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Reconciliation


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RECONCILIATION

DELSS
One spouse briefly shares how they feel when the other asks for forgiveness. This can be best done in the context of a recent incident.
[Erinn]

My birthday is a month-long event and I love surprises, and get excited about surprising others. This is quite the opposite for Eric, who does not even care to celebrate his birthday, which was January 8. A few days before his birthday Eric came home with his head down, obviously upset, I knew something was up. He looked at me with such sad eyes and said, “I am asking for your forgiveness. I did something bad.” My mind raced with what he could possibly have done to be so upset and contrite. “I found my present,” he said. “I saw the email that said what you got me. I’m so sorry. Will you forgive me?” I could only smile. Yes, I melted. In that moment, he was so vulnerable, like a little boy who spilled milk. I said that yes, it was okay. That it wasn’t a big deal. He said he felt awful – that he knew how much I liked to surprise him for his birthday and that he had ruined that for me. “It’s YOUR birthday!” I told him. Even in that, he was thinking about me. I was so taken aback by his humility, his other-centeredness and how he had wasted no time in repairing our relationship. I had to take him in my arms and kiss him.



Prayer


SHARING:
Both spouses.
2 minutes.




Share how you are personally resisting the grace of a humble repentant spirit. Mention 3-5 additional typical resistances not included in the personal sharing.

[Erinn]
I personally resist the grace of a repentant spirit by throwing a pity party for myself and expecting Eric to be my guest of honor. I find myself listing off all of the ways he doesn’t understand or appreciate me. I fall into the trap of “Woe is me,” and fail to see how Eric is hurting or more importantly, how I have hurt Eric.


Yes, I am stubborn too. As a fifth grade teacher, I spend most of my day maintaining control and having my directions followed. And sometimes I bring my teacher voice and my teacher look home – and to my relationship with Eric. With gentle and sometimes not so gentle reminders, he lets me know that we are working together to solve problems – that we discuss, reflect upon and develop solutions together. That I cannot expect a “Yes, Mrs. Smith-Delss,” response. Basically, I block the grace of a repentant spirit with an attitude of superiority and a need to be in control and to be the resident authority on matters. I have to remind myself that those things push Eric away because they send the message that his thoughts, opinions and feelings are not important to me. I have to remember that a humble repentant spirit will always draw us closer.
[Eric]
Pride is my block. I hate admitting I’m wrong. I can’t really think of anyone who enjoys it, but I really hate it. When we first started dating and when we were first married, it was very difficult to admit my own failures. I even would sometimes twist the situation around to make it Erinn’s fault. Even as a little kid I always had to be right. It took a long time before I could even think that Erinn was right sometimes too. That pride can really turn hurtful. The long arrogant silences, the physical distance between us and especially the superior attitude. It’s a tough obstacle to overcome in order to enjoy the grace of forgiveness.
And even when this obstacle is overcome, fearing that I will now have to change the way I do things is another stumbling block. If I face the music and admit I was wrong, that means that I need to change. I don’t really mind change, but only when it’s on my terms. When it’s not on my terms, there is a great deal of anxiety and frustration that quickly comes out. At those times it helps to focus on what a beautiful and loving person Erinn is. This helps to get my attention off of myself and back onto loving her.

prayer:

[Erinn]

Creator of Love,

take my pride. Give me a humble heart to be present to eric, to listen to his perspective, to be in his shoes. Allow me to know his hurt and to take it as my own. Give us the grace of honesty and openess. Let us remember what drew us together and what holds us together each day.
[Eric]

We pray for all of the couples in this room. Grant them humility and a repentant spirit. Help them to set aside their need to be right or in control. take from them anything else that keeps them from fully loving one another. help them to know the joy and peace that comes with forgiveness. thank you for the blessing of their love and their marriage. in jesus’ name we pray. amen.

MOTIVATION FOR Reconciliation


SHARING:
Team Wife
1-2 minutes




Share a meaningful experience of reconciliation between you and your husband. This may have occurred during the “Reconciliation Exercise” on your Living in Love Weekend. Ideally, it would be your experience of facing the damage your control has inflicted on your husband including any tears of repentance or feelings of compunction. .

[Erinn]


Eric rarely gets sick and Eric never stays home from work because he is sick. I, on the other hand, do. There was one day, early in my pregnancy with our son Xavier that I couldn’t take the exhaustion and the nauseous feeling anymore and I just wanted to stay in bed. I called my school to let them know I wouldn’t be in. Eric stood near me as I made the call and I felt guilty for taking a day for myself. I snapped at Eric, “I hate when you’re around, when I do this.” I went upstairs and climbed into bed. Eric left without saying goodbye, no kiss, nothing. I thought he was disappointed in me for calling out. I told myself that he didn’t understand what I was going through and the pity party began. I never imagined that I had hurt him with what I had said.
[Eric]

I still remember getting into my office that day and sitting down and writing a letter to Erinn. I was hurt, and I needed to tell her. It started out with an expression of hurt. But it quickly turned into putting myself in her shoes and feeling her pain. I ended up asking her for forgiveness for not listening to how she was feeling. I walked home from work with this amazing feeling of excitement. Now you might be thinking, this guy is totally soft. He was snapped at by his wife and now he’s going to ask her for forgiveness?! But to really understand forgiveness, you have to step in the other person’s shoes and see things from their perspective. That’s when the reality of a situation gets a little clearer – and your own part in a conflict becomes more apparent. I realized that Erinn was hurt just as much as I was. And so I walked home with excitement because I knew Erinn was going to forgive me and I was going to forgive her. I’ve never really felt like that before – especially not when I had to admit being wrong.


[Erinn]

That evening Eric came home and asked me to write about what had happened that morning.

This is the letter I wrote and I will warn you that it still hits as hard as it did the first time…
Dear Lord,

Please help me to take down my defenses. I grudgingly ask for humility. Take my pride and let me honestly express my feelings. Please open my heart and my mind to Eric’s point of view. He is the only man I can imagine sharing this with. He knows me so well and isn’t willing to let us settle into unhealthy patterns. I appreciate his commitment to our marriage and his love for me.

This morning, I felt embarrassed and weak, like I couldn’t handle this? It was hard for me to admit that I couldn’t get control. I felt guilty for taking today, like I would sit on the couch and eat bon-bons. I felt shut out and ignored. I took this to mean that you disapproved of what I was doing. That is the worst feeling of all. I felt misunderstood, and I didn’t have the energy to explain. I felt tossed aside like you didn’t care and you couldn’t believe I was calling out. It was so hard to admit that I couldn’t handle it this morning because this is only the beginning. I’m scared.

I am sorry for hurting you. You must have felt attacked for no reason. My saying that to you certainly didn’t make you want to help me or show me concern. I am sure that you felt pushed away in a situation where you already feel on the outside. Maybe you were scared that something was really wrong and that I wasn’t telling you. Or that I didn’t want you around because “this wasn’t your business”. I pushed you away and I am sorry. Will you please forgive me?


[Eric]

We shared our letters in bed and just held each other. There was such an incredible sense of peace and joy at that moment. Forgiveness never felt so good.




Personal Sharing - Delss Reconciliation 20 Jan 2007


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