You can’t change your spouse.
So what do you do if your marriage is in a desperate place?
Many couples believe there are only two choices: “I can stay here and be miserable for the rest of my life, or I can get out of this and hope that I’ll find happiness somewhere else down the line.”
Dr. Gary Chapman says that’s a myth. There’s a third option: “With God’s help and with godly counsel from others, I can choose to positively influence my marriage in such a way that it creates the greatest possibility for my spouse to choose to change their behavior.”
The idea that you can change your spouse is a myth. But you can influence them. You already do – either for good or for bad – every single day. If you take the right approach, you can become intentional about positively influencing your spouse. You can influence your spouse to change.
We’ll tell you how on our Focus on the Family Broadcast “Finding Hope for Your Desperate Marriage.”
One of the ideas Dr. Chapman talks about with his clients and his readers is the myth of criticism. When you criticize your spouse, you’re actually reinforcing the behavior you’re hoping to change. Condemnation pushes your spouse away and obscures what’s important to you.
Words of affirmation, on the other hand, will connect you, open your hearts to each other, and bring synergy to your needs, desires, and expectations as a couple.
Dr. Chapman will dispel other marriage myths as well, such as “My environment determines my state of mind,” or “My spouse determines my well-being.”
Dr. Chapman is no stranger to us here at Focus on the Family. We love having him on the program, and I know you’ve been encouraged by him in some way over the years.
He speaks fom experience when he says that no marriage is beyond hope and restoration, no matter how desperate the situation. He examines different marital situations from irresponsibility, workaholism, and depression to control, addiction, infidelity, domestic violence, and abuse. He offers practical help and hope that, with God’s help, you can have a strong, healthy marriage.
If your marriage is struggling and you need help to get it back on track, we have counselors available on staff to give you an initial consultation, then refer you to someone in your local area. Call 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459).
And for those of you who feel like walking away from your marriage, call us for information regarding our Hope Restored marriage intensives. Hope Restored has helped many couples work through challenging circumstances – even those who have already signed divorce papers!
God is working through these intensive sessions to change marriages for the better. In fact, in follow-up surveys, 80 percent of couples are still married two years after their Hope Restored experience. The number for Hope Restored is 1-866-875-2915, or visit online.
Before I close, remember that it’s through your generous gifts that Focus on the Family can save marriages, babies, and families. Right now for pledging a monthly gift of any amount, we’ll send you a copy of Dr. Chapman’s book Loving Your Spouse When You Feel Like Walking Away as our way of saying thank you. And if you can’t commit to a monthly contribution, we’ll send the book to you for a one-time gift.
Thank you for your support.