There are pastoral resources available for when one spouse desires to remain faithful in a marriage without the support of the other spouse. This can be a very life-giving and fruitful path of discipleship, and this choice can, much more often than most people realize, lead to the result of the healing and restoration of a marriage.
Ministries and resources that I have personally found helpful are:
Covenant Keepers, Inc. This ministry is led by Koji and Deanne Bell whose marriage was restored after infidelity, separation and impending divorce. Previously, it was led by a couple named Rex and Carolyn Johnson, whose marriage was restored after 12 years of divorce and another relationship for Rex (their testimony can be found here). The strength of this ministry is the small group fellowship that is available through in-person and online groups. They also have an email newsletter and yearly conferences. I have been a member of one of their small groups for several years and have been very blessed by it. Posts I have contributed: A Prayer for Marriage, On Forgiveness
Rejoice Marriage Ministries This ministry was founded by a couple, Bob and Charlyne Steinkamp, whose marriage was restored after long-term difficulties, infidelity and 2 years of being divorced (now led by Charlyne after Bob died. Their testimony can be found here.) They offer daily devotionals, regular podcasts, and an abundance of teaching, resources, and testimonies, much of which is available free on their website and app. The power of testimony available through this ministry has been life-changing for my understanding of what is possible.
Gerald and Yvette Ministries founded by a couple with a restored marriage which included pornography and drug addiction. There are free resources on this website, including prayer modeling and encouragement in the Media section with links to regular video posts and a podcast. They also have a book store and offer one-on-one and group mentoring programs. Their testimony can be found here.
Ministries that I am aware of, but do not have direct personal experience with:
Undone Redone A ministry that helps families dealing with pornography, sexual addiction and betrayal founded by a couple whose marriage ended in divorce due to pornography addiction and betrayal, but whose marriage was eventually restored. An interview with co-founder Melodie Lovvorn can be read here.
Retrouvaille A Catholic marriage support program for marriages in crisis. I haven’t had direct experience with them, but they have been recommended as a good program.
There are many testimonies of restored marriages that are available. Rejoice Marriage Ministries has a vast repository of written testimonies available online, as well as recorded testimonies available through their podcast and bookstore. Covenant Keepers, Inc. is also planning to begin a repository of online testimonies. Youtube can also be a source.
Interview of husband sharing testimony of a restored marriage – This testimony is helpful in many ways, but particularly in how it also illuminates the importance of the community dimension in helping marriages heal and stay healed.
Impossible Marriages Redeemed Leila Millar, LCB Publishing, 2020 – A compilation of testimonies of marriages that have experienced healing and restoration.
The Child’s Point of View – A perspective that is too often left out of the discussion
Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce Elizabeth Marquart, Three Rivers Press, 2005 – In this book, Marquart, herself a child of divorce, shares her extensive research into the unseen emotional and spiritual effects reported by children of divorce who reach adulthood without becoming “statistics”, but who, none-the-less, were profoundly affected.
Marriage and Equality: How Marriage Upholds Equality for Children Jennifer Johnson, Ruth Institute, 2017 – Johnson speaks of her experience growing up a child of divorce, and how family structure bears on equality and equal opportunity for children.
Primal Loss: The Now Adult Children of Divorce Speak Leila Millar, LCB Publishing, 2017 – A compilation of 70 adult children of divorce who share how divorce has affected them.
Them Before Us – An organization dedicated to including the needs and rights of children in the debate on family structure. Book written by organization founder Katy Faust and Stacy Manning: Them Before Us, Post Hill Press, 2021.
The Marriage Project – sociological research, perspectives and statistics on marriage and family
Love sense: The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships Sue Johnson, Little Brown and Company, 2013 – A look at the role of childhood attachment and attachment dynamics in the marriage relationship, written from a secular perspective, but it emphasizes the vital importance of commitment and stability in healthy attachment.
An Artistic Perspective
Interview with Makoto Fujimura – Artist Makoto Fujimura describes the Japanese art form of mending broken pottery called Kintsugi in which broken pottery vessels can become renewed as containers and works of art through a technique that uses lacquer dusted with gold. Fujimura also speaks in important ways about trauma and the process of healing.
“The whole vision of St. John Paul II comes from an extreme closeness to the human situation. And that certainly means closeness to man’s wounds. But, above all, it means a closeness to the most original experience of man, which is not that of being wounded, but of being loved by God and made capable by him of a loving response. That is why John Paul II, before seeing the wounds, saw the greatness of man thanks to the redemption wrought by Jesus Christ. It was in this light that he spoke of his “faith in man.” The distinction is not between those who see wounds and those who see only cold doctrines. The distinction instead lies between those, on the one hand, who only see wounds and, given man’s impotence to go it alone, try to justify it; and those who see, together with and before the wounds, God’s great call to man, and man’s capacity to be redeemed by God and to build a great and beautiful life, the one that God has always wanted for him. Two radically different ways of engaging in pastoral work flow from these visions. The first, seeing only insurmountable wounds, tries to tolerate them: it measures man according to his weakness and his fall. The other way, seeing God’s great call, tries to help man to mature so that he might be capable of responding in love.”
Livio Melina, Former President (2006-2016) and Professor of Moral Theology (1991-2019) at the John Paul II Institute for Studies in Marriage and Family, Rome, Italy, excerpt from an interview translated and published in Life Site News, Aug. 5, 2019