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!
I am so excited I stumbled across your blog today at the Grace and Truth link up. Can we be friends, for real??? I’ll be sharing links to some of your marriage related content in the series on Messy Marriage I’m doing now and in the private Facebook study group I’m moderating. Thanks for being so real and sharing Biblical wisdom for marriage! Blessings!
Hey Liz, we can definitely be friends…ror real!!! I’ve been praying that God would lead and direct in me having true blogging friends.
I’m so glad to know that my marriage posts resonate with you. And thank you for sharing them with the messy marriage community. I’m a messy marriage girl and I link up there every week!
I hope to see you around the blogosphere very soon. Thank you for stopping by.
Lori Schumaker says
This was my first stop by your blog and I just love it! So much good stuff here! This post was a great reminder to me to keep searching my heart for those seeds of unforgiveness! I am looking forward to connecting more in the future! So glad I found you on the Family, Friendship, and Faith link-up!
Blessings and smiles,
Howdy! It’s so great having you stop by! I’m so glad you got to visit and that you enjoyed the post. One good visit deserves another…I can’t wait to pay you a visit. So leave on the porch light for me, I’m a coming. And when I do, I’ll be sure to say, “Hello”.
Tiffiney, you speak wisely of one of those pesky things that seeks to undo the best of marriages and exposes our weaknesses. Thanks for this excellent sharing of your battle plans to not be hijacked. Visiting as your neighbor at #CoffeeShopConversations.
Hi (again) Pam! I see we link up at the same places. You know what they say – great minds think alike! Always a pleasure having you at Welcome Home. Please come again, soon.
Tiffany, I LOVE this post! I can relate to so much of it! =) It’s amazing to me how just a few words can bring up so much emotional baggage! I love your tips and plan on using them. Thanks for sharing this at A Little R&R Linkup!
I’m so glad this post resonated with you! A Little R&R is a new link-up for me. I’m looking forward to visiting again. Thanks for stopping by and please come again!
long Ladies says
What an amazing testimony! I am not married, but that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with unforgiveness. It’s a demon on its own right and I’d let it hold me captive.
Reading your post has encouraged me to kick it to the curb as soon as it whispers at the door of my heart. Thank you!
Indeed, unforgiveness comes to hijack all of our hearts…whether single or married. So glad to hear that you have your Christian Kung-Fu moves ready to deal with it when it comes a knockin’!
Thanks for stopping by!
You used a word when writing about the effect of unforgiveness coming into your heart, that really painted a clear picture for me…upload. I instantly thought of a computer virus and how quickly you need to act if you want to prevent damage. Your action steps are great. I needed to read this. This is wise council.
Thank you for linking up with Grace and Truth last week!
I chose the word “upload” intentionally, but for different reasons. Lol! I thought your association for that word picture was spot on! That really helps me even more. Thanks for sharing. I shall always remember that!
Thanks so much for stopping by. I love the Grace and Truth community!
Wendy Munsell says
Learning to forgive my enemies through the grace of Jesus has been instrumental in shaping who I am in HIm. Thank-you for sharing your journey in Christ’s love as He has helped you walk out forgiveness in your marriage. This is a powerful message. Following the example of Jesus in forgiving other is not optional. I’m a first time (blessed to be here!) visitor from Grace and Truth.
Your words really bless me – and it’s just a comment! I must stop by your blog to get better acquainted.
So glad you stopped by!
Sarah Koontz says
I love your action steps for when your heart is hijacked by unforgiveness, so much truth in this article! I’m a twitter nut so I shared you with all my friends over there 😉 Visiting from Grace & Truth.
Thanks so much for sharing over at twitter. I’m the quietest “tweeter” ever – don’t even have an account! Lol!
Thanks so much for stopping by!
Sarah Koontz says
I’m a twitter newbie, I stayed away for A LONG TIME! It simply held no appeal for me. But with all the changes in facebook algorithm, I think that Twitter is the BEST place to connect with peers (other writers and bloggers). It’s also easy to share lots of content on, so that’s where I share all the great articles I’ve been reading. Its so quick and easy, you should try it 😉
Hmmn….you may just be the one to get me to take the plunge. (If I do, you’ll be the first person I follow.) :o)
Wow, this is such a powerful post, filled with such truth. Unforgiveness sure can creep up and take our hearts back to that hurt place that” wants to protect ourselves from getting hurt again. I love your words, “Don’t let the anger from your hurt soothe your pain,” I would love for you to share this at our Thursday #100HappyDay Link-Up!
I would love to share this Friday over at the #100HappyDay Link-Up! Thanks so much for the invitation, and thanks for stopping by! :o)
I chose this as my favorite post for #100HappyDays! Thank you so much for sharing this!
Hi Val! That’s so exciting. I’m so honored. Use it for your glory, Lord. Amen.:o)