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How To Begin Reconciliation in a Relationship: Real Talk

How do you reconcile a relationship? When someone has hurt you, or broken trust with you, but there is a deep love or a strong connection, this is a normal question. That is why we must understand the steps to reconciliation in a relationship that follows forgiveness.

What Is Reconciliation in a Relationship?

In life, when sinful people live in relationships with other sinful people, hurt happens. Whether intentional or accidental, hurting people hurt people they love and care about.

Some of those hurts are so deep they break the relationship. Other times the offenses compound or are repeated and build up to a point that they break things.

When that happens we begin to think about what reconciliation in a relationship looks like and means.

Define Reconciliation

To reconcile means to restore, to make one thing consistent with another thing.

Let’s take Biblical reconciliation for example. When God reconciled us, He sent Jesus to die in our place. We owed a debt for the sin committed in our lifetime. The scales of eternity were off balance. The shed blood of Jesus Christ now balances the other side so that one side is consistent with the other.

Through salvation, we are restored to a right relationship with God.

Reconciliation Relationship Meaning

How does that compare with human relationships? How do you reconcile, restore, or balance things out in a relationship where one sinful, flawed human has hurt another?

There are actually several steps involved in the reconciliation of relationships. But before you walk through the steps you need to fully understand the reconciliation relationships meaning.

The meaning is about finding a way to balance things in a broken relationship. Reconciliation is about balancing the scales. Either removing the hurt from one side or adding something to the other so it is aligned again.

Reconciliation in a relationship is about balance and restoration…

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What The Bible Says About Reconciliation in a Relationship

Of course, the Bible talks about the importance of reconciliation. God initiated the first reconciliation in Genesis and throughout the Old and New Testament, He pursued His people to do the same.

The First Reconciliation

“And the Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.” (Genesis 3:21 NASB)

Adam and Eve had sinned. Trust had been broken. The Lord spoke with them and had a very difficult conversation. God set out consequences and boundaries. Then He made a sacrifice of blood to cover them.

That was the ultimate act of reconciliation in a relationship for all future generations

Broken Relationships Separate Us From God

“Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go;

First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.” (Matthew 5:23-24 NASB)

God cares about mending broken relationships. He cares that we have a clean heart before Him before we bring an offering. That’s a big deal. 

Remember, though that as we work through this process of reconciliation, you are only responsible for your part. You can do all the right things and still not be able to balance the relationship.

Reconciliation in a relationship is about balance and restoration… Share on X

Be Persistent

“For while you are going with your opponent to appear before the magistrate, on your way there make an effort to settle with him, so that he may not drag you before the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison.” (Luke 12:58 NASB)

How long do you fight for reconciliation? Even on the path to court…

Those divorce papers do not have to mean it is finished. Keep praying, keep pursuing!

Now to be completely transparent here, you must know that I am a divorced woman. So believe me when I say that I am not judging you. Nor am I living under any delusion that every situation can be reconciled.

Some relationships simply can not be restored. But some can!

Regardless, we are instructed to keep working on this thing until a clear outcome has been reached.

All that is required of you, before God, is that you try. If you do your part and things can not be restored, you are right before God.

The Ministry of Reconciliation

“Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation…” (2 Corinthians 5:18 NSB)

I am a non confrontational person. Often, in my past, when I was hurt, rather than working on things, I would just walk away.

But God doesn’t walk away from us. He crossed heaven just to restore us to a right relationship with Him. And He wants us to do the same. Not because we need oodles of relationships, but because every time we pursue reconciliation it shows a lost world of God’s love.

As Christians, we are called to try to restore things between friends, relatives, and especially in marriage.

Questions About Reconciling Relationships

I get a lot of questions about how to begin reconciling relationships. Often when writing I share questions other people ask. That is because I never want you to feel alone like you are the only one working on this issue.

You are NOT alone in this!

  • Is reconciliation possible after a breakup?
  • What are the 4 stages of reconciliation?
  • How is reconciliation important in a relationship?
  • When should you reconcile a relationship?
  • How long does it take to reconcile a relationship?
  • What makes a man what to reconcile?

Let’s take these questions one at a time.

Is Reconciliation Possible After Breakup?

It is possible to reconcile after a breakup. Of course, anytime both parties are willing to do the work, reconciliation in a relationship is possible.

But let me ask you a serious question. Two really.

Are you married or dating?

If you are married, reconciliation is the best goal as long as the offense is not abuse. Why? Because marriage binds you in ways nothing else does. Not fighting for your marriage will hurt more in the end.

If you are only dating, is it worth the investment?

Instead of jumping right to how to reconcile a relationship after a breakup, think long and hard over how this has gone. Seriously, if you are just dating and the offense was big, really consider and pray over this. Chances are if trust is broken so seriously while dating, you may be best moving on.

If, however, it is a relationship worth saving, follow the stages at the end of this for how to reconcile a relationship after break up!

How is Reconciliation Important in a Relationship?

If trust has been broken, reconciliation is critical for a relationship to continue in a healthy way. Critical.

In Christian circles, all too often, we believe that forgiveness is all that matters. And yes, we must forgive, but forgiveness only resolves things between us and God. The human relationship is still damaged.

If you stop with forgiveness, if you do not rebuild trust, and restore balance, the relationship will end. It is that important!

When Should You Reconcile a Relationship?

