Many couples get trapped in misery, thinking that their marriage is falling apart. They become painfully aware of the brokenness which envelopes their lives. Each spouse is usually in pain, blaming the other for their pain. They turn in on themselves. Spouses then use self-protective behaviors to isolate their partner. Actually the pain most often comes from within themselves and not from the spouse.
Couples easily stay trapped in their misery, turning inward. But there is also the potential to creatively transform misery into ministry.
In the stages of marriage, we move from misery to awakening by making the decision to love, to reach out to each other again. That awakening can be the turning point toward ministry, as couples stop denying their pain, make the decision to love, forgive, and work creatively to rebuild their relationship. They realize that healing will not be a quick-fix.
Part of healing for each spouse often means dealing with aspects of their own negative behavior that they have been overlooking or trying to hide. They recognize that they are not alone, that they are part of the problem, and that they have gifts to rebuild their relationship.
As couples work to improve their marriage, they often feel an urge or a need to share what they have learned with others. This sense of being sent or missioned, of turning out, is a spiritual turning point in their journey.
In a social climate that actually encourages divorce rather than reconciliation, Courage to Love . . . When Your Marriage Hurts offers help and hope instead. Building on the experience of Retrouvaille—which calls itself ‘a lifeline for marriages', the author covers crucial topics such as self-awareness, conflict resolution, forgiveness, the stages of a relationship, and intimacy. While doing so, he offers skills necessary for healthy, emotional and spiritual growth through the lived reality of married life. He invites and challenges couples to make the decision to love and forgive; to rebuild trust, to reach out to each other again; and to work creatively to rebuild their relationship—thus countering cultural trends that are detrimental to permanent marriage, and build a strong family life for which marriage is meant.