The following are Web Site Links and descriptions of resources that prayerfully will help you save your marriage from getting worse and help to improve your marital relationship:
• Faithandmarriage.com This is a ministry, as they describe, that is “dedicated to providing the encouragement and support needed when you’re standing for marriage restoration. Even if you are already divorced, or the only one who wants to save your marriage, we know that through the love, power and grace of Jesus Christ, the restoration of your marriage is NOT hopeless or impossible, even after years of separation or divorce.”
• Focusministries1.org, with co-founders and Brenda Branson Paula Silva. This is a not-for-profit organization devoted to offer hope, encouragement, education, and assistance to women who are struggling in difficult circumstances, including spousal abuse. With offices in Illinois and Kentucky, FOCUS Ministries provides help for women suffering the horror of domestic violence and for those who want to help. You can contact them at: FOCUS Ministries P. O. Box 2014, Elmhurst, Illinois 60126 Phone: (630) 595-7023 or FOCUS Ministries, P. O. Box 323, Hanson, Kentucky 42413. Phone: (270) 825-2423. If this is not an emergency and you would like to reach FOCUS Ministries, you may contact them through their web site or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• FOCUS ON THE FAMILY COUNSELOR REFERRALS: Focusonthefamily.com has developed a nationwide Christian referral system. As they say on their web site, “our counseling staff would be happy to speak with you and recommend any counselors available in your geographic area.” If you live in the U.S. you can do the following: “To speak with a counselors’ assistant and receive a referral to a counselor in your area, please call (719) 531-3400 from 9-4:30 (Mountain Time) Monday through Friday, and ask for the Counseling department.
For an online referral, please fill out a referral request form and submit it to our staff. They will be in touch with you in as timely a manner as possible. Unfortunately, we do not have area counselor referrals outside of North America.” However, they DO have web sites for a variety of other countries such as Australia, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Ireland, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, and Taiwan, which may be able to direct you to counselors in your area when you contact them. To find a link, which will take you to one of their international web sites, you can go to the Focus on the Family Focusonthefamily.com web site and scroll down to the bottom of their Home Page and then select the flag that represents the web site for the country you are looking for.
• Inverseministries.org This is a ministry with Clint and Penny Bragg, who remarried after an eleven-year divorce. Through the work of Inverse Ministries, Clint and Penny share their testimony of reconciliation and have written several publications to challenge believers to be reconciled to God, then to one another. Their story of reconciliation has been featured on CBN’s The 700 Club, RBC Ministries Words to Live By Radio Program, and Christianity Today’s Marriage Partnership Magazine. They currently serve as leaders for The Association of Marriage and Family’s (AMFM) Reconciling Troubled Marriages Ministry Team as well as being an active part of the Ask the ExpertsPanel of Christianity Today’s BuildingChurchLeaders.com. “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:18)
• Marriage911Godsway If your marriage is in crisis, especially with an unwilling spouse, The International Center for Reconciling God’s Way Ministry and their Marriage 911 First Aid Kit could provide what you need. There are three focal points: 1. To provide support and accountability for someone whose marriage is in crisis, even with an unwilling spouse. 2. To equip pastors and lay leaders with tools, materials, and training for these couples in order to come alongside them in a way that will help all those involved to avoid the two most common mistakes: rescuing and burning out, or avoidance —for lack of knowing what to do. 3. To help the Christian community be prepared for a “first response” to someone whose marriage is in crisis.
• Marriagebuilders.com. This web site has so many wonderful helps for those who are experiencing trouble in their marriages. You’ll find links to hundreds of articles that will guide you through an understanding of how to build and maintain a mutually enjoyable marriage including a huge section on recovery from INFIDELITY. Founded by Willard Harley, PhD, author of “His Needs, Her Needs,” Marriage Builders is an organization devoted to helping couples learn how to fall in love and stay in love… forever and how to recover if your marriage gets off track.
• Marriagefriendlytherapists.com, which is the web site for the National Registry for Marriage-Friendly Therapists. Although this is not a Christian web site, it is one that we believe can be very helpful. Their “mission” is to “help marriages by linking couples with the most highly qualified therapists in the country. As they say, which we believe to be true, “Right now it’s hard for couples to find a good therapist. Many therapists lack training and experience in marriage therapy, and some are lukewarm in supporting life-long commitment. The Registry only accepts therapists with many years of training and experience in marriage and couples therapy. These therapists value marriage and life-long commitment, and are dedicated to helping marriages succeed if at all possible.”
