Jul 242013 13 Responses

5 Keys to Save Your Marriage

To save your marriage, there are five prerequisites. When working with couples, I look for these five things. No matter what marriage problems might present themselves, when these characteristics are present, problems can be overcome. While all five are not necessary at the first meeting, they are vital in the early stages. When even one characteristic does not quickly appear, the marriage is in great danger.

5 Keys to Save Your Marriage:

1. Humility. As I’ve written before, there is really only one enemy of marriage and that is pride. When pride goes unchecked, a healthy marriage cannot exist. Humility gives us the ability to recognize our mistakes, admit our faults, seek help from others, forgive and seek forgiveness. Humility is the foundation upon which every healthy marriage is built. It is the most important quality to save your marriage.

2. Respect. It is difficult to respect someone who has hurt you. Normally when a marriage struggles, some aspect of respect has been lost. However, there is a vast difference between not being able to respect what a person has done versus not being able to respect any part of the person. Even if you don’t respect something your spouse has done, they still deserve some level of basic human dignity. Even if you don’t respect them as a husband or wife, being able to find some area in which you do respect them (as a parent, for their talents, the work they do, etc.) can go a long way in rebuilding respect for them as a spouse. Respect is always easier to expand rather to create. When it is totally lost, it is very difficult to rebuild. If you can salvage respect, you can save your marriage.

3. Mercy. Rarely does mercy have anything to do with the object to which we need to give mercy. It most often is defined by our own understanding of how much we need it. To the extent that we understand our own need for mercy, we often give it to others. Mercy is directly tied to humility. As pride grows, our understanding of our need for mercy diminishes. The less we think we need mercy, the less mercy we give to others. Problems in a marriage cannot be solved without the giving and receiving of mercy.

4. Communication. Marriages cannot be saved without communication. While ignoring problems might give the appearance of peace, true peace is only found when we talk through the serious issues. If communication stops, the marriage suffocates because communication is the oxygen of marriage. A key to marriage is not agreeing on every issue, but it is communicating about every issue—feeling heard, understood, and having the ability to re-approach the topic if conditions change. Where communication is present, problems can be solved.

5. Both parties. This is the most heartbreaking of the requirements for a marriage to work. It always takes two people to make it work, but just one spouse can end a marriage. No matter how much effort is put into the marriage, if one of the spouse’s chooses to end the marriage, the marriage will end. It is impossible for one spouse to take up the slack and do the work for another spouse. Each must be fully involved to save your marriage.

There is great hope for hurting marriages. If both parties are willing to do the work necessary, communicate, give and receive mercy, respect one another, and have humility, you can save your marriage. It’s rarely easy. It’s always more work than expected. But I’ve never known a single couple who did the work necessary who later regretted it.

For more, see:

8 Questions to ask regarding your marriage

13 Responses to 5 Keys to Save Your Marriage
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