Regrets! We all live with them. But when the regret you’re dealing with involves something as important as marriage —a commitment you entered into, which is supposed to last a lifetime, it can seem like you’re dealing with a life sentence, in the worst prison possible.
If you’ve come to the place in your thoughts and feelings where you believe you may have married the wrong person, you can feel panicky, trapped, depressed, and the list goes on.
“What have I done?”
“Have I ruined my life?
“What can I do now?”
These are all typical questions that are asked by many, many spouses. You certainly aren’t alone. But please try not to panic (beyond what you may have already experienced). Let go of the squeeze you may have on the panic button, or the “I don’t care at this point; I just want to be released” button, and consider a few things first.
Something that Thomas Whiteman and Thomas Bartlett write in the book “The Marriage Mender”) is important to note:
“Many people who divorce are surprised by the level of conflict in marriage, expecting the romantic stage to continue their whole lives. They fail to negotiate anything because they think they shouldn’t have to. As they see it, conflict indicates that they married the wrong person.”
It’s easy to take our thoughts to the extreme when we’re so unhappy. But lets not forget that God says in the Bible says, “Come, let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18). This is a good time to apply added reasoning, and explore more possibilities other than panicking or dumping out of a marriage after these types of thoughts invade your thinking process (even if you’ve had them for a very long time).
I’ve seen many, many spouses, who thought there was no way they would ever find love within their marriages again (myself included), and yet they did… I did. Never in a million years did I think that was possible. But it was and is, and I can testify that love CAN return, or start anew. When God is in it, it’s amazing what can happen.
So, to face this dilemma in a way that explores “reason” and added thoughts, lets work through some possible scenarios that could be taking place.
First, please don’t close your mind to some very real possibilities. When something happens to us —especially something as important as thinking we’ve married the wrong person, we can throw ourselves into thinking that this situation is irreparable. In most cases it truly isn’t, UNLESS those who are involved close their minds to working THROUGH the situation, rather than dumping out of the situation and/or walking away.
On this point, here’s something that author and motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar has said to those who have made that statement of thinking they married the wrong person:
“I have no way of knowing whether or not you married the wrong person. But I do know that if you treat the wrong person like the right person, you could well end up having married the right person after all. It is far more important to be the right kind of person than it is to marry the right person.”
So, open your mind to whatever possibilities there are that explain what you are feeling and experiencing right now. Through the process of being open, God can teach you things you may never have known otherwise. And it very well may be that God wants to grow you in ways He knows are important —ways that will be important to you, and important to others.
Pray. Ask God to give you wisdom. I know that sounds simplistic, but remember that God promises us that if we ask, He will give it (see: James 1). And while asking, request that the Holy Spirit guide you as your Wonderful Counselor, which is one of His names, as noted in the Bible (Isaiah 9:6).
You may have already been praying, but added prayer can definitely help.
While opening your mind and asking for wisdom, pray as the psalmist did,
“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)
At this point, consider that one possibility could be that you are going through a very typical (yet it doesn’t feel “typical” to you) stage of marriage —one in which you and your spouse need to work through some issues, if you are going to survive this season of marriage.
We all go through various stages of marriage, with some variance here and there. To help you consider whether this could be a certain stage you have tumbled into, within your relationship, please go into the Newlyweds and Beyond topic. Read what we have posted there, which applies to your stage, season, passage, phase (or whatever title) of marriage.
Realize that this mission of loving the spouse you married, which you now think you don’t, will take time and extra effort. Yes, it will take time and effort. But don’t you think it’s reasonable to take the time needed considering that you entered into marriage, vowing that you would love, honor, and cherish your spouse for the rest of your lives? It’s now the appropriate time to go an extra, extra mile in doing your “due diligence” on this issue, rather than look for an escape, take it, and regret it for the rest of your life (which we’ve heard of here at Marriage Missions, many, many times).
One article you may want to start with, which is talked about in the linked article article below is something I recommend highly that you read and prayerfully consider:
If it’s a “stage” you’re going through, then work with the Lord as your Counselor, to do what you can to survive that stage well. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that once something appears to be broken, it is. We’ve got a lot of testimonies posted in the “Save My Marriage” topic, which say otherwise. And my husband and I can attest to the fact that even though love appears to be gone or impossible to grab onto with the person you are now married to, it CAN and DOES come alive, if some very intentional work is done.
We’ve been there and have done that, and are SO glad we did (and are doing) what it takes to cause new growth —both within our marriage relationship and within us as individuals. It has been WELL worth the effort.
You may have to work beyond the stage of “I don’t want to” to get to the “I will” stage. We have a lot of articles and tools and guiding resources posted on this web site that can help you get to a better place in your marriage. But the main requirement is the “want to.” If you close your mind and heart and don’t want to, all of the “how to’s” in the world won’t help you. You just won’t do what it takes to get beyond this problem.
But I can tell you that even if you don’t want to, if you confess that fact to God, He still can work to change your heart and will. (Again, I’ve been there and know from personal experience.)
If your spouse doesn’t have the “want to” either, there are still some things you can do by first, working on your own issues, praying for him or her, and then applying the applicable advice given in the “Save My Marriage” topic. It’s sure worth the extra effort!
And then below, there are links provided for you to read a couple of articles, which might further help your reasoning process, as you consider what you can do now and in the future:
I hope this has helped. Even if you aren’t persuaded, at this point, allow the Lord to work further in your heart to point you to the RIGHT way of doing things, rather than the world’s way. Please know that some things are better “cured” over time.
This article is written by Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International
If you have additional tips you can share to help others in this area of marriage, or you want to share requests for prayer and/or ask others for advice, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.
Filed under: Save My Marriage