• NEW BEGINNING MARRIAGE SEMINAR, Family Dynamics Institute provides an intensive seminar for help with marriage problems. This seminar is for those whose marriages have been hurt by affairs or other major issue. Please click here for more information.
• Rejoiceministries.org is a ministry, which calls themselves “a spiritual trauma center for hurting marriages.” Their entire ministry, is designed to encourage and give hope to those who are standing in the gap believing God for a miracle in their marriages. They supply its reader’s more than 18 pages of testimonies of restored marriages and over 72 pages where you’re able to read individual letters of praise to God for answers to prayer and testimonies of God’s faithfulness through the various difficulties they’ve encountered in their marriages and families. You can read the testimonies and the stories of restored marriages by clicking into them from the side bar of the Home page of their web site.
• RETROUVAILLE (meaning, “rediscovery” and rhymes with pie), Retrouvaille.org. This is a program for couples with serious problems that are disillusioned, separated and/or on the brink of divorce. You’ll be helped by volunteer couples who have also “been to the brink” —who have experienced serious problems including affairs, alcoholism, gambling, violence, etc. or who have simply fallen out of love —but who have worked their way back. They’ll teach you how to fall back in love again and heal your own marriage and make it stronger than ever before.
This successful program (85% when both partners work at it) teaches simple techniques of communication and exercises to work on forgiveness, healing, and restoration of trust. The program begins with a weekend and includes 12 follow-up meetings over 3 months. These are not spiritual retreats, sensitivity groups, seminars or social gatherings — there are no counselors involved, and you don’t have to say anything in front of anyone else. Couples discuss the topics and practice the skills in private. It has a blank envelope-donation system and is open to couples of all faiths and to the non-religious. For those in the USA: to find a program in your area call, 800-470-2230.
• Savemymarriage.com You can find help and restoration for your marriage through A New Beginning seminar, which was developed by the Family Dynamics Institute, which is a nonprofit organization that works with marriages across the country (over 70,000 people in the USA alone). They have strategic alliances with therapists, counselors, psychiatrists, researchers, and authors to develop great tools for reviving distressed relationships. As they say, “We’re not miracle workers, but we’ve seen miracles worked with troubled marriages that appeared to be absolutely beyond repair. Some have called us “The Emergency Room for Couples in Trouble.” Others have called us “911 for Marriage.” We can’t make guarantees, but we know our track record and it’s amazingly good.”
• Thethirdoption.comThis is an organization based on reconciliation —a new beginning. Most hurting couples will say they’ve “tried everything” but what they usually mean is they’ve tried the same things over and over. In this group setting you’ll learn new ways to handle old problems. The Third Option isn’t counseling. It’s an educational and support group where you learn and encourage each other along the way. However, they recommend participants seek counseling when appropriate. The Third Option is a peer ministry and an educational program. It combines: a support group, “sharing” couples and workshops on relationship skills. The Third Option can be both a stepping-stone to counseling and an adjunct to it. It’s an ON-GOING program which gives couples a “place to go” in crisis or anytime. It works well in conjunction with weekend experiences.
• A LASTING PROMISE … A Christian Guide to Fighting for Your Marriage -by Scott Stanley, Daniel Trathen, Savanna McCain, and Milt Bryan, published by Jossey Bass Publishers. This book is highly recommended by Gary Smalley as being one of the best books he’s found to help married couples. It’s based on sound research that shows why married couples separate and how to help them stay together in a loving way. The data from this research differentiates those who do well over time from those who don’t with 80-91% accuracy up to 12 years later. This book focuses on practical action and gives solid tools couples can use to make their marriage stronger, happier, and lifelong. The techniques in this book are for any couple— from the newly engaged to long-time married couples who want to solve problems or prevent them.
• BECAUSE I SAID FOREVER -by Deb Kalmbach and Heather Kopp, published by Multnomah Publishers. This book is by far one of my (Cindy’s) favorite books on the subject of marriage addressed specifically to women. It’s a compilation of true testimonies on various subjects of marriage lived out by different women who have and are living through some really tough situations and yet God has helped them to live victoriously despite the difficulties. As one of the authors, Deb Kalmbach points out, “Although the church discourages divorces, a recent study by George Barna indicates that Christian marriages don’t fail as often as secular marriage—they fail more! …I believe one reason is that too often the Christian wife who finds herself in a hard marriage imagines she has only two courses: gutting it out miserably but putting on a happy face or leaving the marriage feeling guilty and condemned. This book says there’s another way. The reflections you read here will affirm your decision to stay in your marriage. But they will also offer you encouragement and help for moving beyond simply enduring a bad marriage.”
