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Marriage in Trouble? How to Help Yourself or a Friend

Dr. Kenworthy’s Proven Approach to Saving Marriages 

Before the Last Resort – 3 Simple Questions to Rescue Your Marriage is a slim book that packs a powerful punch.  Through my work with Dr. George Kenworthy, I believe he designed the book to be used by one whose marriage was in trouble, or better still, as a resource to help a hurting friend. The book promises hope that a marriage can be restored, even in the most desperate of circumstances, and it is filled with stories of couples whose lives testify to that truth. 

The examples are the true experiences of couples Dr. Kenworthy counseled in his more than 30 years of pastoral ministry.  During his most recent experience in Minneapolis, he and his team of trained coaches saw, “God heal about 90% of the marriages of all the couples we counseled,” according to the book’s introduction.  And those marriages had, “deep, hardcore problems.  Couples ensnared in a thick web of deceit, adultery, physical or verbal abuse.”   

How, might you ask, has Dr. Kenworthy’s team succeeded where others have fallen short?  Dr. Kenworthy founds his counseling approach on a couple’s willingness to agree to three simple things:  

  • Believe that there is a God
  • Be willing to apply the principles of the Bible to their lives
  • Pray for God to strengthen themselves and their spouse

This simple agreement opens the door to the presence of God to work powerfully to change hearts and minds, even and especially, those grown cold toward each other or deeply entrenched in destructive attitudes and behaviors.  The first few pages describe why one should believe God cares about the state of their marriage and has the desire and power to intervene.  It encourages the reader to pray to God for love, strength and fullness.  The presence of God is the “secret sauce” that makes this book, and Dr. Kenworthy’s approach, more than just another volume of “tips and tricks” to improve marriage.  

Would a non-religious person be interested in appealing to a God in whom they may or not believe? Would those participating in what the religious world would call “sin” be willing to risk the idea that God might want them to change their behavior?  

Surprisingly, Dr. Kenworthy says yes.  “When people are hurting and desperate, they are looking for a lifeline,” he says, “and they are not put off by the help coming from a religious source. They don’t care that it’s Jesus, they care that it works. They instinctively believe the church is a place they can find help with marriage and parenting problems.”  

The book also offers a handful of useful, practical tools for couples to address some of the obstacles that have created the “soft” problems in marriage.  Techniques can be taught to overcome lack of communication, sexual intimacy issues, male/female differences, and to learn to fight fairly.   

Dr. Kenworthy believes that even a practice as simple as the suggested communication date becomes more successful when another is walking alongside to coach best practices and hold a couple accountable for outcomes.  And the hard problems —overcoming addiction, abuse, or an ongoing affair, rebuilding trust and eventually rekindling love between spouses —requires a skilled, trained practitioner meeting regularly with a couple.   

Because marital restoration has the best chance for success when undergirded with external support, the book includes a Help-Me-Help-My-Friend guide.  The last third of the book contains a short manual that outlines in great detail how a concerned individual can walk alongside their friend through the previous chapters.  The simple plan, beginning with appealing to the strength and power of God, is presented in eight steps to guide someone as they help another get their marriage back on track.   

Many have felt helpless watching a loved one struggle in marriage and wished for a game plan of what to say and do.  The guide provides just that, allowing one who feels called to step forward in confidence, knowing they are equipped with effective tools endorsed by the leading relationship experts.  

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