At one time or another, a church is going to have to deal with restoration in a marriage. Here are some principles that can be applied to any marriage in distress.
1) Establish small restoration teams for him and for her.
For him: accountability, prayer, intervention, encouragement, conversation
For her: listening, encouragement, prayer, check-ups (“How are you?”)
2) Each restoration team stays in daily contact with the couple at first, gradually moving to weekly updates and prayer.
For him: Daily use of B. Wilkinson’s Temptation Quotient to track daily ups and downs, exposes current vulnerability, and press toward obedience and victory. (See Personal Holiness in Times of Temptation, chapters 5-8).
3) Restoration team provides consistent scheduled updates to a church leader (i.e. pastoral staff or elder) for official communication and ability to consistently pray as church leaders.
Couple will remain in this church throughout the restoration process, though at first the couple does not have to attend together.
For him: rebuild your relationship with your wife – don’t even think about ministry.
For her: rest, heal, and receive from the church family without ministry demands for a time.
- Require long-term Christian marriage counseling.
- The church should consider subsidizing a portion of the counseling if the couple is/was part of ministry staff.
For him: Periodic (scheduled) meetings with a church leader. The church leadership must know how the couple is progressing – or not. Encouragement and affirmation play a major role in these meetings when things are going well.
- As progress is observed and stability begins to return, encourage individual or joint ministry activity with limitations to protect the rebuilding couple.
- After an appropriate time of proven renewal, church leadership opens ministry opportunity further, but reserves the right to adjust if needed. Objective: The continued growth and strengthening of the marriage in local ministry context.
- Complete restoration of the marriage formerly in distress.
- Renewed ministry based on restored healthy spiritual norms.
- Freedom in Christ.
A living demonstration of grace in action.
- Marriage Restoration: Under His Wings