• BEFORE A BAD GOODBYE… How to Turn Your Marriage Around -by Dr Tim Clinton, published by Thomas Nelson Publishing. This book is especially for couples at the breaking point, showing that there’s a 3rd choice outside of divorce or a marriage in name only: reconciliation. Dr Clinton is a licensed marriage and family therapist, an ordained minister and president of the American Association of Christian Counseling. This book is excellent if you’re trying to reclaim a love that has nearly slipped through your fingers. It has spiritual encouragements, cognitive tools, and practical behavioral suggestions. It teaches you how to build (or rebuild) a foundation one brick at a time and is “must-reading” for a divorce-minded culture.”
• CAN MY MARRIAGE BE SAVED? True Stories of Saved Marriages -compiled by Mae Chambers and Erica Chambers, published by Pass It On Publications. This book is filled with more than twenty stories of couples whose marriages were restored, even after being deemed hopeless by their friends, family, counselors, and even pastors! Each of these couples overcame devastating circumstances such as adultery, sexual addiction, clinical depression, bankruptcy, substance abuse, and the loss of their children. The true stories in this book offer hope for any troubled marriage. And the ministries listed at the end of each story can provide help for hurting couples in even the most desperate circumstances. The ministry’s contact information is listed at the end of each story and the back of the book contains a detailed marriage help resource guide.
• CHOOSING TO CHEAT- Who Wins When Family and Work Collide, by Andy Stanley, published by Multnomah Publishers. This book presents a strategic plan for resolving the tension between work and home. You’ll find ways to deal with the busyness that wreaks havoc with the relationships you consider most important. As Dr John Maxwell says about this book [which we agree]: “This is a life-changing book and extremely relevant to our modern way of life. Author Andy Stanley confronts us with truth and transparency. Just as he had made a commitment in his own life to balance his family time with his work, he encourages us to make similar commitments. One of the main reasons it is life changing is because a godly man who makes choices in his own life to never sacrifice his family for success has written it. If he wins the world but loses his family, what has he gained? Every couple, every parent, and every leader needs to read this book and consider the question: Who wins when my family and work collide?”
• FIGHTING FOR YOUR MARRIAGE…Positive Steps for Preventing Divorce and Preserving a Lasting Love -by Howard Markman, Scott Stanley, and Susan Blumberg, published by Jossey -Bass Publishers. This is a “down-to-earth, user-friendly, occasionally humorous advice to couples engaged in the emotional taffy pull of living together.” This book helps you and your partner to master the skills that can prevent marital distress and divorce and teaches such skills as listening without criticizing or interrupting, setting ground rules for discussion, and scheduling meetings to talk about issues calmly.
• HIGH-MAINTENANCE RELATIONSHIPS … How to Handle Impossible People -written by Dr Les Parrott, published by Tyndale House Publishers. Even though this book is written for all types of high-maintenance relationships (including boss, neighbor, friend, and relative) it would be great for those who have a spouse who is their “High-maintenance” person in their life. The different personalities that are dealt with are: The Critic, Martyr, Wet Blanket, Steamroller, Gossip, Control Freak, Backstabber, Cold Shoulder, Green-eyed Monster, Volcano, Sponge, Competitor, Workhorse, Flirt, and the Chameleon. Each chapter not only describes the difficult types of personalities and how to recognize them, it also gives advice on how to understand, cope with, and lovingly deal with them.
• HOPE FOR THE SEPARATED… Wounded Marriages Can Be Healed -by Gary Chapman, published by Moody Press. If you’re separated, you may not feel like reconciling. You may not see hope for a reunion. But through small, simple steps, Dr. Chapman shows that you may be able to achieve reconciliation with your mate. He deals with the question of dating while separated, how to relate to your children during this time, and ways to improve communication. Assignments are given to encourage growth both as individuals and as a couple. It’s a practical book for both the separated husband and wife.
