Can You Come Back From a Marriage Disaster?

marriage disaster

It’s hard to imagine restoration while standing in the rubble of a major marriage disaster. After an earth-shattering revelation, a breach of trust, or a deep conflict repairing the damage done may seem utterly impossible.

But it’s amazing what God can do with some time and two willing hearts. It’s not easy, but even marriages which have driven all the way to the edge of the cliff and peered over can choose to back up and start over. {Click to Tweet} By taking a deep breath and approaching your situation with honesty and wisdom, you stand a chance of pulling your relationship—and your family—back from the brink.

Consider some of these angles to forgive past transgressions, diagnose how things got so off track, and find the road back to joy and peace in your home.

Take your time.

When emotions are high, good analysis is usually low. Your marriage and whether or not it can survive is a question too important to rush. By slowing down and giving yourself ample time to process all that you’ve experienced and the ramifications of different solutions, you’re less likely to make a decision you’ll regret later. Take a deep breath and let the dust from recent conflict settle a bit before you make any major decisions about your marriage or your future.

Understand that healing is a process with multiple stages.

A good friend of mine walked through a rough season of marriage in which her husband was unfaithful. When she learned of his affair, it shook her to her core. While they both agreed that they wanted to save the marriage, he was soon frustrated with her for struggling with residual feelings of fear and anger. He wanted to flip a switch and immediately return to the marriage they had pre-disaster, but that doesn’t happen overnight. Recovering from a major breach of trust is a much like grieving a loss: there are moments of disbelief, anger, and sadness before moving on to acceptance and rebuilding what was lost. Be patient with yourself and your spouse while you both work through the natural emotional processes. A qualified counselor can help each of you understand the other and cope as you rebuild your relationship.

Don’t just focus on the symptoms–diagnose the disease.

Whatever fell apart in your marriage has the outward, obvious thing (the “what”) and the reason behind it (the “why”). For instance, filing for bankruptcy and losing your home may have been the symptom,but irresponsible financial habits and a desire to keep up with the Joneses may have been the real disease. Don’t get so focused on the thing that blew up your life together that you fail to deal with the real moral, ethical, or good judgment issues that allowed it to happen. If you merely treat the symptoms without fighting the disease, you’ll soon be back in crisis mode in your marriage. {Click to Tweet}

Shield your kids when possible.

Children are remarkably perceptive, so it may be impossible to keep them completely in the dark about your marriage struggles. But remember–they’re your children, not your counselor. The person you’re angry with is also a parent they love, and it will hurt them to hear you speak negatively about your spouse, even when it’s true. (Heck, especially when it’s true.) Keep it positive when talking to your children, and let them know that you and their dad are working hard to make your marriage and family life the best it can be.

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In The Comments

Have you ever watched a marriage make an amazing comeback? What were the keys to success?


  • I’m going through a hideous divorce. I attempted to build bridges to try to save the marriage, but it was just not possible. The only sane, and safe, thing for me to do – for myself and for our two children – is to divorce and limit contact as much as possible. It will be a source of deep regret my whole life but I have searched my soul and there is simply no other way around it.

    • Crys

      Good Luck Helen, a very difficult decision and I hope you find tranquility and happiness.

    • Gina

      We will be praying for you! One day at a time!

  • Lindsey

    My husband and I are on the other side of a disaster that the enemy intended to use to to destroy our marriage. After being married 13 years my husband revealed two instances where he was unfaithful…and he had buried it and kept it a secret for 10 years!!! We had a choice to make that day. Would we allow the Lord to heal and make things new again or did we want to walk the road of bitterness and unforgiveness (me) and shame and regret (him)? We chose to say yes to God and no to any attempt the enemy would throw to keep us tangled and trapped in our feelings. Yes, he made a mistake…a HUGE mistake. But is he my enemy? No. He is not my enemy. He is my spouse and I had to choose to see him that way instead of the lies that the enemy wanted me to believe. The truth is…his past doesn’t define him to Christ. So why should it define who he is to me? I won’t say it was easy, but The Holy Spirit was with me each step of the way. When I struggled with negative feelings, I’d ask the Lord to show me the truth. Time and time again, he showed me that my husband was not my enemy. I chose to connect rather than withdraw and the honor that resulted was a blessing to my husband and did more healing in both of us than we ever expected possible. Now, a year after him revealing the affair to me, our marriage is stronger than it was when we first got married, our intimacy is PHENOMENAL and our individual healing is nothing short of miraculous.
    Don’t give up! Your spouse is not your enemy REGARDLESS of what happened. The enemy is out to destroy marriages…because two people connected as one is WAY more powerful than two wounded individuals! Hope that encourages someone!

    • hopeful

      Nice to see I am not alone. My husband revealed to me the same exact thing!!!! We too have decided to fight and stay together and it isn’t easy! thank you for sharing your wisdom, it was needed for me!

    • A.F.

      Thanks Lindsey for this. I have been married for 16years and 2 months ago my husband confessed to me that he had a one night stand with a callgirl.It’s been a rollercoaster feelings after that.I can’t believed that my husband is capable of doing it since he is an acyive member of our church.How I will be able to forgive and forget is my dilemma right now.Please help.

      • fausto412

        Did he ever tell you what drove him to look elsewhere? I’m curious because it my experience as a man…if you committed and you love your wife you hang in there and keep it in the pants.

  • willing

    ‘it’s amazing what God can do with some time and two willing hearts” what if one side is not willing. One side does not feel the need to try and feels as if there is no need for help.