When I first met Kathy and Dan (not their real names) Dan was living with another woman in an open, and blatant affair…
“Help me save this marriage pastor,” she begged. She had been praying for and trying to work things out with her husband for at least a year before we spoke. Kathy was amazing in that most women would have walked away. She wanted to save the marriage and their family despite her husband’s obvious excesses.
What does a counselor/mentor do in such circumstances?
I don’t know that there’s an easy answer to that question, but I DO believe that even these kinds of marriages can be saved. Unfortunately, many counselors just listen and empathize without giving much if any practical advice.
In Dan and Kathy’s case, I spent time with Dan and learned that he needed to do some spiritual healing based on some pretty severe emotional wounds. We did something called “Steps to Freedom in Christ” by Dr. Neil Anderson. He was able to forgive his father, forgive Kathy for some of her mistakes in their relationship, and then seek forgiveness after walking away from the adulterous relationship.
Today, if you were to meet Dan and Kathy, you’d never believe they had ever had a problem. They love each other deeply and spend a lot of time laughing and serving together in their church. Their kids are happy–it’s really an amazing story.
So how does this kind of miracle turn-around occur and how might it happen for you?
- Don’t give up. Kathy’s commitment led to Dan’s and together they were relentless about rebuilding their relationship. I’m convinced that two people who are committed to healing and growth can will have a successful marriage.
- Seek spiritual healing individually as well as collectively. Too often, we want to tackle the obvious physical problem and thus miss the underlying issues. Forgiveness was the key for Dan and Kathy. God led them to it and the rest was/is history.
- Learn your spouse’s love language, personality, and motivation. Also seek to understand the basic difference in primary needs expressed by most men versus most women (See Ephesians 5:33).
- Most importantly, know and focus on the real reason for marriage. I cover this in detail in my book “The Crucified Couple,” but suffice it to say that the real purpose for marriage is bigger and more powerful than meeting your needs or your spouses. I would argue that a good marriage demonstrates the unity and perfect balance of the Godhead (Genesis 1:26 and 2:24). I would also argue that it pictures Christ and His Church (Ephesians 5:32).
If you’d like to speak with someone about your marriage and see if you can experience what Dan and Kathy did, please click this link and send us an email. It would be our pleasure to serve you.