Before you divorce, say your ABCs… These can transform your marriage and take divorce off the table! I know it sounds crazy, but keep reading! If you’ve been following Bryan and I (especially in the most recent months) then you’ve probably read about our marital issues. There was a time when I would keep quiet about what’s really going on and continue to try and paint the picture-perfect canvas. However, Bryan let me know that it wasn’t helping anyone.
The truth of the matter is, once you’ve crossed over into the land of blogging and building an online business, you start to believe you have to be perfect. It’s easy to become this person who looks like they have it all together in hopes that people would like you, love you, and want whatever you’re selling. Nope. Putting on facades does more damage than anything! Anyways, let’s talk about these ABCs.
A Little Back Story
I think it’s absolutely necessary to give you some backstory, so bear with me. There are quite a few factors at play that I believe drove us to this point. For starters, I was raised by a single mother who married and divorced three times by the time I was in middle school. She raised me to be a super-independent female who would not need a man for anything except for what I wanted him for. Bryan grew up in a blended family home with both parents and grand parents in his life. He didn’t always get along with his step dad, but that’s normal, right?
Before Bryan and I tied the knot, he always said that he was only getting married once. On top of that, divorce would not be an option – for him. I subconsciously came into our marriage with slightly different views. I had already married and divorced once, and divorce could be an option – if things didn’t work out.
Fast forward several years, and I had finally come to the conclusion that divorce would not be an option for me as well. We were finally on the same page, but that’s when we would be tested and attacked like never before. Leading us to a few months ago, when the talk of divorce started happening…
How did we end up talking about divorce?
To keep this answer simple, we turned our mirrors toward one another and constantly pointed out each other’s faults. We were less than uplifting and loving to one another, and those seeds took root. I did my fair share of negative seed planting in the beginning because I hadn’t quite had a heart and mind change about marriage yet. I did what I was taught.
If you say or do this to a man, he’ll change. Because I don’t need to change. I’m fine. Love me or leave me. This mentality alone would end up crippling my marriage years down the road.
Quite naturally, like any human being, Bryan and I got tired of fighting. The battle seemed too strong and I believe we both started believing the story that things would be much easier on us if we were separated. Yes, we have five children, but even they were not enough to keep us together at the time.
During these moments, Bryan actually attempted to move out 3 times. He eventually found his way back home (yes, I asked him to come back each time). And that alone was even more exhausting. Draining for us, and confusing for our children. That’s when we decided to do what I’m going to share in the form of ABCs.
Before You Divorce, Say Your ABCs
A: Agree, Accept, and Align
Before we could make any moves toward rekindling our marriage, Bryan and I needed to come into agreement. We had to be on the same page and realize that we both wanted our marriage to work equally. Then, we needed to accept all that we had said and done to ourselves and one another. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Of course, this doesn’t all happen at once, but voicing it helps the process move much quicker. After coming into agreement and accepting the past, we had to (re)align with the Word of God and what He says about marriage.
Oftentimes, when you look back on your marital problems, you can see how they typically branch from not being obedient to what God excepts of a husband and wife. It’s a hard truth, but it’s part of accepting what is and then doing something about it.
B: Believe, Be Bold, and Build
“And belief is the substance of what is expected, the proof of what is not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)
Thinking our marriage would work wasn’t going to cut it. Bryan and I had to believe it would… the kind of belief that’s hooked to the faith spoken of in Hebrews 11:1. Because you see, we don’t know what the future holds, but we know what we can expect. And we know there is proof of what we cannot see.
There also needs to be a certain kind of boldness in marriage. Not the kind of boldness turned toward one another, but boldness against the principalities and powers that would love to see married couples divorce. We also need boldness to approach the Throne Room of God in prayer. Scripture says, “Therefore, let us come boldly to the throne of favor (grace), in order to receive compassion, and find favor for timely help” (Hebrews 4:16).
I believe through our belief (faith) and boldness, we could begin to (re)build our marriage on the solid foundation of Yeshua (Jesus). Making these declarations started a noticeable shift in our relationship. Instead of seeing our covenant through a blurry lens, things began to be much clearer.
C: Confess, Commit, and Control
The battle for marriage and actually being happy in it is far from over just because two get over the threats of divorce. Which is why being in a constant mindset of confession is so important. Bryan is typically the one who will open up and confess any and everything. Even if it’s going to be devastating, he knows the importance of getting it all out. Me, on the other hand, would not confess thinking it would save face for everyone involved. You can guess how that really goes… not good.
Confessing doesn’t have to just be for sins either. We confess thoughts we’ve had, things that bother or trouble us, or even a dream we had. But here’s the thing… confessing carries healing. Here’s how I know, “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, so that you are healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous one accomplishes much” (James 5:16). This scripture shows us that confession makes way for prayer, while prayer opens the door to healing.
Tied to confession, in my opinion, is the ability to commit to one another. Commit to the covenant that was made. And choose commitment every single day. And while you’re choosing commitment, make sure you keep yourself under control. My lack of control is the foundation of every bad decision I’ve ever made in life, especially in my marriage. Whether I’m being unloving, speaking harsh words, or reacting inappropriately… it’s all tied to lack of self-control-
“For Elohim (God) has not given us a spirit of cowardice, but of power and of love and of self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7).
How to Put the ABCs to Action
As I mentioned before, transformation and rebuilding a marriage doesn’t typically happen over night. It takes an ongoing decision to commit to each of the points in the ABCs. Then, there are a few more things Bryan and I highly recommend.
Work on your personal relationship with Heavenly Father.
It’s easy to get side-tracked and point out your spouse’s faults, where they’re falling short, and the like. A wise woman once told me that she’s too busy with her own spiritual walk to worry about anyone else’s, especially her husband’s. And I find this to be so true. When I’m more focused on pleasing and glorifying God, all else tends to naturally line up, including my marriage.
Make praying for your marriage a lifestyle.
You know the scripture… pray without ceasing. There’s good reasons for this instruction. Every moment of every day there are two opposing forces at work, one of which we choose with every choice we make. When we stay in a constant place of prayer and meditation, we are least likely to react out of feelings and emotions. It becomes easier to think of the godly way to respond, versus the fleshly way.
Put your marriage top on the priority list.
Trust me when I say this is much easier said than done. The more things that are added, the quicker marriage gets pushed down on the list – if you let it. Bryan and I let it happen, and it happened fast. I already had one child when we married, but it was much easier to put us first. Then, four more children, several jobs, starting businesses, and other stuff later… we realized it had been years since we had a date.
As Bryan said, a marriage is also a friendship and that friendship needs to be nourished. The most important relationships require the important maintenance. On a funny note, he said, “Not only does your marriage require maintenance, but it also require mate-enance!” (LOL!) In other words, make every effort to put your marriage, your relationship, and your friendship first.
Bryan and I certainly have not arrived. In fact, we have a long way to go. But we’re willing to go the distance together. I hope and pray that the words in this blog will bless you and your marriage. I hope they encourage you and inspire you to hang on, even if you’re at the end of your rope. Before I wrap it up, I want to remind you that I have a free 31 Days to a Better Marriage resource.
Strengthen your marriage with these 31 days of praying for your husband (and yourself) printables with daily prompts and Scriptures already laid out for you. All you need are just a few minutes a day to pray the Scriptures for each day. Use it month after month to pray for your husband and for yourself!