In my years as a marriage counselor, I’ve dealt with some very real and troubling problems in marriages. But no matter what the extent of the problems may be, they can be solved, reconciliation made, and hope rekindled. Every marriage can be salvaged and repaired — except one. Couples, with God’s help, have been able to repair marriages damaged by an affair, broken by abuse, or injured by neglect. Yet I’ve found there is one type of broken marriage that can’t be saved.
The Only Broken Marriage That Can’t Be Saved
The only time I’ve been unable to help a marriage and the only time God can’t help a marriage is when one or both of the individuals involved no longer have a desire to make it work. The killing of that desire makes it impossible to overcome the issues in the relationship. When someone doesn’t care to fix the marriage, they simply won’t try.
When I sense that someone no longer wants to make the marriage work, I try to find something, some hint that they might want or even wish that it worked. I will ask, “Do you wish that you would care for the marriage?” If I can get some positive response to that, then maybe, there is hope.
But someone who doesn’t care won’t care enough to make any effort. And that is the reason any marriage will fail. Both sides need to care. Both sides need to have at least a sliver of desire to make the marriage work.
What Kills the Desire to Make the Marriage Work
The desire to work the marriage out is often dependant upon several factors:
- Has their heart already moved on? Sometimes a person’s heart has already left, already divorced themselves. Sometimes a person has already latched on to someone else. This means their desire has shifted, and it won’t come back unless that other desire can be severed.
- Can they see past their pain? Hurt people only have the desire to be rid of their pain and to prevent themselves from being hurt again. Until there is a measure of healing, the desire to make the marriage work will be stifled.
- Is there a sense of teamwork? People who believe they are the only ones trying to fix a problem will soon lose their desire to fix the problem. Both sides of the marriage must work together. A person’s desire to fix a marriage maybe directly related to the effort and desire they see from the other party.
You can so pound a person into the ground emotionally and spiritually so that you drive out any desire to even want to make the marriage work. I’ve witnessed husbands who were so lackadaisical regarding their marriage that they killed their wife’s desire to want to be married. They come to me in a last-ditch effort to save their marriage, but she doesn’t have the will or desire to save it anymore.
It’s hard to fix a marriage where someone doesn’t want it to be fixed. It’s almost impossible.
Don’t mistake hope for desire, however. A person who feels that there is no hope may still have the desire to make it work. There is therefore hope for the marriage. Hope can be rekindled when there is desire, but trying to rekindle desire is extremely difficult.
So if your marriage is struggling, the most important thing you can do is try to see to it that desire to make the relationship a success remains on both sides of the marriage. Don’t allow the desire to perish.
Ideas To Rekindle the Desire to Make the Marriage Work
The Bible says that through desire a man will separate himself from other things and then find ways to make their desire come to pass (Proverbs 18:1). That is the power of desire. How strongly do you desire to make your marriage work?
Consider these things:
- Be willing to get help. Show that you are willing to make a go at it.
- Tell your spouse that you believe in them. That’ll help keep the desire alive.
- Say that you aren’t willing to give up. If your spouse sees your determination, maybe he or she will be willing to keep trying too.
- Start having weekly dates. This may help rekindle your desire for each other.
- If your spouse is hurt, find ways to promote healing.
- If your spouse’s heart seems to be elsewhere, you may need to try to win their heart as you did when you first met.
Keep desire alive!
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