Do you feel like your marriage is so far gone that even counseling won't work?
Well, we have three questions for you that we ask every couple who comes to us for marriage counseling. We use these three questions as our qualifiers to determine if we can successfully counsel them or not.
It doesn't matter what the couple is coming to counseling for, the only thing that matters is can this couple answer yes to these three simple questions? If they can, then we can properly counsel them. It may take time, but their marriage can be saved.
Question #1: Do You Love Each Other?
It sounds like a simple question, but you'd be surprised how many couples don't say "I love you" that are quick to give up on the marriage.
1 Corinthians 13:8 tells us that love never ends. Sure, we go through challenges but when we take an oath to enter a convent relationship, there should be nothing that causes us to love each other less.
Our marriage is supposed to be a reflection of Christ and the Church. Christ does not fall out of love with us when we mess up. So, why should we fall out of love with each other?
As mad as you are with your spouse, or even unhappy with them at this very moment, if there's still love in your heart for them, then there is hope.
Question #2: Do You Want This Marriage To Work?
The unhappy marriages we see, or even those that end up in divorce, usually occur because one or both spouses have no desire to want the marriage to work. As a result, they don't participate in doing what it takes.
If you desire for your marriage to work, that means you are prepared to do whatever it takes. You are prepared to do your part by doing what God expects of you, instead of what you feel like doing.
The reality of this question is most seen in couples who have had the same problems for years. It is usually because someone is not willing to lay down their way of doing things to make the changes necessary for the marriage to work.
Marriage is not about each person giving 50 percent of their effort. No! It's about each person giving 100 percent of their effort.
Question #3: Is The Bible The Final Authority In Your Marriage?
What do we mean by that?
Well, if a couple is coming to us for counsel, since we are believers, our counsel can only come from the Bible. So if a couple does not make the Bible the final authority and has no desire to, then we are unable to move forward.
This does not mean a couple cannot continue seeking counsel somewhere else. It just means we are not able to counsel them, as we cannot successfully counsel them without pointing them to the Word of God.
However, if the answer is yes, then praise God! No matter how bad you think your marriage is, there is hope for your marriage. Especially if both spouses can honestly answer, "Yes, I love my spouse," "Yes, I want this marriage to work," and "Yes, the Bible is the final authority."
Now there is an exception to this rule. If a couple admits that the Bible is not the final authority, but they want it to be, then this is a couple we can work with. This means that they recognize that they are not living their marriage or treating each other the way they are supposed to according to the Word - but they want to. And this shows us that this couple is ready to do what it takes to make the marriage work.
If you're walking through some challenges in your marriage, we encourage you to ask yourself these three questions.
Remember love never fails; NEVER! Regardless of wrongdoing, hurt or disappointments, when we choose to walk in love, God's love, we will find the strength to endure until the end.
"Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate." ~ Mark 10:9 (NKJV)
Editor's note: This article was originally published on Living Our Priorities. It has been republished here with permission.