Some relationships will not be reconciled on this side of eternity. Oh how I wish that was not true, but we are fallen, broken, sinful people.

  • If you were abused, that relationship may not be able to be saved.
  • When infidelity happens, that relationship may not be able to be saved.
  • Friendships, where deep betrayal takes place, may not be able to be reconciled.
  • When there is addiction, reconciliation may not happen.

Hear the MAY NOT piece in this. Honestly, it may be possible. God is big. He can work miraculously to restore so many things!

If both parties are willing to rebuild trust, reconciliation is possible. Where healthy boundaries can be set and respected, reconciliation is possible.

Through prayer, I have seen God change hearts to bring unwilling partners to deeply desire change. It can happen! Don’t lose hope!

Related Post: 3 Obstacles to Overcome with Sex in a Christian Marriage as a Rape Victim

How Long Does It Take to Reconcile a Relationship?

I wish there were a hard and fast timeframe around reconciliation. The truth is, that some relationships reconcile quickly while others take years.

You will know when the relationship is repaired by being sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Some tests to know when you are healed:

  • When you are praying for them without anger.
  • If you feel you can share deeper things with them.
  • When physical touch is not emotionally painful.
  • If you see them you want to engage instead of retreat.

Give it time and trust the process.

Related Post: Religious Intolerance in the Bible and What to Do About It

What Makes a Man Want to Reconcile?

The power of God at work changing his heart. That is the short answer.

People often just want to take the shortest path back to their comfort. That is true of both men and women. However, I find that wives are more sensitive to hardships in marriage and so may see the need well before their spouse.

Men are often focused on their work and the task-oriented pieces of their home life. While that is an oversimplification and not always the case, it is often at least how wives see things. And so it makes perfect sense that a husband may not even realize there has been broken trust.

Difficult Conversations

Part of making a man want reconciliation is having a difficult conversation. Maybe you have been working to forgive. You thought that would fix things, but you are still hurting in your marriage. Does your husband even realize your pain?

Talk to him. Pray over him. Let God motivate him to want change and balance.

He can’t fix what he doesn’t know is broken.

Use this guide on how to have difficult conversations.

Make sure he understands how you feel, but more importantly, set out a clear path to how to heal. We will talk about that in a moment.

Remember that men need practical steps and real ways to measure improvement!

Related Post: A Wife’s True Story: Knowing The Importance of Forgiveness in Marriage Leads To Blessing

What are the 4 Stages of Reconciliation?

There is no way to narrow the stages of reconciliation down to just four. Honestly, it is just not that simple. Yes, there are clear stages along the pathway, but I would say there are more like 12-ish stages.

And please remember that they do not go in a straight line!

A Series on Reconciliation in a Relationship

This is the beginning of a mini-series. Why a series rather than one long article? Because the process of reconciliation is not something to rush and I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information.

Links to follow for:

But First, Forgiveness

Before you really start working toward reconciliation, you must work through forgiveness. Getting these things backward will sabotage your efforts.

We have spent weeks learning about Biblical forgiveness. Without forgiving the offense, reconciliation is impossible. We have learned so far that to forgive you must:

  1. What Is Forgiveness and Why Is It Important?
  2. 7 Ways to Embrace the Power of Forgiveness
  3. Unforgiveness: What Happens When I Refuse To Forgive
  4. The Ancient of Days, Meaning God will Judge: The Way To Forgiveness
  5. How To Forgive Others: 5 Characteristics of Spiritual Maturity You Need
  6. How To Forgive Anyone Anything In 7 Steps
  7. Embrace pre-forgiveness

Truth and Reconciliation in a Relationship

One last thing before we wrap up today. Part of the reason it is so important to work through the process of reconciliation is truth.

When we just forgive and hope things will change, if the offense was big or is repeated… we are not being truthful. Not with ourselves, not with our partner or friend.

For a relationship to grow and thrive we must be people who are truthful. We must speak the truth in love.

When you speak the truth, no matter how difficult that might be, it allows hope and healing to spring up. Truth allows everyone’s character to grow. Truth is a beautiful healing balm in relationships.

Prayer for Reconciliation in a Relationship

Father God, I ask for a blessing on every reader today in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Help us be people who speak the truth in love. Teach us how to forgive and how to move forward toward reconciliation. You have given us the ministry of reconciliation, so please empower us to walk in it daily.

Give us boldness to throw off fear as we pursue your will in this area. Teach us to be more like You as you are the Master Reconciler. Be glorified through our lives and relationships I pray.

in Jesus’ name,


Will You Pursue Reconciliation in a Relationship Today?

Today is the day. You have been working hard to begin forgiving the hard parts of this relationship. Will you now begin to pursue reconciliation in a relationship?

Knowing what we now know about what the Bible says about reconciliation, you can work on reconciling a toxic relationship. Honestly, you can learn how to reconcile a relationship with a family member, co-worker, church friend, and even your spouse.

Reconciliation in marriage has been the most tricky for me, but it is worth the effort.

Will you begin the process today?

Start praying over this and keep an eye out for the next part.

in HIS love,

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Tiffany Montgomery

Tiffany of Hope Joy in Christ inspires Christian Women to grow in faith, live out Biblical Marriage Principles and raise Godly Children.  Join the Wives Only Facebook Group here or keep up with her through Pinterest.