Given Up on Your Marriage?


What do you say to a spouse or a couple that has lost all desire for their marriage? For spouses or couples in such a state, I often have a rather unique question that I ask.


The Question


Instead of asking, “Do you want a better marriage?”, I often ask spouses a different question. Rather than saying, “Do you want to see change in your marriage?”, I often ask, “Do you want to want to see change?”

One might wonder why I ask this question, but the answer should be slightly obvious in that most couples in a difficult relationship have often given up hope. And, if you simply ask them if they want a better marriage, they will often say they don’t know or they really could care less. Therefore, I feel it best to ask, “Do you want to want to see change in your marriage?”


Tired or Unwilling?


Many spouses are not unwilling as much as they are tired. There is a difference though both can appear to be the same.

You may be married to someone that is not so much unwilling to work at the marriage as much as they are tired of failing to see long lasting results. Once again, there is a difference, and it is more than vital that you make this all important distinction.

given up on marriage

For couples in such a spot, I often tell them that if they are tired, that is understandable. If they are simply unwilling then I can do little with them. But, more often than not, many will admit that they want to want the marriage, but their faith waned many years ago. To that I say, “Then, we have something to work with.”


More Faith Than You


I often tell people that if I sound confident it is because I am confident. That is, having walked a number of couples from start to finish through some very dark places, I have tremendous confidence that many that have given up hope can see their faith in God and one another renewed.

I also tell people when they come to me that God and I probably have more faith in their marriage than they do at this time. However, if they want to want to have their faith in their marriage renewed, then our 2-step process may be a good fit for them.


How About You?


So, where does this land with you? You may be tired, lacking faith in God and your spouse, or just done with your marriage. But, what if just the smallest tweaks could make the biggest differences in your marriage? What if there is an exit door to your marital strife that you never knew existed? What if you and your spouse have been hurling smooth stones at the giants in your marriage only to find out you have been using the wrong sling?

It’s entirely possible that there are some very simplified answers to what seem to be complex issues in your marriage, and I would like to encourage you to believe again that the God of the Bible can truly be God in your life.

God specializes in finishing wars that we have done all to fight. Ask Jacob. He wrestled all night only to win by losing his match. His victory came not in overpowering the Angel, but allowing God to overpower him.

Could it be that you are in a similar fight as Jacob? Maybe you have wrestled using every method, counseling technique, or even scriptural principle that you knew of only to come up short. Is it possible that the purpose of this path has been to show you that all you can do is all you can do and that man does what he can, but God does what He wills? Is it also a possibility that God is showing you that even using the best of weaponry as a means to your own end is still insufficient in His sight? (Psalm 147:10-11)

Truly, God has a way of mysteriously bringing some of us to the end of ourselves, even when we have used those things that seem good, right, and even scriptural. He seems an expert in breaking even the most sincere and strongest of us of any confidence in ourselves. (II Corinthians 3:5)

Sometimes, God waits the longest with the best and brightest of us lest our own wisdom and talents outshine His glory if He should answer too quickly. So, maybe you have tried and failed. However, is it possible if not plausible that even your failings are a part of His plan for you. Maybe the primary goal of the Father is not so much to get you to get along with your spouse, but to rest completely and entirely in Him.

2 Corinthians 8:12 states:


“For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.”


Maybe you are not unwilling after all. Maybe you are just tired. Give your willingness to God and I believe you will find that this is acceptable to Him. He may just take you and your spouse farther than you ever imagined.

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One comment on “Given Up on Your Marriage?
  1. J. says:

    Dear Dr.Force,
    I found your site on a FB “suggested ad” and first want to say that I’m sorry for the loss of your daughter. I’m a believer and am grateful that we will eventually be reunited with our loved ones, but dealing with the every day sorrow of missing your child must be very difficult.

    I do want to thank you for your insightful and helpful articles. The attached post hit especially closest to my heart though. I’ve been married for 25 years next month and sadly our journey together has had more rocky years than good. Currently as empty Nester’s we’re going through the most challenging ever and your point of “wanting to want” is exactly where I’m at in our relationship. I am grateful that I do want to want, but I’m also very, very tired and weary. The struggle to “fix” our messes is overwhelming at times and although I am learning to trust Him to teach me how to be a good wife the destructive patterns we both have fallen into are hard to break.

    I know as you’ve stated that we’ve been using the “wrong sling” and I do believe we’ve come to the end of what we ourselves can accomplish. We cannot seem to get past these awful and ingrained habits of always reacting the same way whenever we discuss our issues.

    I’m currently working with a Christian therapist who sees me about twice a month (he no longer charges because my 12 visit “scholarship” ran out last year and he’s been gracious enough to continue anyway) but we really don’t tackle true change. He just feels my need was to have someone who’ll listen. I don’t have anyone else. Our only family is a married son who we aren’t close with due to this younger generation’s obsession with overly busy lives, and since I’m an introvert and deal with serious chronic pain and a disability I am somewhat isolated and don’t have many friends.

    My husband was out of work for almost a year just recently and our financial situation is critical. He’s currently driving a bus, but it still leaves us short each month. Our limited savings (home equity) is drying up and our circumstances are extremely stressful. Therefore whatever marital problems we were facing previously have only been exacerbated. We do not attend a local church and as much as we understand the biblical thinking that where the church body is is where fellowship and loving accountability is also, but we don’t believe that the “institutional church” offers true relational fellowship based upon the teachings of Jesus. At least we haven’t found one that does. We have been asked by friends to help lead their small group and share what we know as a married couple further ahead in our walk, but we also know we have our own problems we must face and correct.

    I will be looking into purchasing your book. I will also as you’ve suggested give my “willingness” to Him and pray for healing in my marriage. We so desperately need a move of God between us. I feel like we’re stuck in this holding pattern and there doesn’t seem to be any hope of finding true peace. We both want this but don’t know how to make it happen.

    Thank you again and God bless you and your family.

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