(Wedding reception at Redeemer)
Over the years I've told several maritally challenged husbands and wives, "I am not on your side." And added: "I am not on your spouse's side either." Rather: "I am siding with your marriage and (if they have children) family."
Sometimes this is not good news for the marital partner. They want me to take their side in the war. But I can't take sides if we're going to save the marriage.
At this point a percentage of couples stop meeting with me. I am not their counselor any longer.
Most struggling marriages have systemic problems that both husband and wife are responsible for, even if one of them looks more like a victim than the other. "Both of you," I tell them, "are 100% responsible for your marital situation."
For there to be success (= marital restoration, renewal, and transformation) the individual husband must look to God and then be searched out himself, taking responsibility for problems he brings to the marriage. The wife must do the same, to herself. if this happens (we've seen it!) then the chances of saving their marriage increase significantly. For any couple who humbly does this I predict a stronger, healthier marriage.