Is Your Marriage Falling Apart?
October 1, 2001
by David Clarke
It was my first session with a young married couple. Married a little more than 10 years, they had two healthy kids, good jobs and a nice house. What they didn't have, however, was any love left in their marriage.
The sad story they told me is the same story that I've heard from thousands of couples: "We met, fell in love and married. The first few years were great. But then things seemed to change. Maybe it was the kids, our jobs and the hectic pace of life. Our passion drained away. We just kept drifting apart, leading lives that became increasingly separate. Now we don't have much feeling for one another. We're not in love anymore."
What makes this story especially tragic is that this was a Christian couple. Both partners knew Jesus Christ personally. Both attended church regularly and held leadership positions. Their marriage looked good from the outside. No one would have guessed that their love had run dry.
Does this story sound familiar? Is your marriage falling apart? Has your love, once so alive and intense, died? If so, God has a message of hope and healing for you and your spouse.
Human Love Runs Out of Gas
You need to understand that every married couple's love dies. Every single one! The initial tankful of physical passion and emotional intimacy that fuels every marriage runs dry. Human love, powered by human strength, simply cannot carry your marriage for 40 or 50 years.
Lasting Love Comes From God
Since, in your own power, you can't love each other for long, what can you do? God has provided the answer: "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love."(1)
God is love, and all true love comes from Him. Only God can give you an intimate, passionate and permanent love.
Bond Spiritually As a Couple
How do you love with God's help, in His power? In Genesis, God has told us how: "For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh."(2)
"One flesh" means a complete coming together of a man and a woman in three areas: physically, emotionally and spiritually. It is spiritual intimacy that drives the "one flesh" relationship. Spiritual intimacy is how you tap the power of God and put it to work in marriage.
If you want to love each other with God's love, you need to be connected to Him as a couple. The secret to breathing new life into dead love is to become one flesh, spiritually. This is spiritual bonding. It is consistently placing God at the center of your relationship and as a couple growing closer to Him.
"When you are unable to love your partner anymore and your marriage is falling apart, you need to rely on God to do the loving."
When you bond spiritually, it is no longer the two of you doing the loving. It is God Himself doing the loving. When you are unable to love your partner anymore and your marriage is falling apart, you need to rely on God to do the loving. He will love your partner through you.
If you have a non-Christian spouse, then you need to model a vibrant, healthy Christian life, following 1 Peter 3:1-7. The closer you are to God, the more deeply and unconditionally you can love your spouse. God's love, working through you, will make a great difference in your marriage.
Start Praying Together—Now
One of the most powerful and effective ways to bond spiritually is to pray together. And the best time to start praying is right now—when you're in the middle of a marital crisis. Praying with your spouse may be the last thing you feel like doing. Don't wait until you feel like it. That time may never come, and your marriage could end. Just do it. Act on faith.
If you're in a crisis, I urge you to see a Christian therapist, one who is licensed. And you need to involve God in the healing process by praying together. When you pray together, God will give you hope. When you pray together, God will give you the power to do the hard work needed for healing: express past resentments and forgive, learn to communicate and resolve conflicts, discover how to meet needs and to bring romance and physical passion back into your marriage.
First, schedule three 10-minute prayer times each week. Second, choose one special place in your house to pray. It needs to be private and quiet. Third, hold hands when you pray. Fourth, pray out loud. Fifth, take turns praying specifically for your marriage.
Be honest. Be open. Don't be afraid to let your pain and your emotions show. Don't criticize your spouse. Tell God what you have done wrong in the marriage, and ask God to help you change. As gently as you can, bring up the behaviors that your spouse has done that have hurt you. Ask God to help you forgive.
Your prayer times at first may seem awkward and superficial. But as you continue praying together, the walls will come down. You will be closer to each other—and to God—than you have ever been.
Remember the couple I described earlier? They decided that they would pray together, and God has given them a new relationship filled with love and passion.
Does your marriage need a miracle? Pray together.
(1) 1 John 4:7-8, NASB. (2) Genesis 2:24, NASB.