How to heal a hurting marriage


We all crave the gentle companionship marriage seems to offer, but no doubt Hollywood left out some of the crucial information about what real romance looks like. Not only do we want to share life’s joys, we want a companion who whispers gently to our pain in life’s sorrows.

Learning the gentle art of companionship allows us to strategically enhance our most crucial relationships and even heal a hurting marriage. The truth is we can find our own happy place.

Only a week before our 31st anniversary, David and his siblings went to the funeral home. They chose hymns and asked a friend to do a eulogy. Back at home, David held up two ties, his brain too foggy to choose one for his mother’s funeral. We stood together outside in the sparkling Texas sunshine at the cemetery.

Then, David and I flew to Key West to celebrate our anniversary. We checked in, pulled back the covers, and crashed for about 36 hours, too tired to move a muscle. Then, ever so slowly, we began to talk in gentle whispers. We spoke of his mom’s victories, of the kids she raised, and of the things she didn’t get done.

Marriage should be more than sorrow, of course. It is also indescribable delight. In a world that tells us marriage is doomed, how do we get past the lies to the real truth? A handful of strategies can maneuver almost any marriage to a better place.

#1 Transform Arguments into Conversations - With a gentle question any argument, even recurring ones, can be transformed into a conversation. By asking a gentle, unbiased question, you quickly cut through the rhetoric to find out what is really happening in your spouse's heart.

#2 Learn to Negotiate like an Oil Tycoon - To be a great negotiator, first know what you want. Knowing what you want can be the hardest part. Armed with an iPad and a few quiet moments, though, you can start a list. By sunset this evening, you can be a better negotiator.

#3 Recognize that intimacy is more than sex. - It is so easy to think that intimacy means sex. Oneness in marriage includes physical, emotional, and spiritual intimacy, too. When we see the twinkle in the eyes of aged couples who still tenderly cling to each other, we know they have experienced the whole package.

Who will hold our hand and hold their breath with us as our children grow up? Will anyone recognize when the tiny smile on a newborn grandchild looks just like yours? Will someone groan in prayer with you for the future of your family?

All marriages hurt along the way, but rich fellowship forms in the conversations, negotiations, and dreams that make life beautiful.

Cathy Primer Krafve, aka Checklist Charlie, lives and writes with a Texas twang. For more strategies to heal a hurting marriage, go to


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