In my many years of counseling couples, I have seen my share of dysfunctional marriages. After I have heard the story of what is wrong with the marriage from the husband and wife—I try to chart a course toward healing. Every couple that comes to counseling comes with hurt, and from that hurt they have built up resentment toward each other. They have stopped forgiving and reaching out in love and have chosen to live in a critical environment of contempt. Instead of living in an atmosphere of love and forgiveness, they survive in the barren wasteland of resentment and bitterness.
This bitter cycle of dysfunction compels them to be stingy with their love and drag those grudges around every day. They tear each other down in constant strife and discord. They both are sick to death of each other and do not enjoy living together. Their children are being exposed to dangerous elements of conflict that are setting the tone for their future.
Marriage was meant to be two people living together in harmony. They know they are both flawed, so they are willing to forgive each other. They show kindness in little ways that bring happiness to both of them. When one suffers—the other shares that suffering. When one experiences joy, the other shares that pleasure; they both find ways to build each other up and encourage each other. When one is wrong, he or she does not keep track of the wrong but continues to hope for the best for the other. When a marriage works, it is the most significant relationship on the face of the earth. It produces mutual satisfaction and companionship. When it doesn’t work, it is a sad place to be. The work and effort to turn a broken marriage around is difficult, and most of all, it requires work and effort. Each person has to be willing to look at himself or herself and see what they need to change. Each has to be ready to listen to the other and see past their agenda. God is more than willing to help couples find happiness in marriage, but they have to ask for his help and then persevere in the quest to change from bad to better. The journey from a bad marriage to a good marriage is worth the journey!