• HOW TO ACT RIGHT WHEN YOUR SPOUSE ACTS WRONG -By Leslie Vernick, published by WaterBrook Press. The aim of this book is to help you to restore a sense of power in ways that you feel powerless. Leslie helps you to walk through life pro-actively rather than reactively. She also helps you to see another side to your spouse’s action and see how God can help you to grow despite the negative situation. This book may or may not help you to have a satisfying marital relationship (because your spouse has a choice in how he/she acts in situations), however, it could lead you into a deeper relationship with Christ as you yield to His will and plan for your life.
• LOVE BUSTERS… Overcoming Habits That Destroy Romantic Love -by Willard Harley, published by Fleming Revell. In this book the author wonderfully addresses the questions: Are you losing the “chemistry” you once had? Is sex becoming a burden? Do you bring out the worst in each other? Are you arguing a lot more lately? Are you growing apart? With this insightful book you and your spouse can learn to avoid the 6 most common “Love Busters” that may have gained a foothold in your marriage: selfish demands, annoying habits, angry outbursts, disrespectful judgments, independent behavior, and dishonesty.
• LOVE MUST BE TOUGH… New Hope for Families in Crisis, by Dr James Dobson, published by Tyndale House Publishers. In this book, Dr. Dobson offers practical help for the spouse who wants to hold the marriage together. He shows how to rekindle romantic interest and draw the offending partner back home. This book is NO GUARANTEE that you will win your spouse or significant other back. But, like anything else, if you don’t do something you will more assuredly lose them anyway. Pray hard and read this book if you want to keep them. Learn to give them space.”
• LOVE & RESPECT – By Dr Emerson Eggerichs, a Focus on the Family Book, published by Integrity Publishers. This is a marriage book that makes a difference! It delivers a revolutionary message. People are saying about this book: “I’ve been married 35 years and have not heard this taught.” … “This is the key that I have been missing.” … “It caused a light bulb moment for me.” … “You connected all the dots for me.” This book reveals why spouses react negatively to each other, and how they can deal with such conflict quickly, easily and biblically. Based on over three decades of counseling, as well as scientific and biblical research, Dr. Emerson Eggerichs and his wife, Sarah, have already taken the “Love and Respect” message across America and are changing the way couples talk to, think about, and treat each other.
• Marriage Builders® Home Study Courses, Marriage Builders® Weekend, and Marriage Builders® Accountability Program. Dr Willard F. Harley Jr. offers these three major programs to those within the United States and guarantees them to turn terrible marriages into terrific marriages. To read an explanation, which describes each of these marriage enriching and marriage saving programs you can go to the following link we provide for their web site.
• RECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES… Healing for Troubled Marriages (Expanded Edition with Study Guide) -by Jim Talley, published by Thomas Nelson Publishers. This book shows why reconciliation is worth the effort and provides practical, biblical advice on how to resolve conflicts and develop a relationship based on mutual love, respect, and trust. As the author says, “The primary goal of reconciliation is to cause those who are angry, bitter, and hostile to be friendly again and bring back harmony, whether they’re already separated, divorced, or remarried.”
• STAYING CLOSE … Stopping the Natural Drift toward Isolation in Marriage -by Dennis Rainey, published by Thomas Nelson Publishing. Learn how to pull together instead of drift apart. This book provides a positive, workable strategy for keeping your marriage vital and intimate. Included are proven principles and hands-on exercises to help you to: understand the forces that isolate you, manage your schedules, workloads, roles, and responsibilities without losing sight of each other, allow for (and enjoy individual differences while maintaining unity, build an atmosphere of cooperation by meeting each other more than halfway, grow closer during hard times, and create a “safe” atmosphere to transparent communication.
• 10 LIFE SAVING PRINCIPLES FOR WOMEN IN DIFFICULT MARRIAGES– by Karla Downing, published by Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City. This book helps women overcome their sense of powerlessness by giving them tools to improve their marriage. It examines misconceptions about Scriptures that cause confusion and even pain, helping women recover their faith that God cares for them. Women will begin to focus on what they can do to change themselves, instead of trying over and over again to change their husbands. As they learn to set boundaries with their husbands, they will protect themselves and their children from the effects of the difficult marriage. One day at a time, their lives will begin to change and heal as they apply the information, insights, and principles to their individual situation. 10 Lifesaving Principles helps women: Re-examine their ideas about certain Christian scriptures and principles (for example, submission) Develop a support system of family, friends, and other women facing the same problems Set boundaries with their husbands to protect themselves and their children from the effects of the difficult marriage.
