Marriage Problems

How to Heal a Wounded Heart

wounded heart

“We long for a great marriage. Amazing marriages happen when two people are wholeheartedly engaged inside their covenant relationship. Being fully open allows love (along with peace, patience, kindness, goodness…) to flow freely between spouses. Life circumstances and significant people have a way of wounding us. Our job is to heal these wounds so we can get back to whole-hearted engagement.”

Here are the steps I recommend to open the door to your heart:

Identify the Wounds and Messages: We must identify the wounds and messages that have attacked our hearts. Use this list of key words to help you identify any lies that have been inscribed on your heart.

  • Rejected
  • Abandoned
  • Disconnected
  • Failure
  • Not Chosen
  • Helpless
  • Powerless
  • Inadequate
  • Inferior
  • Invalidated
  • Unloved
  • Undesirable
  • Not Good Enough
  • Worthless
  • Devalued
  • Unaccepted
  • Judged
  • Ignored
  • Unimportant
  • Misunderstood
  • Wrongly Portrayed
  • Disrespected
  • Unwanted
  • Defective

This is deep, tough stuff, so here are a few recommendations you may find helpful when identifying what’s blocking your heart:

1. Don’t go it alone. Pray. Ask God to help you.

2. Think back over your childhood—specifically recall any traumatic events, disappointments, or times you were hurt or scared. What were you feeling? Did you tell yourself anything? What message did you receive from the incident?

3. Recall a recent conflict with your spouse. What were you feeling? Was it any of the feelings on the list?

4. Replace the Message with the Truth: Just because you know the truth from the lie doesn’t mean the battle is over.

God is the only one who can erase what has been etched on your heart. He will reveal His truth about you when you seek Him. You can do this by praying and reading His Word.

5. Nurture and Care for your Heart:The wounded heart needs consistent attention and care—especially while your wounds are still healing.

Here are some ways you can nurture your heart:

  • Maintain a close relationship with God
  • Memorize scripture so you can remember the truth about who you are!
  • Learn how to identify when your heart is open or closed
  • Take notice of your feelings throughout the day and put a name to them
  • Validate your own feelings
  • Whenever you are feeling something get inquisitive. Ask, “I wonder why I’m feeling that way.”
  • Find healthy ways to manage your emotions
  • Offer loving correction to someone when they offend or hurt you.
  • Build healthy relationships with people who give you a safe place to open your heart.
  • Become aware of your likes and dislikes.
  • Laugh more
  • Accept compliments from others.
  • Learn to set boundaries.

© 2014 iMOM. All Rights Reserved. Family First, All Pro Dad, iMOM, and Family Minute with Mark Merrill are registered trademarks.

By: Greg Smalley

iMOM Contributor

Dr. Greg Smalley serves as executive director of Marriage and Family Formation at Focus on the Family and is passionate to equip premarital and married couples with the knowledge, skills and insights necessary to enjoy a lifetime together.

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  • Andrea

    thank you for this great reminder. marriage is joyful. marriage is hard. marriage is challenging. marriage is a gift. marriage is complicated. marriage is LOVE. we don’t get a “how to do marriage well” book to study prior to our marriage.
    I Praise God for your uplifting message today
    A. Sisler

  • Jodi B

    Thank you! I am struggling right now. The idea that it is winter is incredibly helpful. Thank you! Thank you!

  • Mary Lu

    Thank you for reminding me that winter is as important as the other three seasons. There must be sunshine and rain to make a rainbow…

  • Laura

    I love the analogy here. best explanation I’ve heard. I think we are actually in the spring and fall right now. … much better than the winter we’ve been through though!

  • Liz Lacy

    We are in the Fall of transitions. Sending kids off to college and other kids changing schools, cross country practices, home work and our own jobs. It is hard to find time for each other, but we try even if it is little snippets here and there. We try to have a “wrap up” at the end of the day, even if it is a couple of minutes because we are tired.

  • Barbara Vega

    great article. Thanks

  • nitrocat

    Now flip the tables because everything that is in this article is how he is with me. I am the one that would be in that situation. I get compared to his exwife, I get old that I am lazy fat and I’m loving not compassionate. I could go on and on. I’d a marriage worth trying to save when all you get is bullied, browbeaten, undeminded, and just flat out verbally and men t ally abused? I have prayed about it so much but nothing has changed it has only gotten worse. The name calling I get and the name calling of my children that I have to hear. I don’t think that tha think his is a healthy one at all. And yes counseling has been suggested but he says no because he doesn’t have a problem and he won’t let me play tha think his he victim.