A Tender Heart

Of course, repentance and reconciliation are the goals of a broken Christian marriage.

A good place to start towards this goal is to bask awhile in the sunshine of God’s love.  Think about great truths such as election, redemption, justification, sanctification…. in personal terms…applied to yourself. Think about the love it took for Jesus to go through with the cross–love for the Father to whom he had made a promise and love for you.  Now this is not easy when emotions are raw and your whole life is turned upside down.  But, get control of yourself and go back to the scriptures:

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!  How vast is the sum of them! (Psalm 139:17).


But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head (Psalm 3:3).


For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).


You will say in that day: “I will give thanks to you, O LORD, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, that you might comfort me.  “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation” (Isaiah 12:1-2).


But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:26-28).


And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us; and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).


What then shall we say to these things?  If God is for us, wh0 can be against us? ….For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come,…will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).


In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth (Ephesians 1:7-9).


What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you?  Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?…Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  Be wretched and mourn and weep.  Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you (James 4:1-10).

Seeing God’s great love for us helps us to see our rightful place before him.  There is a grateful respect and a “Godly fear.”  Repentance is facing ourselves squarely and being broken and sorry for what we are really like; what we have done, pursued, said.  When your heart is made tender like this, you become determined to change.  You are willing to take responsibility and to be held accountable to those changes by someone you trust.  You are sorry you have offended God.

Repentance like this can lead to reconciliation.  Christian marriage is a two-way street. In the long run, it takes two tender hearts to mend a Christian union. What about your husband?  Is he willing to warm himself in God’s love?  Do the simple truths of scripture cause him to cry out for God’s mercy; his heart broken and sorrowful?  Will he go along with an accountability plan?  Does he show signs of true change?  Do you see evidence that he, like you, has the Holy Spirit to give him power to work toward making this marriage work?  Is he bruised and broken but with a little struggling faith?  If that is the case, there is hope because:

…a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory; and in his name the Gentiles will hope (Matthew 12:10-21; Isaiah 42:1-3).

The bruised reed is the heart made tender through conviction of sin that leads to repentance because of a Godly fear. A smoldering wick is a little bit of true faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and his forgiveness.  The way of bringing justice to victory is through submission to the government of Christ, to obedience to his word.  When this takes place, there is well -grounded hope that this marriage will be saved.

Two tender hearts are the keys to reconciliation and rebuilding a Christian marriage.

(I have taken the concepts of the tender heart, the bruised reed, and basking in the love of God from an English Puritan, Richard Sibbes.  He was a contemporary of Queen Elizabeth and William Shakespeare.  He died in 1635.  If you go to my Resources and click Banner of Truth, you can buy his books.)


About Carol Brandt

I earned a B.A. in History from Florida State University and M.Ed in.Higher Education from Florida Atlantic University. I taught high school social studies before “retiring” to full-time homemaking and raising two daughters. Now I love being a grandmother to four boys and a girl. I have also raised five collies.

My husband, John, was an optometrist, who worked tirelessly for his profession through private practice and as a consultant, and served on the Board of Trustees of Illinois College of Optometry for twenty years.

Ernest Reisinger was my chief mentor in this warm-hearted application of Calvinism. He gave me many books! The Founders Journal and Founders Conferences, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, and Charles Spurgeon have been other sources of Reformed thinking as well as the other warm-hearted ones listed in my book, “Warm-hearted Calvinists.”

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