My husband and I have been enjoying one of our longest streaks of marital satisfaction – ever! After 21 years of marital harmony AND disharmony, marital accord AND wanting to strangle him with a cord (Lol!), we are finally beginning to get this marriage thing right more often than wrong.
We are both learning to side-step emotional landmines and not set off each other’s “Oh no you didn’t!” triggers. We are caring more, hurting each other less, and trying to live for each other more than for ourselves.
There were some hot-button topics in our marriage that seemed to take us down every time they came up. We had to hash them out. I had to kick and scream. We had to get Biblical counsel. I eventually had to forgive.
Over the years, God has really begun to deal with my heart about loving and responding to my husband in a God honoring way – even when it’s hard . . . ahem . . . really hard!
And I was doing pretty well (by God’s grace) for a moment there. This moody, emotional, default set to critical woman that I am, has been smiling and laughing and touching and genuinely enjoying my husband – that is, until recently, when I was reminded of the past (by a well-meaning person) and one of those emotional triggers – that I thought had been diffused – was instantly set-off.
I immediately felt an overwhelming sense of hurt and despair.
In that moment, I felt like I didn’t know who my husband was. The same man who I delighted in just moments before. The pain was disorienting.
Had he said anything to set off this reaction? No.
Had he behaved unseemly towards me? No.
Had he even done something that hurt me unintentionally? No!
All that had happened was that an old, unwelcome acquaintance from my past came to revisit me . . .
It hadn’t come kicking my hearts door in. It came by means of a whisper, but that whisper was enough . . . enough to seep deep down into the crevices of my heart and upload all of the emotional wounds that I thought had been erased forever.
And honestly, in that very moment I didn’t know who I was. I didn’t recognize myself – and it scared me. Whatever was beginning to happen in my heart was in direct contrast to the person I was (and the way I felt) just moments ago.
I felt as if my emotions had been hijacked and were being held hostage!
My heart was closing towards my husband and I was slipping back into a dark and painful place. I had to make a choice – and fast!
I had to choose to dismiss the unforgiveness in Jesus’ name or entertain it and let its poison destroy all that my husband and I had worked so hard to rebuild.
If I were to tell you that it was an easy choice to make, I’d be lying.
If I told you that I buried my face into my pillow and cried a desperate cry, I’d be telling the truth.
I cried out to God and asked him for the strength I lacked to do what was right – to forgive my husband – again.
And still, I felt powerless. (Help!)
Not powerless because the Lord doesn’t answer prayer, but powerless because of my hardened heart. I wasnt ready to forgive.
But when I come to the end of my strength, the Lord’s strength is made perfect . . .
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinlthians 12:9a)
And I know when we ask God for things in accordance with His will, He answers our cry . . .
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. (1 Jon 5:14)
Forgiveness is according to His will.
Unfortunately, my fellowship (and marital-bliss-streak) with my husband was interrupted while I wrestled with the Lord (I wish it weren’t that way!), but thankfully, eventually I bowed my heart and my will and I came around to what Scripture required of me as and godly wife.
Still, there have been times when unforgiveness came to hijack my heart, and I didn’t fight it off. I didn’t wrestle with it. I welcomed and entertained it – for days! And it wreaked havoc in my marriage (and my home) until I finally decided that it had to go. But what a waste of time?
Here’s what I’ve learned…
I cannot please God and embrace unforgiveness.
I cannot entertain unforgiveness and have a good marriage.
The sooner I let it go, the better.
Here are 5 Action Steps for When Your Heart is Hijacked by Unforgiveness:
♥ Recognize when your fellowship is broken – As soon as you sense your heart hardening towards your husband and you begin to treat him differently – take action!
♥ Cry out to God – Most of us are unable to release deep-seated hurt and respond supernaturally (love people who have hurt us) without divine intervention.
♥ Wrestle with the pain – Don’t succumb to the pain. Don’t let your anger soothe the pain. If you find yourself struggling to forgive, keep going back to God as many times as necessary.
♥ Side with the Lord – Bow your heart to God’s truth as revealed in Scripture: “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” (Matthew 6:14)
♥ Look for evidence (of forgiveness) – If you’ve truly forgiven, you’ll be sweet and loving towards your husband and you won’t withhold yourself from him. If you’re NOT 100% free, weeds of unforgiveness still remain.
The next time unforgiveness comes a knockin’ at the door of your heart, tryin’ to take it hostage, kick it to the curb with God’s word!
Holla Back! What helps you to fight off unforgiveness? Post a comment to share!