• The Emotionally Destructive Marriage: How to Find Your Voice and Reclaim Your Hope – written by Leslie Vernick, published by Waterbrook Press. This book is for any woman caught in an emotionally destructive marriage. In it, Leslie offers a personalized path forward. Based on decades of counseling experience, her intensely practical, biblical advice will show you how to establish boundaries and break free from emotional abuse. Learn to: – identify damaging behaviors – gain the skills to respond wisely – promote healthy change – stay safe – understand when, why, and even how to leave (if that’s necessary) – recognize that God sees and hates what is happening to you. This book comes HIGHLY recommended by many counselors.
• THE MARRIAGE MENDER…A Couple’s Guide for Staying Together -by Drs. Thomas Whiteman and Thomas Bartlett with Randy Petersen, published by NavPress. If you’re looking for a fresh start, this book will give you solution-based tools to begin rebuilding your marriage. It has illustrations and exercises that will teach you how to look to the future of your relationship instead of focusing on the past with its problems. You’ll learn how to build emotional safety, communicate more effectively with your spouse, resolve conflict creatively, fight fairly, and much more. As Stephen Arterburn says, “This book is a great tool for marriages that have everything going for them except the two people in them!” Your marriage is worth saving and The Marriage Mender will show you how.
• THE WALKOUT WOMAN …When Your Heart is Empty and Your Dreams are Lost -by Dr Steve Stephens and Alice Gray, published by Multnomah. This book is outstanding! It’s written for women who need practical, inspiring help to breathe new life into their marriages, which may seem hopeless. Concerning this book the authors say, “We pray that you will recognize the symptoms and dangers of becoming a walk-out woman and that you will realize that it is not a path to happiness. Opening your heart to your marriage again is indeed a risk, but we believe it’s a risk worth taking. We want to help you understand your husband better and show some ways you can encourage him to listen to your hurts and anger. We want to help you understand more about yourself as well —why you may have started “keeping score” and how you have built a wall around your heart. We’ll talk about realistic and unrealistic expectations and the dangers of creating a new fantasy with someone else. We’ll also give you strategies for taking care of yourself, getting connected again with your husband, resolving conflict, dealing with anger and loss, remembering the good times, and pressing closer to the Lord.”
• WHEN LOVES DIES… How to Save a Hopeless Marriage -by Judy Bodmer, published by Thomas Nelson Publishing. This is a refreshing, honest look at one woman’s journey to the edge of divorce, her commitment to stay even though she didn’t feel like it, and her eventual rediscovery of the love that she thought had died. Some of the subjects she discusses from her own experience are: You Don’t Know How Bad Things Are; You Don’t Know My Husband; I Can’t Forgive or Forget, I Can’t Change the Way I Feel; I had So Many Dreams; I Don’t Love Him; We Can’t Talk; I Feel So Angry; I Married the Wrong Man; I Don’t Want Him to Touch Me; I Don’t Feel Loved; and I Just Want to Be Happy.
• WHEN YOU CAN’T SAY “I FORGIVE YOU”… Breaking the Bonds of Anger and Hurt -by Dr Grace Ketterman and David Hazard, published by NavPress. Licensed physician Grace Ketterman shares her own shocking story of divorce, shame, and reconciliation. Through her gentle approach, compelling stories, and David’s teaching, you’ll discover the power to make it through the process of forgiveness —past the pain, and anger —toward a true change of heart.
• YES, YOUR MARRIAGE CAN BE SAVED -by Joe and Michelle Williams, published by Tyndale House Publishers. This is a Focus on the Family book, which gives “12 Truths for Rescuing Your Relationship.” Joe and Michelle Williams know first hand about saving a marriage —because theirs was saved. They were separated in 1987 (and close to divorce). As they say, “We were angry and confused. We were also left wondering where the ‘church’ was in our seemingly hopeless situation. Because we’d both experienced marriage and divorce in our pasts before we became committed Christians, we were determined to figure out a way to deal with our problems and avoid yet another failed marriage.” That started their search for resources and a healthy support system to help them. Since that time, they have reconciled, rebuilt their marital relationship and co-founded the International Center for Reconciling God’s Way, Inc. and eventually went into ministry full time. This book has developed as a result of the principles God has taught them —that they share with others.