Saturday, December 7, 2013 – Day 25: Love Forgives
This dare can often be the toughest one in the book. Yet if there is going to be any chance your marriage will work, this challenge has to be taken seriously. Forgiveness has to happen otherwise you will never have a successful marriage.
It painted a clear word picture. It said to imagine you’re in a prison-like setting. You look around you and behind bars you may see people from your past incarcerated. Maybe it houses friends who have hurt you in the past, a parent, a sibling. Maybe even your spouse is locked up. It said that this prison is confined within your own heart. It exists inside of you, every day. Yet you have the choice, you have the ability to set them free. But you may reason that all these people have hurt you in the past. They realized what they were doing and still made the choice to do it. So you keep the key and turn away. Yet, no matter where you go, there is no way out. By not forgiving and holding on to the anger and bitterness, you have made yourself a prisoner as well. It made an interesting statement saying “your own freedom is now dependent on your forgiveness.”
It can often take a long while to come to this realization. You see all the risks that come from offering forgiveness. Some may not even admit that they have done anything wrong; or even worse, they may blame you. Yet forgiveness offers a sense of peace for you. When you offer forgiveness, you aren’t saying they are innocent but you’re saving yourself from having to keep account of the wrong this person did and how best to ‘show them’ that you’re angry with them. It’s about freedom and choosing to let go.
When you make that step towards forgiveness, you feel free. The best way to start to let go is to pray. Ask for your anger and resentment to be lifted. We are implored that if we have something against a person, we need to forgive and then continue to forgive. Holding on to bitterness will only hurt you. It is essential that unforgiveness does not have a place in your marriage or relationship. This section ended with this statement “Great marriages are not produced by people who never hurt each other, only by people who daily choose to keep “no record of wrongs””.
Dare for day 25:
Questions for pondering: What did you forgive your spouse for today? How long have you been carrying the weight of it? What are the possibilities now that you’ve released this matter to God?
I think the thing I struggled with the most or was the hardest for me to hear during our separation and hardship was that he felt he had the inability to love me. It was a devastating blow to hear that he felt like he never really fully loved me or opened up to me. That is something that a person obviously wants in a marriage; to be loved and to feel loved. He still worries today about his ability to allow himself to fully open up to me emotionally and to be able to form that emotional attachment to me that I want and that he desires to be able to have with another person. This has been something that I’ve allowed to be my reason to view our relationship and marriage as ‘hopeless’. I rationalized, if Scott can never love me or open up to me fully, then what’s the point of this? I will never have the relationship and marriage that I want. Yet we had a talk the other night after one of our marriage counseling sessions. He expressed to me his desire and willingness to try and connect with me on a much deeper level and to really try to let me in. He said that a main reason why he had reservations in the past in trying was because he didn’t want to fail me or let me down if he wasn’t able to do so. He said that he still worries today that he may not be able to.
Instead of getting upset with his response and saying ‘well what on earth are we doing this for then?’ I stopped that negative train of thought and had a good conversation with him. I asked what it takes to have a strong, emotionally-deep relationship with a person. How does one form that type of relationship? He said that it is something that takes time. It’s not something that can easily be formed but needs to slowly build and grow. I told him that instead of worrying about his potential inability to not be able to connect with me, he should get the negative thinking out of his mind. Instead I told him to forget the ‘what-ifs’ and focus on just trying to reconnect with me. Our relationship has been rough for one reason or another since the beginning of our marriage and now we are both in a much better place individually as well as jointly. So I told him that we need to just start new. We need to start working to form a stronger relationship with one another now, both of us, together. Only then, only given the time and energy and effort on both of our parts will we know for sure if he can really form that type of connection with me. Yes it’s a risk. I could find out that I give 100% and try, only to learn that he can’t connect with me on that deep of a level. But I think it’s a risk I want and need to take. I see the potential for our relationship to really bloom and grow into a relationship that I never thought it could. Even in these last few weeks I’ve already seen him grow and open up to me in more ways than I had in the past. That alone gives me confidence to keep pushing forward and to give this relationship everything I’ve got.
Day 25 down, 15 to go!