When the Marriage Won’t Move Past Step One

I once wrote this a post about three questions I use when marriages are in trouble. These are progressive questions and it’s vital they be answered in order.

The three questions are simple:

  1. Where do you want this marriage to go?
  2. How are you going to get there?
  3. Are you willing to pay the price?

You can read that full post HERE.

These sound like simple questions, but for a marriage in trouble they are very difficult to answer. One problem I see is that couples try to address questions 2 and 3 before answering question number 1. It almost never works.

Let me give you an example…this is about as real an example as I can offer, because I’ve seen the exact scenario dozens of times:

A wife decides she has had enough and announces she’s done with the marriage. This kicks the husband into action…he’s been clueless until now that there was a problem…and so he does everything he knows how to save the marriage…he begs…he agrees to counseling…he starts reading books…he talks to the pastor…he makes suggested changes…etc…etc….etc…

The problem is that none of those actions change the wife’s decision not to stay and the man grows frustrated.  He thinks he’s done everything ask of him, so he’s tempted to give up…revert back to his old ways…and nothing changes…she grows even more frustrated…and the marriage never improves.

Why? Because question number 1 was never answered.  The wife (or husband as the case may be) never decided what she really wants from the marriage.  Until she (or he) does, every action is just a bandaid on the real wound.  When a wife (or husband) decides she wants the marriage to work, she will be willing to make the necessary adjustments to get there.

Have you ever been stuck at step one?  Do you see why the other steps won’t work until you answer the first?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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3 thoughts on “When the Marriage Won’t Move Past Step One

  1. Kind of sounds like me and my marriage. The first part of your example was pretty spot on. I knew there was a problem, didn't know who's problem it was or the cause or what to do about it. I was failing to love my wife and she was failing to respect me. All of that was balled up in a poor relationship with God, although at the time I just "knew" that he was testing me or failing me or something…right … it was more me failing him.

    Anyway my wife does kick me into gear by starting to talk about separation. The place where my story differs is that I have not returned to the old ways and I strive every day to fully humble myself to obey Him and to humble myself before my wife as a servant… a husband. I love her unconditionally every day.

    I can fully answer Question #1. I want God to heal this marriage and to grow it into something so much better than it ever was. #2; I'm trying to get there by presenting every day to my wife a consistent picture of a loving husband/servant/provider/protector. #3; I think that I have shown that I am willing to pay the price as I love her unconditionally every day, even though I do not get that affection or mindset or heart back from her in any way.

    Right now that's the main sticking point. She doesn't see the need to follow scriptural mandates on the wife's role in marriage, she doesn't want to trust that this new man is real (even though he's been around for almost two years now), and she still thinks that separation might be the trigger that pulls it together for her.