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    Women's Retreat Sierra Pines Church Oakhurst
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    Women's Retreat Fowler Presbyterian Church Oakhurst
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Sierra Pines Church

12 Ways to Turn Your Pain into Praise

Sapphires from Psalms

Better Than Jewels

Here are some useful tools from the recently published, Kingdom Marriage by Tony Evans. Curiously, I believe they will work for an adversarial populace as well. (Except for the date night part. That would be weird.) But it wouldn’t be weird if, just like in marriage, we could look a what we have in common with each other rather than what is driving us apart.

Ejecting the offense

Biblical forgiveness means you release your spouse from a debt owed to you. Forgiveness is not contingent on how you feel about your spouse. It is a choice to no longer blame your spouse for an offense.  1 Corinthians 13:5 details this in a most straightforward way: Biblical love "keeps no record of wrongs" (NIV). Biblical love doesn't justify wrong, nor does it ignore wrong, excuse it or pretend it doesn't exist. All of those types of responses to wrongdoing would lead to enablement. Rather, biblical love acknowledges and addresses the wrong and then forgives and releases it. I've been in counseling sessions with some couples who bring up things that were said or done not only years ago but decades ago. When I hear this — and it happens far too often — I sigh inside because I know that the roots of bitterness and unforgiveness run deep.

One of the better analogies for forgiveness is comparing it to ejecting a DVD or Blu-ray Disc from a player. You can't play two discs simultaneously. You must eject the first disc to play the second. Likewise in marriage, you can't experience a healthy, thriving relationship with your spouse if you keep replaying whatever he or she did to anger you. You have to eject that offense and replace it with love. You have to turn the offense over to God and replace your thoughts of anger, hurt and pain with thoughts of thanksgiving — gratitude that God has given you the faith and ability to be released from the stronghold of unforgiveness.

Resolving anger

You may be surprised at the advice I give when I encounter a lack of forgiveness. I've seen this method work in countless marriages, and I believe in its effectiveness because it addresses the unresolved anger that often feeds our failure to forgive. Arguments frequently become so toxic and volatile in their language and tone that they drive a deeper wedge of division into the marriage. So this is what I propose for couples who are in a marriage with unresolved anger:

Say or do something every day that expresses value to your spouse. This might be a note, an unexpected phone call, a hug or a time of cuddling. Married couples are good at doing big things on birthdays, anniversaries or Valentine's Day, but they often neglect small, consistent ways of expressing that they value each other.

Pray daily for and with each other. This is a specific time for you to come together — holding hands or holding each other, kneeling beside the bed or sitting on the couch — and pray aloud for your marriage. This is not an opportunity to hash out differences by bringing them before the Lord in prayer. It's a time to pray that God will bless your spouse and that He will bless the two of you together with His grace and mercy.

Date regularly. By date, I mean doing something fun together every other week, if not more often. It doesn't count if you're just grabbing dinner at a restaurant because neither of you feels like cooking. Too many marriages get caught up in drudgery or routine, and spouses lose the joy they once shared.

Comments

November 13, 2016 @09:04 pm

I really appreciate this one!!!! I’d like to forward to my daughter.

Elaine
November 13, 2016 @09:02 pm

Thank you. Just read this to my husband. After 54 yrs sometimes we take the easy way around. Going to employ more of the good tools God gives us. You are special!

Diane
 

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