There is no hope for my marriage. It can’t be fixed

​“There is no hope for my marriage. It can’t be fixed!” I hear this sentence several times a week. These are words spoken by really wonderful people, who really believe that the statement is true. They have been deeply hurt by their spouses and they believe that the level of pain is so great, that there is no way the marriage can recover. They have lost hope. When I begin to explore and go deeper with these individuals, sometimes I hear in their stories a hint of their wanting it to be different. Sometimes even though they are saying, “There is no hope” they are secretly praying that there is hope and that their marriage could be fixed. Sometimes they are saying it, and they really want to end the relationship. Regardless of where they are when they are talking to me, here are some guidelines and principles that I have used to help the individuals lean back into their marriage and rediscover hope.

  1. There is always hope. One of the most influential, inspirational books ever written has a quote spoken from an angel to a virgin who now finds herself pregnant, “With God, nothing is impossible”. While you may be feeling hopeless today, the truth is that tomorrow you may feel differently. The feeling of hopelessness is sometimes temporary. Sometimes the most hopeless situations, work out wonderfully if you don’t give up. The truth is, God can fix anything.
  2. I never undermine the pain. The pain and anger that these spouses are feeling is frequently legitimate and deep. The way to rediscover hope is never to minimize the pain. Deal with the pain first. The pathway to reconciliation is never found in pretending that the pain does not exist or sweeping serious issues under the carpet.
  3. Realize that people change. A belief that destroys the possibility of a great marriage is the belief that people do not change. This is evidenced by people saying things like, “You can’t teach old dog new tricks” or “You can’t take the stripes off of a zebra” or “Once a cheater, always a cheater”. If people were dogs and zebra’s this belief might be true, but the reality is that every one of us have potential to change. Frequently, the person who is holding onto this belief has experienced radical changes in their own lives. I say, “You have changed, why don’t you think your spouse can change?” This belief tries to lock people into their past and define them by their behaviors. People change all the time. I have seen serial cheaters, commit to their spouses, I have seen alcoholics, get sober, I have seen people with anger issues, become gentle non angry people, I have seen controlling people, surrender their need for control. People really do change. And I have seen couples fall back in love. There is always the potential for change.
  4. The reset on the marriage should never be found in the rearview marriage. The place to find hope is not by going backwards, but by going forward. Don’t try to heal your marriage by recreating the past, but begin to focus forward on creating a new marriage. When the offender has worked on their own issues and truly changed, when the offended has been given the time and opportunity to begin to trust these changes and releases the offenses through forgiveness, hope is restored.

I am a big believer that there is always hope. Having had the opportunity to work with hundreds of couples who have rediscovered hope and restored their marriages fuels my passion to help couples create phenomenal marriages even after hope has been lost.