A Wilting Marriage CAN Be Revived

Wilting Marriage - AdobeStock_288309925Do you have a wilting marriage? Is your marriage relationship looking lifeless that appears to be at the roommate stage, at best? And are you considering dumping out because it looks hopeless that you could ever have a good relationship again? If that’s the case, please reconsider. We’ve been there (more than once) and so have most spouses.

After all, how do you “do life” together and yet never fall into a slump? There’s no way you can maintain heightened love all the time. It would wear us out! But that doesn’t mean if the marriage looks lifeless it will never revive.

Last week I went out onto our patio and looked at the hanging basket of flowers we had there. Unfortunately, it was horribly wilted. Absentmindedly, I had forgotten to water it the day before. And the temperatures hit over 100 degrees (38C). Reviving it looked hopeless. I didn’t think I could ever infuse life back into that wilted mess.

But I was wrong. I watered it, and figured, what do I have to lose? If it didn’t revive, I would then throw it out. But why not try? However, it eventually brightened up and looked as healthy ever (minus several of the flowers that died off in the process)! And then more blooms started showing up in the preceding days. Who would have thought? I sure didn’t. But it now looks as beautiful as ever.

A Wilting Marriage Can Be Revived

Now, you probably see the point I’m/we’re making in sharing this with you. But we need to say it anyway. (You may learn something new.) Marriage is a lot like a garden or a plant. You have to tend to it and not neglect it for too long. If you do, you may never be able to revive it again. But on the other hand, some things can look dead. And yet they are not. Deep down there’s still life in there somewhere.

However, it is wisest not to take that chance. Just like plants, you should not neglect your marriage for too long if you expect it to grow into something beautiful. It might come back to life eventually. But on the other hand, it might not. And even if it does, you wasted the beautiful moments you could have had together. All in all, it would be sad to just survive, when your marriage could have thrived all along

Yes, we know that it takes two to make a marriage the best it can be. Some people are married to lousy spouses. But some spouses can start out as lousy ones. However, they have the potential grow into good ones if they’re given the right opportunity. One small change, made at the right time, can breathe new life into a wilting marriage.

Need Insight to Help a Wilting Marriage?

Here’s what Paul Byerly says on this issue:

“It’s rare that problems in marriage are all about one person. Even when one person is the majority of the issue, their spouse usually has something they need to change. Focusing on the one who’s most ‘at fault’ may seem logical. But it’s not the best approach. Good change by one can make it easier for the other. A small change can super charge the change process for the other spouse, or encourage them to work on change.” (From The-generous-husband.com article, “It’s Not All Her or All You”)

And then here’s another important point that author Gary Thomas writes about, on how we can make our marriages into healthier ones:

A Healthy Perspective

“Even the most excellent of spouses have their weaknesses; and even the weakest of spouses have their strengths. The only one who can love us perfectly is God. Nobody gets to marry the fourth member of the Trinity. That’s because that person doesn’t exist. I know your spouse ‘stumbles in many ways’ because the Bible tells me that (James 3:2).

“When a spouse stumbles, we tend to define our spouse by that stumbling. All we see is whether they are still stumbling in that way. But every spouse is stumbling in some (in fact, many) ways. If your spouse stops stumbling in one particular area, all that will do is free you up to see how they are stumbling in a different area.

“When we recognize that marriage is the joining of two sinful people serving one perfect Savior, we can maintain a healthier perspective. We won’t let the stumbling blind us to the evidences of God’s healing grace. Every spouse has strengths and weaknesses; and every Christian spouse still pursuing God is growing. We live in a fallen world, but God’s redeeming touch can reach into every crevice and every soul to display the fruit of His Spirit.” (From Gary’s article, “Hope for Imperfect Marriages”)

Reviving a Wilting Marriage

Our point in all of this is urge you to put the effort into trying to revive your wilting marriage. Your efforts may or may not revive it. But it sure is worth the try. When you lean upon God to help you, it’s amazing the life He can breathe into that, which appears to be dead.

“If we want our marriages to grow and flourish, we will follow the pattern for love that Christ lived. We will look for opportunities to lay down our lives, to put our love into practice. In the context of our daily lives, this seldom means we literally give up our lives for those we love. More likely, it means we pick up their dry cleaning. Or perhaps we take out the trash for them when they’re running late.” (Ellyn Sanna)

We hope all of this makes sense to you, concerning what you do with a wilting marriage. We urge you to go the extra mile, and beyond that. Put all the effort into it that you believe Christ would do for His bride. Look to Him for ultimate guidance.

