Truths to Remember

When things get hard in a marriage, it can feel like the foundations of your life are giving way. It is good to remember that our foundation is firm, based on the finished work of Jesus Christ for us. There are some things that remain true, at all times and for all of God’s children no matter what. It’s good to let your mind and your heart rest in these truths. Read these aloud. Remember:

I am loved.
I am secure.
I am forgiven.
God is with me.

… For the storms will come, beloved. The wind will howl and the waters will rise. And Jesus, who calmed the storm, who is indeed able to calm all storms, is now and ever will be your help in times of trouble.

— John and Stasi Eldredge, Love and War, p. 174

One Sure Love

If all the pain of the world were gathered together, and sorted by cause into great basins, the vast majority of tears would fill an ocean entitled “Unloved.” Because love is the deepest longing of the human heart — however hard we might try to pretend otherwise. When things get painful in our marriage, the arrows that pierce our hearts carry some message of You are not loved. The arrows might be Rejection, or Anger, or Betrayal, or Blaming, or even Silence. But the message is the same: You are no longer loved; you never really have been. We have got to anchor our heart in the one sure Love. You are now, you always have been, and you will forever be loved. It might help to say that to yourself, every day. Maybe every hour. This is the boat that carries your heart right across that ocean of pain to the safe haven of God.

— John and Stasi Eldredge, Love and War, p. 172

Hearing God’s Voice, Together

The secret of the Christian life — and the Christian marriage — is that you don’t have to figure it out. You don’t have to figure life out, you don’t have to figure each other out, you don’t have to figure parenting out, or money or family. You have a counselor, you have a guide — you have God. What a relief that we don’t have to figure it all out! We get to walk with God. That is the beauty of Christian spirituality. This is not about mastering principles; it’s about an actual relationship with an actual person who happens to be the wisest, kindest, and, okay, wildest person you will ever know.

— John and Stasi Eldredge, Love and War, p. 130-131

“It’s Your Responsibility to Keep Things Civil and Nice.”

You’re feeling confused, baffled, and wondering who belongs in the asylum. How could he be saying that it’s your responsibility to keep things civil and nice? He’s the one who was unfaithful, who broke his vows to you, who has inflicted hurt on you and your children. He just acted most uncivil and really, really not nice.

You think, “Isn’t it mostly his responsibility to be civil and nice?” Everything you’ve learned since childhood is that the one who committed the crime is the one who has the responsibility to right the wrong, to make up to those he harmed. You’ve learned that this is true whether the crime is murder or the crime is seven-year-old Adam stepping on his playmate Eric’s toy and breaking it. If the crime is murder, the best the perpetrator can do is to ask for forgiveness and serve time in jail. If it’s breaking the toy, we expect Adam to apologize and to do his best to fix or replace the toy.

Based on all the values, beliefs, and expectations you’ve lived by your entire life, what he’s saying doesn’t make any sense.

— Elizabeth Landers and Vicky Mainzer, The Script: The 100% Absolutely Predictable Things Men Do When They Cheat, p. 130

Happiness in Marriage

The most potent predictor of being happily married is being happy before you marry. Marriage does not make you happy, although the prospect of sharing life with a loved one can provide motivation to make yourself happy. What marriage certainly offers is someone on whom to blame your unhappiness.

— Steven Stosny,

You Are Enough.

Know now and hear me, loud and clear: You are not responsible for your partner’s choices and actions. You are fabulous, loving and enough. You definitely have things to learn about how you got to this point in your life and where you’re meant to go from here. And you will learn them! But you’re not to blame for this crisis in your world. You’re more than good enough! And there is nothing wrong with you!

— Eve A. Wood, MD, The Gift of Betrayal, p. 9

Soften with Play

Growing older involves accumulating life experience in a way that allows us to know ourselves, and the world around us, generously, hopefully, and with a minimum of denial. If reality is to bring us meaning rather than despair, however, we need to learn to soften life’s hard edges with hope rather than illusion. Which means that we need to learn how to play….

When we engage each other in real and playful ways, we touch those places that have been most injured, and are therefore most closed to growth, with love, kindness, and compassion. We bring our deepest fears into creative contact with each other. In ways that are at once real and not real, that simultaneously embody both past and present, play, once again, invites seemingly immutable aspects of our histories into the present, and so enlivens parts of ourselves that have become deadened, lightens parts that have become too heavy to carry, and teaches us to live with pains that have all too often become too great to bear.

— Mark O’Connell, PhD, The Marriage Benefit, p. 171, 185

Choosing Not to Blame

Our intimate partners are by and large our most important persons. Because we share responsibility for our lives with them, because they are magnets for our disappointments, it is all but written into our marriage contracts that we will blame them when things go wrong.

But what happens when we make a point of doing the opposite? What happens when we let go of our proclivity to blame and resent our lovers for our own disappointments? Every time we forgive and thank each other we teach each other critical, and generalizable, life lessons: There is no master plan. There is no life that we were supposed to lead. There is no good future in wishing for a different past. The assumption that things should always go our way, and that someone or something is to blame if they don’t, only leads us away from the path to our better selves.

— Mark O’Connell, PhD, The Marriage Benefit, p. 164-165

God Can Redeem Anything.

Our experience has taught us that God can redeem anything, so we never give up on anyone….

What we wanted to do with this book was offer hope for marriages through a paradigm shift. It comes from taking a different perspective — getting your eyes off yourself and putting them on the Lord.

We have a passionate desire to see marriages changed, made whole, and restored. Our prayer is that more and more marriages will epitomize God’s plan, not society’s. Although the world seems to hold virtually no hope for marriages and families being restored, we want to spread the word that “by his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope” (Ephesians 3:20, NLT). It is possible for a marriage to be made brand-new!

If you can trust God to show you the bigger picture of your marriage, he will do it. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” In other words, he will direct you and make it clear where you are to go.

— Cheryl & Jeff Scruggs, I Do Again, p. 178, 183