Help! My Marriage is “Stuck”

Updated: Oct 5

How Do I Forgive My Husband/Wife When They’ve Hurt Me So Badly?

Does your marriage feel stuck?

Are anger, bitterness, and frustration weighing it down?

Has fighting become a commonplace occurrence?

Are you and your spouse unhappy with your relationship?

Do not despair.

Continue reading to find help and hope for your hurting marriage.

Sneaky sin comes slithering in
(Say that five times fast!)

In the last post, we looked at idols- the things other than God that rule our hearts and direct or lives. Idolatry is sin.

We think our sins (idols) will benefit us in some way, so we justify it, allow it in our lives, and get knee-deep in it.

Stuck down deep in muck and mire, problems piling higher and higher.

We think staying here will help us get what we desperately long for, but:

Sin will never satisfy.

Sometimes it is easier to understand when we see our spouse’s sin, because we feel its effects. It:

  • Separates

  • Damages

  • Breaks trust

  • HURTS!

We are all sinners in need of a Savior, so we all will sin, and are sinned against. Unfortunately, it is inevitable.

What do we do with that sin? Especially when it has separated and damaged, broken trust and hurt us so deeply?

First, we must deal with our own sin, then our spouse’s. Because sin, undealt with, becomes like a rock in our shoe that sooner or later will cause a limp in our step.

Romans 6:23 says, For the wages of sin is death (a spiritual death). Death separates. Sin separates and puts an end to all that is good in our marriage.

But God…

As always, He has a solution! In His grace (the free gift of God- eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord), He lays out an actionable plan for forgiveness and rebuilding trust.

Let’s take a closer look at His way of dealing with sin.

Forgiveness is needed…

When we or our spouse succumb to sin and idols, there's a need to give and seek forgiveness. Without it, we hold heavy bitterness in our heart.

Jesus gives insight to forgiveness with the parable of the Prodigal Son, found in Luke 15:11-32. Take a minute to read this passage; to whom do you relate the most?

  • The older brother? Do you feel like it isn’t fair that someone should “get away with” their sin?

  • The prodigal son? Do you feel remorseful and repentant, not even expecting to be forgiven, but so happy that you are?

  • The father? Is your heart ready to forgive even before it’s been asked? Are you ready to give your best to someone who has squandered your love in the past?

Often, we’re the older brother. We forget that we have been given everything from our Father in heaven (2 Peter 1:3). We do not understand the grace under which we live (Ephesians 2:8-9), so we think it’s our “right” never to be sinned against.

We demand retribution and payment, forgetting that we have been given mercy (Ephesians 2:4-5).

We have a self-righteous attitude that says “I can’t believe you would do that! I deserve better than that!”

So, what do we do when we have been sinned against?

What do we do when we have sinned against our spouse?

Vow to change: an encouraging call to action

Let the healing begin

When your spouse has sinned against you and your heart is hurting…

  1. Remember that you have been the prodigal son (the sinner seeking forgiveness). You have also been the older brother (“It’s not fair that my husband/wife should get away with this sin!). It is time to act like our Father- the One full of grace and truth, who RUNS to meet the sinner.

  2. Make a list of any unresolved issues in your marriage. (Encourage your spouse to do the same). If there is unforgiveness- no matter if you are the offender or the offended- list it. Forgiveness begins when the issues we’ve locked up, or stuffed deep down, are brought to the Light.

  3. Go through the list(s)

  4. Go to the Lord in prayer, first seeking God’s forgiveness.

  5. Repent of your sin surrounding each offense, even if you’re only 5% responsible. Rather than pointing at your spouse’s 95%, seek forgiveness for your 5%.

  6. If you struggle to reconcile, seek Godly guidance and wisdom by meeting with another trusted couple, mentor, or pastor. Biblical counseling is also an option.

For further encouragement: listen to Forgiveness- a song by TobyMac featuring LeCrae.You are not alone in the struggle.


Always remember: Be obedient to God’s Word.

I know. Sometimes (many times) it is easier said than done, especially when it comes to forgiveness. But God tells us clearly in His Word:

  • “If you forgive others when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” (Matthew 6:14) This is not a one-time-only ordeal. Jesus tells us in the book of Matthew to forgive our trespasser over and over and over again.

  • Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you- Ephesians 4:32.

  • Confess your sins to one another and you will be healed- James 5:17.

No matter how big or small, confess them all!

Have you ever thought, If I show my spouse love and grace, he/she is just going to hurt me again?

I have.

But here’s the thing…we CANNOT control our spouse’s behavior by withholding compassion and mercy.

If we want to move forward in freedom, we can’t let fear keep us from forgiveness.

Forgiveness will get your marriage “unstuck.”

…at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of the light …if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another.

Stop staying locked up. Open the door and come out. Walk in the light together.

Know Him. Trust Him. With all of your might.

But… why?

Forgiveness is essential to building trust. Do you think God asks us to trust other people?

What happens when we do trust others? Inevitably, they let us down.

Sure, our good, Godly friends can be helpful and trustworthy, and we love them dearly. BUT…

When we look to other people to fulfill our desires and expectations, they will let us down.

The Lord knows this, so He tells us in Jeremiah 17:5-6 “Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the Lord. They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future. They will live in the barren wilderness, in an uninhabited salty land.”

This does NOT mean distrust your spouse. It DOES mean to trust GOD. Don’t turn your heart away from Him, trust that He will meet your deepest needs, even ones unknown.

The Lord goes on in Jeremiah 17:7-8 saying, “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.”

How?

We cannot be taught to trust God. Trust comes from knowing Him.

The best way to know God is to read His Word.

Proverbs 3:5-6 is a great passage to memorize. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.

All those questions you have regarding your spouse and your marriage? The Lord has answers to them in the Bible.

If we do what God’s Word asks, our trust is built by seeing His way work in our life.

There is always an element of teaching, learning, and obedience that must take place to truly know and trust God. Then trust becomes a matter of remembering.

Recalling God’s faithfulness in the past will help us to trust Him with our future

…moving forward

…finding freedom in forgiveness.

Sneaky sin comes slithering in

Forgiveness is needed, let the healing begin

Find freedom in pardon, walk in His light

Know and trust God with all of your might.


Check it out

But wait… all this sin leads to fighting. Fighting makes it even harder to forgive!

Don’t worry, we know disagreements and quarrels will come. But you can be prepared.

Read the next post- 8 Guidelines for Fighting Fair- to learn ground rules for having productive and beneficial conversations- no matter how heated they become.


Listen to the corresponding podcast:

How to Help a Hurting Marriage: Forgiveness (Part 5):: [Episode 97]

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