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Articles by Mark Merrill


Mark Merrill

Mark Merrill is the founder and president of Family First, a widely respected national non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening the family. read bio

4 Steps to Marriage CPR

You feel like your marriage has flat lined.  You can’t find a pulse.  Does a breath of life even remain?

When a person needs resuscitation, the signs are obvious.  They stop breathing, they’re non-responsive.  It’s easy to see that the person displaying these symptoms needs immediate help.  In marriage, the symptoms that a relationship requires life-saving measures are sometimes difficult to detect.  Couples learn to adapt and function despite their critical status.  But functioning in a marriage is not what you and your spouse really want. You want to thrive.  So, how can you bring a dying relationship back to life?  It’s time to administer some marital CPR by doing four things.

First, be patient.

It took time for your relationship to need resuscitation; it will take time for it to get well again.  Don’t expect overnight results when you start the process of reviving your marriage.

Second, be determined.

Choose to be committed to each other for life, no matter what, and work together with zeal to heal the relationship.  Couples that have been married for 30, 40, 50 years or longer will all tell you the same thing.  They agreed to work together, through any and every problem, period.  For them, there was no other option.  That determination to keep working through things together can pump life back into the heart of your marriage.

Third, forgive and accept forgiveness.

The failure to give or receive forgiveness accounts for many marriages that do not endure. Those simple words, "I was wrong, will you please forgive me?" can be strong enough to resuscitate a dying relationship.  Giving forgiveness is hard at times.  No question.  But accepting forgiveness can be even more difficult, especially if you haven’t moved past the wrong you’ve committed.

Fourth, pursue truth.

Communicate openly and honestly. Being direct with your expectations, hurts and experiences, and working through them together is essential to rebuilding trust in a relationship.  It will breathe new life into your marriage.

What have you done to revive your marriage?  What worked?  What didn’t?  Share in the comments below.

Related Resource: 4 C's That Can Spell Catastrophe in Your Marriage


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© 2011 Mark Merrill. All rights reserved. Originally published at


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