Marriage Problems

How to Heal a Wounded Heart


“We long for a great marriage. Amazing marriages happen when two people are wholeheartedly engaged inside their covenant relationship. Being fully open allows love (along with peace, patience, kindness, goodness…) to flow freely between spouses. Life circumstances and significant people have a way of wounding us. Our job is to heal these wounds so we can get back to whole-hearted engagement.”

Here are the steps I recommends to open the door to your heart:

Identify the Wounds and Messages: We must identify the wounds and messages that have attacked our hearts. Use this list of key words to help you identify any lies that have been inscribed on your heart.

  • Rejected
  • Abandoned
  • Disconnected
  • Failure
  • Not Chosen
  • Helpless
  • Powerless
  • Inadequate
  • Inferior
  • Invalidated
  • Unloved
  • Undesirable
  • Not Good Enough
  • Worthless
  • Devalued
  • Unaccepted
  • Judged
  • Ignored
  • Unimportant
  • Misunderstood
  • Wrongly Portrayed
  • Disrespected
  • Unwanted
  • Defective

This is deep, tough stuff, so here are a few recommendations you may find helpful when identifying what’s blocking your heart:

a. Don’t go it alone. Pray. Ask God to help you.

b.Think back over your childhood—specifically recall any traumatic events, disappointments, or times you were hurt or scared. What were you feeling? Did you tell yourself anything? What message did you receive from the incident?

c.Recall a recent conflict with your spouse. What were you feeling? Was it any of the feelings on the list?

1. Replace the Message with the Truth: Just because you know the truth from the lie doesn’t mean the battle is over.

God is the only one who can erase what has been etched on your heart. He will reveal His truth about you when you seek Him. You can do this by praying and reading His Word.

2. Nurture and Care for your Heart: The wounded heart needs consistent attention and care—especially while your wounds are still healing. Here are some ways you can nurture your heart:

  • Maintain a close relationship with God
  • Memorize scripture so you can remember the truth about who you are!
  • Learn how to identify when your heart is open or closed
  • Take notice of your feelings throughout the day and put a name to them
  • Validate your own feelings
  • Whenever you are feeling something get inquisitive. Ask, “I wonder why I’m feeling that way.”
  • Find healthy ways to manage your emotions
  • Offer loving correction to someone when they offend or hurt you.
  • Build healthy relationships with people who give you a safe place to open your heart.
  • Become aware of your likes and dislikes.
  • Laugh more
  • Accept compliments from others.
  • Learn to set boundaries.

Dr. Greg Smalley serves as executive director of Marriage and Family Formation at Focus on the Family and is passionate to equip premarital and married couples with the knowledge, skills and insights necessary to enjoy a lifetime together.



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