How to restore the brokenness in your marriage

One of my favorite parts on HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” is when Chip and Joanna walk to the back of a garage, shed, or attic of the house they’re working on and discover something useful to implement into the remodel. What looks like an old pile of wood, happens to be a stack of doors that once provided privacy in the home.

Once Chip and Joanna decide to use the doors and refinish the glass, it might be used on an indoor cabinet or in the front windows of the home. The doorknobs are even used as creative design elements. Reclaiming what appears to be old, good-for-nothing junk is as natural as breathing for them. Nothing is wasted. They restore and renew what most people would readily abandon.

In their years of experience working on fixer uppers, they know you don’t ignore the cast-offs. You figure out their potential and how they can be made effective again.

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In marriage, when the going gets tough, we can be tempted to throw the marriage away like those cast-offs. Communication is terrible. The molehills have become treacherous mountains to climb. Sexual needs aren’t being fulfilled. Expectations are never met. You love each other but you just don’t like each other. Life seems insurmountable to tackle. Is the relationship even worth holding onto?

Not only that, but we each bring to the table hurts, habits, and hang-ups we can bury in a shed and never deal with. Bringing our issues to light is just too difficult: a past abuse, abortion, pornography, anger problem, emotional affair, alcoholism, secret sin, and more. So, our mess sits there collecting dust in the darkness while our relationship severely suffers.

What if there was another way to deal with the struggles we face? What if we turned to the One who is greater than all our sin by first confessing our sin to someone we trust? The truth is that God wants to repurpose the big and small and seemingly insignificant scraps in our marriage.

You might wonder, How can God use the marriage I’m in? What can He do with the abuse I’ve suffered from a husband or wife that has “checked out” all the time? What can there possibly be in our marriage that is worth salvaging? The answer to that is, you! You. Your husband. Your wife. God is a master craftsman who elegantly restores and redeems what’s broken. He turns the ugly into beautiful, and much of this transformation process starts when we’re willing to admit our part of the problem.

James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed…” Admit to yourself and to another person the wrong you’ve committed and turn from it. Ask God to change your desires and allow His power to work through you. We’ll never find the healing and freedom that God desires apart from confessing our own sin­—instead of focusing on the sin of our spouse.

The end of verse 16 says, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”  As you confess and seek the Lord in prayer, change will happen in due time—maybe not in your spouse yet, but in your own heart.

Perhaps God will use your anger, pornography addiction, past abuse, dysfunctional upbringing, strong will, discontent, and more as a platform for ministry to others to show that God, is in fact, in the restoration business and can redeem all that was once defective and empty. He can use every part of your life story, the good, bad, and ugly for his perfect, pleasing design.

You can live in the freedom, joy, satisfaction, and peace God desires when you allow him to break the chains of sin and unforgiveness. Jesus says that he has come to give us life, and life abundantly (John 10:10).

When your children, family, and friends walk with you through the sacred spaces of your marriage reclaimed, they’ll gasp, jump, and stand in awe of the marvelous, breath-taking works of God that could only be done by him.

And you’ll be so glad you didn’t overlook the cast-offs.

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