A broken marriage doesn’t have to end in divorce. You can restore it and make it new again. And while there’s no cookie-cutter answer for exactly how you do that, there is one essential ingredient for restoration.
Without Him, you may be able to fix your marriage. You may even be able to stay together. But if you only fix your broken marriage instead of letting God restore it, it will still have weaknesses and imperfections. These vulnerabilities can be exploited, destroying your relationship once again.
Restore your broken marriage
Restoration means bringing your broken marriage back to its original form. God will make it new again. He’s the only one who can. Believe it.
God will do it, but not without your full participation.
Once you believe that God is ready to restore, you need to begin acting like someone who knows that their God can completely rebuild their marriage. It then comes down to how you focus your thoughts, the intentionality in your actions, and your level of commitment.
It takes a mindset of patience and optimism to get you through the waiting process. It’s how you react in the waiting time that determines if your marriage can succeed or not. Notice what you are saying to yourself. What are you speaking into your marriage, life or death?
If you believe your marriage can change for the better, you’re right.
If you believe your marriage can’t change, you’re also right.
Change your thoughts
So can you really change the way you think about your marriage? Yes. Renewing your mind is both Biblically based and scientifically proven.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2
God says this because He knows we are capable of changing how we think. He designed the human brain, and He knows exactly how they work.
Neuroplasticity, the ability of your brain to physically change those pathways, proves this biblical principle. Our brains can break connections between neurons and create new connections.
The experiences you’ve had since you were a tiny baby created the pathways that connect the neurons in your brain. Throughout your life, your experiences program your brain. It learns to react to certain events with specific thoughts, emotions, and actions. The more often those events happen, the stronger the connection, and the stronger the habit.
Every moment of your marriage has created pathways in your brain that determine how you will react in certain situations. After years of repeated patterns, these habits can be hard to break, but not impossible.
You can eliminate the negative thoughts and rewire your brain to react more positively to situations in your life. But it takes focus, intentionality, and commitment. It won’t happen overnight.
It starts with an awareness of the thoughts you are having and how you are reacting to them. You may not be able to stop the thoughts from coming, but you don’t have to let them control you. It’s like trying to prevent birds from flying over your head. You can’t stop that, but you don’t have to let them make a nest in your hair.
When you have thoughts about your spouse that make you obsess over your spouse’s shortcomings, those thoughts are not from God. Neither are thoughts that compare your spouse or your marriage to someone else’s. If your thoughts confuse, discourage, or condemn, those thoughts should be taken captive.
Turn those thoughts around. God wants your thoughts about your marriage to be encouraging, comforting, calming, and uplifting. Think of your spouse the same way He does.
There are some things you can do to help you change your focus from discouragement to optimism concerning your marriage.
Stop holding grudges. Accept responsibility for your part in your broken marriage struggles. All marriages have an ebb and flow, and just because things are tough right now doesn’t mean it won’t get better.
Changing the focus of your thoughts requires different input. Listen to worship music instead of secular music that goes against scripture. Spend more time in the Bible and less time with technology. Recognize your thoughts as coming from God or the devil.
Here are some scriptures to focus on:
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:7
Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. Proverbs 28:13
“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” Mark 11:25
The findings are the latest in a new line of thinking that suggests that behavior can lead to emotions as much as the other way around.
So as you work on taking your thoughts captive, it’s time to start living those thoughts out.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Fake it till you make it.” The premise is that if you act like you are something or feel a certain way, you will actually start to become that person or feel like you want to feel.
There is research showing that intentionally acting “as if” can bring out a better you.
Faking happiness by smiling, will cause you to become a little happier. At least 138 scientific studies are showing that it’s true. It happens because your facial muscles send a message to your brain, signaling happiness.
If you want to feel more confident, try standing straight with your shoulders back. This posture shows strength. People around you will recognize the attitude and begin treating you like someone with something important to say. The more you get this feedback from others, the more you will actually become confident.
This “fake it til you make it” theory works in relationships as well. A study was conducted on young adults looking for love in a sort of speed dating environment. Some participants were instructed to act like they were already in love with the person they were talking with by doing such things as leaning in to listen, holding hands, and sharing secrets.
Of those who acted like they were already in love with the person, 45% wanted to see one another again. Only 20% of those who didn’t behave that way were interested in pursuing a relationship. They were more than twice as likely to have a connection.
If that happens with strangers, imagine the impact it can have on your broken marriage.
If you could be the best spouse, what would that look like? What would you do? How would you behave toward your spouse, and how would you think about them.
Try acting like that.
“Fake it ’til you make it” is not putting on a fake show so that other people see you and think how wonderful you are. It’s all about making an internal change and renewing your mind by thinking about how God wants you to act as a spouse.
You can change your focus and act intentionally, but for it to be effective, you can’t give up. It takes more than a few hours to make a change. You’ve most likely created these thoughts and behaviors over a long period of time.
Science shows that it takes at least 21 days for your brain to start recognizing that you are having new reactions to your spouse and turn those into automatic responses instead of relying on the old habits that have programmed in your brain for many years.
Twenty-one days is the tipping point. It’s when making these changes will begin to get easier. However, it takes about 63 days to change the thought patterns entirely.
It takes commitment. You have to go into it knowing that it won’t be an overnight process, and it won’t be easy. But the rewards at the end of these couple months will be worth it.
If you want to feel like you love your spouse, act like you love your spouse. Behave like the spouse God wants you to be.
To have the most success, start small. Don’t try and revamp your entire marriage in one shot. You’ll find it too difficult to stay with it and give up before the effects genuinely make a difference.
Ideas to fix your broken marriage
So once you decide to make these changes in your mindset and honestly believe that God can and will restore your marriage, it’s time to do your part.
What kinds of things can you try?
Try watching a couple that you believe have a great marriage. How do they interact? Find one thing they do and try to integrate it into your relationship.
Try Touch and Talk. When you and your spouse are having a conversation, touch their hand or leg as you listen. The physical connection can enhance your emotions for your spouse.
Smile at them, give them a hug and a kiss before work, flirt a little. In other words, treat them like you did when you were dating.
So, don’t give up on your marriage just yet. You can make changes that will make your marriage more fulfilling and less frustrating with a new focus, intentional thinking, and commitment to making it work!
Do you have someone who you can model your marriage after? If you don’t we’d love to meet that need. Get a free 30-minute coaching call with us to get started and put your marriage on the road to full restoration.