I know I’m not the only one who realizes, usually too late, that I’ve blown it in my marriage. For me it’s usually because of something I said. We highly verbal people find our foot squarely in our mouth sometimes! What failure has happened in your marriage? Where have you blown it? Maybe your failure is allowing your anger to get out of control. Maybe you drink too much. Maybe your wife just discovered porn on your computer…again. Maybe your husband just discovered the old flame you’ve been flirting with on Facebook. Maybe you totally forgot to fulfill a promise. Maybe you have intentionally withheld sexual intimacy from your spouse. Maybe you criticized one too many times.
Those are the bad days of marriage. No one enjoys failure like that. I have found that most people who blow it in marriage genuinely want to make things right again; however, they just aren’t sure what to do. So, here’s my guide to overcoming failure in your marriage.
Step 1. Admit
You must admit that you have done wrong. This is what the Bible calls confession. This means admitting it to God first and your spouse second. Every sin we commit is first and foremost a sin against God. You don’t get better until you admit you were wrong. Either face to face or in a hand-written letter, admit your failure to your spouse. Own it. Take responsibility. When you do so, you pave the way for your spouse to forgive and trust you again.
Step 2. Agree
Agree with God about your sin. This is how you gain a God-orientation in your marriage. You need to see your actions in light of God’s truth, not just in light of your spouse’s opinion. Agreeing with God may require you to seek His word and learn what His standards are for relationships. It is this agreement that prepares you for the needed changes that come next.
Step 3. Amend
Making amends is famously known as “step 9” in recovery circles. It’s a powerful way to repair some of the damage from your failures. In marriage it means taking active steps to correct bad patterns, habits, attitudes and actions that contributed to the harm done. The Bible calls this repentance. Repentance is a change in heart, mind and direction from your way to God’s way. When you blow it, you must correct the behavior and show your spouse that you are more than talk, you are serious about changing. You can’t always fix the past, but you can ALWAYS make different choices in the future.
Step 4. Accept
You must accept the reality of God’s forgiveness and the reality of consequences at the same time. So many people want forgiveness to be the divine eraser of the consequences from all their poor choices. The truth is, you may have to live with the consequences of your choices; however, God has promised to forgive no matter what.
Step 5. Advance
Move forward. With the confidence of God’s forgiveness, you can move forward. Dwelling on your failure and living in defeat is NOT God’s plan for you and frankly, it makes you a lousy person to live with! The greets evidence that you are a changed person is the positive steps you take after the failure.
We all fail in marriage, maybe your failure can be a key opportunity to grow in your faith and in your marriage!