“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.