I first loved the sound of the piano. Then, I tuned into the lyrics. I am a pastoral counselor who sees couples, and the verses of this song took me back to a session I had the day before. The song is “Broken Together” by Casting Crowns.
A young couple sat in front of me who once were deeply in love. Now, the very things that attracted them were repelling. I could see the disdain and distance. Her arms were tightly crossed against her chest and he engaged in eye rolling.
People are like magnets. Healthy people attract healthy people. Unhealthy people attract unhealthy people. She loved his laid back attitude when they were dating. He was so much fun. He was so amazed at how she was so goal oriented and organized. Two years later, she hated that he’d rather have fun than take care of their home. He resented her micromanaging and expectation that he pursue a more profitable job.
In reality, she grew up in a home where her dad never held a steady job but loved to take her fun places on weekends. He had a mom who nagged him constantly about getting better grades.
Now in marriage, he was trying to work out his mom issues through his wife and she was trying to work out her dad issues through her husband. What I had in front of me where two people who needed to learn how to be broken together.
“Marriage is tough,” says frontman Mark Hall of Casting Crowns. “We bring a lot of fairytales to the picture when it comes to marriage. We bring them to the altar with us [thinking]: ‘This is going to be perfect. We don’t have to be apart. We can just wake up together every morning and no one is going to have morning breath. We’re not going to have any problems.’ And then the problems hit and you don’t know where to file those into your picture. The idea I’m trying to say is: ‘Can you lay down who you thought I was and love the me that is? Can we take this from where we are now and realize that I can’t be that person?’ Only God is going to be able to make this work and broken people can be broken together.”
I’m not a music video junkie, but after hearing this song, I had to check it out. I was spellbound as I watched such a poignant replication of a couple heading toward divorce. I assign homework to my clients. I knew exactly what to assign to this couple: go home and watch “Broken Together” on YouTube.
It felt kind of sappy and I wasn’t sure how they would respond. The next day I had an email from each of them. They both were now ready to lay down their armor and engage in therapy. I thanked God for a chance to be part of saving another marriage. He had used this video to break down their walls and defenses.
Valentines’ Day is around the corner. What is the state of your marriage? Is it quite messy right now? Then, rather than buying your spouse flowers or a new tie for Valentines’ Day, why not set up an appointment for marriage counseling? We are not meant to heal alone. Let someone help you learn to be broken together.
*Details in this story have been changed and do not reflect any actual client.
Reconcilable Differences: Hope and Healing for Troubled Marriages by Virginia Todd Holeman (Paperback use pre formatted date that complies with legal requirement from media matrix) – October 1, 2004
The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert by John M. Gottman and Nan Silver (Paperback use pre formatted date that complies with legal requirement from media matrix) – May 16, 2000