In closing, here are a few additional thoughts we encourage you to read on this issue:

Growing Your Wilting Marriage Into a Healthy One

• “Understand what’s wrong with the idea ‘We grew apart.’ Are we plants? No. In marriage, we agree to be gardeners. The plant is love, which, when tended, bears fruit. When we marry, we vow to tend the garden. We vow to love, honor, cherish…remember? To have a healthy, beautiful garden, we must fertilize and water continuously. We must be alert for weeds and eradicate them early, before they choke out love.” (Patricia Hartman)

• “If your spouse says they’re committed to change and they want to grow, it’s not going to change overnight. They may still have old thought patterns they need to get over. If there’s healing that needs to come, it may not be instantaneous. But don’t let the fact that things aren’t 100 per cent better make you believe that your spouse isn’t trying. Give him or her the benefit of the doubt. Love your spouse and forge ahead!” (Sheila Wray Gregoire)

• “Marriages sometimes grow like Chinese Bamboo Trees. [For 4 years after planting the seed of this tree you see nothing but a tiny shoot. But in the 5th year, it can grow up to 80 feet tall.] You try and try doing kindnesses, etc. Sometimes it takes months, even years before you SEE the growth. But all the while you’re making deposits into a secret account that all of a sudden begins paying dividends.” (Mort Fertel)

Additionally Note:

• “The best way to stimulate romance is to grow as an individual, giving your mate more to discover through the years. Neglecting personal development will not enhance a marriage, but neither will purely selfish pursuits. Hobbies and careers that are kept in balance are necessary to a dynamic union.” (Frank and Mary Alice Minirth, from: “Secrets of a Strong Marriage”)

• “No matter where you are, you can do better. No matter how many wrong or unloving behaviors you have dealt with, there is another one you can work on. The goal is to always be growing. It’s good to look at what you have overcome. It’s good to be encouraged by what you have beaten. Allow that to urge you on to more.” (Paul Byerly)

On the other hand:

“If your spouse is trying to grow, don’t hold her or him back by nailing them to the past. Acknowledge the growth. Don’t compare them to where you wish they would be, especially if your wish is a perfect spouse. Compare them to what they were, be thankful for the growth and encourage them.

“…Let’s pause for a moment and ask ourselves, do we acknowledge our spouse’s growth? Are we comparing them with how much better they are now than they used to be? Or are we downgrading them because they’re still not where we think they should be? Do we think discouragement fosters more change than encouragement? Wouldn’t you rather go out on a date with an enthusiastic, earnest spouse who has a wrinkled shirt than blow up a date by essentially saying, ‘I know you tried really hard, but you still don’t quite measure up?’

“Let’s not be bubble busters. Let’s learn to cherish each other as we are and as we grow into the people we yet want to be.” (Gary Thomas, from the article, “The Bubble Bursting Spouse”)

Wilting Marriage Insights

• “Here’s a problem for many marriages: People grow bored in life because they’ve become boring. They’ve decided that life is too heavy and serious to blow bubbles and look at the amazing colors and shapes they produce. They don’t want to discover anymore. Please make an effort to try new things [together] —even simple things. The heaviness of life will take care of itself. You do your part to enjoy it.” (David L Patrick)

As it pertains to growing healthy in a wilting marriage:

• “If your spouse says they’re committed to change and they want to grow, it’s not going to change overnight. They may still have old thought patterns they need to get over. If there’s healing that needs to come, it may not be instantaneous. But don’t let the fact that things aren’t 100 per cent better make you believe that your spouse isn’t trying. Give him or her the benefit of the doubt. Love your spouse and forge ahead!” (Sheila Wray Gregoire)

But Whatever You Do:

• “Don’t smother each other. No one can grow in shade.” (Leo Buscaglia)

• “Follow a couple of marriage blogs, or take a marriage class. Read a marriage book, or spend some time at a marriage retreat. Be proactive. If you want your marriage to grow, start planting seeds so you have something to harvest down the road. ‘Learning is a treasure that follows its owner everywhere.’ (Chinese proverb)Get wisdom, get understanding. Do not forget my words or swerve from them.(Proverbs 4:5) (Quote from Lori Byerly, from The-generous-wife.com blog, “Plant Some Seeds”)

• “Share Dreams. Have frequent conversations like: Where are we going? What do we want to accomplish together? What kind of lifestyle do we want to have? Also, what legacy do we want to leave through our marriage? They can sound crazy to everyone else. But the dreams you create with your spouse become a glue for your relationship.” (Edward C. Lee)

Lastly, continually remember:

• “According to Ecclesiastes 9:9, the Bible says your spouse is a gift. Hard work is a necessary part of life. But a marriage partner is a reward and a blessing. When you remember that and prioritize accordingly you will keep your marriage alive and growing.” (Gary Chapman)

And that is our goal. We want to encourage you to prioritize your marriage so it is alive and growing. And God can especially help you to do that!

Cindy and Steve Wright

— ADDITIONALLY —

To help you further, we give a lot of personal stories, humor, and more practical tips in our book, 7 ESSENTIALS to Grow Your Marriage. We hope you will pick up a copy for yourself. (It’s available both electronically and in print form.) Plus, it can make a great gift for someone else. It gives you the opportunity to help them grow their marriage. And who doesn’t need that? Just click on the linked title or the picture below:

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