are the ultimate breach of trust and love in a marriage. Very few couples decide to try to stay together, especially in the ‘disposable’ society we live in today where if we do not like something we just throw it away and get something else. This is why the current divorce rate in America has creeped up over 52% in 2015.
But rest assured that when you seek help from professionals who can teach you how to communicate again and get back to the reasons why you married your spouse in the first place, then true healing can and will occur. Of the 24 couples that attended this weekend, only one couple decided to go ahead with their divorce. The only 23 made a commitment and even wrote out contracts with their spouses that they wanted nothing more than to reconcile with their spouses now that they have the communication tools to truly speak to and listen to their spouses in ways that meet their needs. All of the couples agreed to own their hurtful actions and ask forgiveness for them, and it is here where true healing begins!
God takes marriage very seriously and it hurts Him as much as it does us when we make the decision to divorce. It certainly did my heart wonders to hear people give their testimonies at the end of the retreat on Sunday to say that they had experienced a ‘miracle’ during the retreat. Even the couple who decided to split said that the communication tools they learned will certainly help them as move forward with their lives.
If you find yourself in a marriage that is struggling, it is my prayer for you that you would reach out to professionals who can help you learn just how important communication is to your marriage and and to getting your needs met in a marriage relationship. I can tell you firsthand that healing is possible and miracles still happen and do happen!
Please remember that if a wife who was pregnant with her second child while her husband continued to have a 2 year affair can forgive her husband and agree to work on their marriage, then certainly there is hope for you.
With that said, it is not always the case that people are able to stay married. I want you to know that if this is you, God does not love you any less. People will tell you that ‘divorce is a sin’ but here is what you say back to them – ‘so is lying, have you ever lied?” That will put them in their place. God hates all sin, and there are not levels of sin. Killing someone is just as bad as lying or stealing in God’s eyes. To God, all sin is deplorable.
Yes God sees divorce as a sin, but God also understands that sometimes the wrong people get together. Abuse, mentally and physically, can certainly drive people apart. As I mentioned, God is just as sad about divorce as we are. I will say that if you are on your fifth marriage, it may be time to get introspective and maybe come to the conclusion that marriage might not be for you.
I will simply close with this, there was a day when you looked at your spouse and you decided in your heart, “This person is the person I want to spend the rest of my life with.” You may look at them today and not see that same person, but if you have not spoken about what changed, how it changed, and why it changed, then you are not doing the work needed to keep the marriage alive. There are people who can help teach you the communication skills it takes in order to rekindle a marriage where the flames seem to have gone out. Please reach out to a professional if you find yourself struggling with your marriage and all you want is for it to go back to the way it was from day one.
Trust me, miracles can happen!
Pastor Brad Komgenick