One of the most common questions we get when we are speaking with or coaching couples is: “What was the most important thing you did to restore your marriage?”
Most of the time, people don’t agree with Trisha’s answer. Almost all the time they don’t like her answer. She will tell you the most pivotal and most difficult decision she made that lead to our restoration was packing up my things and kicking me out.
There are marriage principles that are true for all marriages; and then there are marriage principles that are different for every couple based on their circumstances, history and situation. While we believe in separation for the purpose of reconciliation, we know it isn’t the right choice for everyone. But here is the principle that applies to every marriage: Trisha couldn’t talk me into choosing her.
This is the most counter-intuitive principle, but it can literally save your marriage if you will absorb it.
You can’t talk him into telling the truth
You can’t talk her into not chatting with that guy on Facebook
You can’t talk him into not watching porn
You can’t win him back by begging him to come back
You can’t win her over by walking on egg shells and trying to be perfect
You can’t talk him into not texting her again
You can’t talk her into loving you
You can’t talk him into being committed to you or your marriage
When our marriage is drifting; when our marriage is disconnected; when our marriage is falling apart; when our spouse has had an affair; our natural instinct is to think: If I beg him, he’ll stay. If I’m a perfect husband, she’ll fall back in love with me. If I can convince him how much I love him, then he’ll choose me over pornography.
The problem is we can talk our spouse into a behavioral change, but we can’t talk them into heart transformation. Who wants to be in a marriage that they have been talked into? Who wants to be in a relationship that they’ve manipulated their spouse into staying or loving or being committed to?
Talking them into it:
Delays the brokenness they need to change their heart
Allows them to focus on you and not on their choices, dysfunction or sin
Gives you a false sense of hope that things will be different
Places you in a parental, supervisor or investigator role that you were never meant to have
Leads you to the same place in 3 weeks, 3 months or 3 years from now
If you are at a place in your marriage where you are trying to change your spouse’s behavior by talking them into it…my advice is stop. Take a step back and reconnect with God. Begin to pursue the person you know God is calling you to be, and allow God to be God for your spouse. You can’t talk them into repentance. You can’t talk them into commitment. You can’t talk them into integrity.
Only God can do that.
Allow Him to do what only He can.
It will be the most difficult thing you will do. But, it could be the most important thing you will do.