February 28, 2012

FAQ: It takes two, doesn’t it?

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“My spouse is not willing to work on our marriage.  Doesn’t it take two to fix a marriage?”

That is what the world wants you to believe, but biblically we find something different.
A spouse shuts down on the marriage because his/her needs have gone unmet.  They’ve given up.  But you have the key to your spouse’s heart!  The key to motivating another person is meeting that person’s deepest need, especially during conflict.

What is your spouse’s deepest need?  Ephesians 5:33 reveals this secret:  “Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband” (NIV).  Note that this verse does not say that you must love or respect only if you receive the same.  What it does say is that a husband is to love, and a wife is to respect.  Period.

Furthermore, 1 Peter 3:1 says a wife can win her disobedient husband without a word, but with her respectful behavior.  What did Peter know about men?  That unconditional respect melts a husband’s heart.

And Hosea 3:1 says, “The Lord said to me, ‘Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress.  Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites.’” What did the Lord know about women?  That unconditional love melts even the hardest of hearts!

Bottom line:  Do not wait for your spouse to join in to help “fix” your marriage. Even though your marriage feels hopeless to you, it is not hopeless to God!   It takes God and one willing heart. I have seen hundreds of marriages come back together, even after one of the spouses has given up.

Remember your response is your responsibility.  By seeking to meet your spouse’s needs first, you determine to be the more mature partner.  Is this fair?  No.  Is it effective?  Yes, more often than not.  Of course there are exceptions – there are no guarantees.  Some spouses choose evil over good and refuse to give in.  But if anything will work, the Love and Respect Connection will!

Trust that God will do something as you step out in faith. This isn’t natural, so surround yourself with godly accountability partners who will support and encourage you in this, and pray for you.  


Anonymous said...

Thank you, I needed to read this particular message this morning. I will be in prayer for my marriage.

Anonymous said...

I am actually the spouse that feels like I've given up. My husband is willing to change and save our marriage. We reads each chapter out loud to me so that I will hear these words. My heart hurts and my feelings are crushed. Immature to not give in? Maybe. However, I've worked 13 years to save this and after being crushed time and time again I find that it's not worth working for anymore. Who's to say after 2 weeks things won't go back to normal?
This was something I really needed to hear today. I know eventually my heart with soften and hopefully fall in love with the man of my dreams again. Please pray for my heart as I'm finding it hard to pray at all.

trying hard said...

My wife and I have been married for 22 years. It is my first. She was married previously. I have been applying COUPLE and it was going very well. A week or more ago, I shared some fears that I had from a counseling session that I knew were false. My wife burst out into tears. My words to comfort her were rejected. I tried to let her know that these were fears in my head, not the way that I truly felt. Did I lose COUPLE? It has been two weeks and my wife is more distant every day. I am scared that she may leave me after 22 years. I am trying to respect her space and give her time. I see a new counselor today. Please pray for us!

Arya samaj said...
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african woman said...

This is true! I am glad that I come across to your blog and read this inspiring post. Through the help of God nothing is impossible. I really love this one fixing a broken marriage is really possible.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for these encouraging words. We've been married for 24 years and I just found out 2 months ago that my husband has wanted out for 2 1/2 years. I have been studying the Love and Respect teachings (reading your books and watching the marriage conference DVDs) I can honestly say that there has come about a change within my spirit towards him. I am treating him with quiet respect. Unfortunately, at this time he is convinced that divorce is the only option...even feels like God has told him that he has gone as far as he can go. He says that the legal papers are the only thing keeping us together. So, facing this I am so thankful for encouragement to continue to respect unconditionally though at times it seems easier to give up. Thank you for your ministry.

Stephanie9598 said...

I am walking proof that God heals and restores marriages. I had to stand through a spouse that was involved in an affair. It was hard, even when he walked out to go be with that person 3 times. The 3rd time he came back, I continued to stand for him to be delivered from the addiction of that relationship. God did not say come to me only when you are clean and perfect. Likewise we can not say that to our spouse when they are in the pig pen. We renewed our vows in 2009 and will be married 20 years this Aug. With God ALL things are possible!

Anonymous said...

My husband had an affair for many years before I found out about it. I read your books and treated him with unconditional love and respect hoping we would be able to save our marriage. I learned to love him like God does and forgive him. After two years, I just found out that he never stopped the affair so now he has moved out. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try the other person cannot see the light of God and still choses Satan's path. But through the process I learned how to be stronger and a better person and have faith that God has a plan for me.

Anonymous said...

Yeah I think we need to be careful to not sell, particularly, unconditional respect, particularly in terms of the man's felt need, as a magic bullet.

People are wicked by nature and rebellious; we must not give advice or counsel people as though men and women do not have an immense and uncanny capacity for manipulation and straight up cruelty.

It has been really really discouraging to us Busters and Millennials because we are just not seeing the incentive to give up our protected position where we are pretty much free to do what we think is good and enjoy our uncomplicated lives; some of us recognize that MARRIAGE itself is not to blame, as I, myself have told a few people "Marriage never did anything to anyone; we're the one's that make the whole prospect suck--it's not working because too many people aren't working it". I've never said that, however, without giving some form of qualification that we need to do the best we can to link up fully conscious in the first place and don't get caught up in, "We have so many things in common!"

I've come across some blogs by wives who seem to think they are qualified to give blanket advice to women and wives about how they are "inadvertently disrespecting" their husbands and how she needs to jump through YET MORE HOOPS so that, despite how plainly, succinctly, and calmly she says what she needs to say to him, she doesn't still find herself in a situation where "he hears" all of this derogatory stuff that she never said and completely misses the point. Like if she'll just be a peacefulwife it will all turn out gravy.

Amanda Mooney said...

I have so enjoyed the resources this article and blog have provided our new marriage! In my blog, I share real life application and our story of journeying through love and respect. http://vowtobe.blogspot.com/2014/02/one-engagement.html

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