Friday, May 16, 2014

{coffee talk} FORGIVENESS

In honor of our anniversary, I wanted to share about what I have been thinking about recently. I feel that there is ALWAYS room for growth in all areas of life, particularly my marriage and my relationship with others. But forgiveness has been at the forefront of my thoughts lately. And how I had it all wrong there for awhile...

It's hard to go there, but the nitty gritty is that I got hurt early on in our relationship. Now, Pete will tell you that he loved me at hello. That he never knew love until me. That he knew shortly upon meeting me, we were meant to be together. That I am his soul mate, if there ever were such a thing. But the way he went about showing it was insanely painful the first year. Where for me it was a vulnerable experience, for him, it was all he'd ever known -- surrounded by probably the most evil and vile of human examples, of both men and women he associated with -- he defiled what I thought was sacred. He basically let me suffer and watched. Chose himself over us. Yet in my every attempt to walk away, Pete would ask for my patience. Ask for my forgiveness. And ensure me that he was working on be a better man. A man that I would be proud to marry one day.

It's hard to recover from that. And hey, most people don't because of what I just explained. No one starts a new romance and says "sign me up for a hellish experience." Now, MY adversity may not be remotely similar to YOUR adversity, but this post is more about that of forgiveness more so than experiences, or the comparisons thereof.

But I remember being there. Anger mixed with sadness, mixed with deep hurt, and intermingled somewhere in there were feelings of love. Strange feelings to have all at once, huh?

I walked into this relationship, ready for the fairytale, missing the part about God using it to point out your sin, change you, mold you -- you know, the whole 'dying to self' thing. Yet there HAVE been so many parts that are just like a fairytale... so many beautiful, raw parts that I hold so close and so dear. They just came differently than I expected.

Sometimes the downward spiral in a relationship starts with something small in the grand scheme of things. He lets her down, so she withholds a piece of her heart from him. She disrespected him here so he is not going to meet a need there. And so it begins. The downward spiral begins....until it's a thrashing river rapid, appearing hopeless, and your only solution is to jump ship.

There’s a difference between having a real relationship and just being together because that’s all you’re used to. There’s a difference between meaning your “I love you’s ” and just saying them every night because “that’s what you do.” There’s a difference between being together and wanting to be together, it’s a relationship, not a routine. 

It's attaching yourself to someone and sharing your life with them. Entirely.

It's a journey, but you start with forgiveness. You somehow, at some point, make a decision. A choice to absorb all the costs of that forgiveness. Just as Jesus' example when he absorbed our sins and said, no more. I'm paying for this. While we were still sinning, He died for us. While we were enemies, He died for us. While we deserved the opposite of grace and mercy, He died for us.

God came down and changed our hearts, mine and Pete's. He showed us that forgiveness is the beginning. Not the end.

5 years later, as we sit on the couch together, my husband stealing kisses and making me laugh at something utterly ridiculous, I smile on the inside. About the past. About the future. Thanking God who kept us together. Because it is so good. So rich. We stuck it out, saw it through, during the growing pains. Pete continually encourages me to spread my wings and is always trying to make my dreams come true. And there is truly no one I would rather figure out all of this with than him. He makes me laugh, he loves our babies well and he has fought for us even when things seemed hard. He's helped me find myself in a lot of ways. He gives me the freedom to be me and has taught me more about love than I ever imagined. He not only sees what's good about me, but he sees the bad, and still wants me. I love him more than I could dream.

I read an article today written by Dr. John Yzaguirre, a specialist in marital enrichment. So many beautiful points that when intertwined can form a beautiful union of marriage that is full of grace, peace, and filled with humility.

"Listen. No advice, no conversion, no change, no great response. Just listen with love. No agenda. Answer with the way they want to be loved."

"Be the first to love. When we practice initiative, we are free."

"Anything I don't share, gets lost. Love becomes real when we share who we are and what we have."

"First say it with your life. Then say it with your lips."

“Live in the present. Worry prevents loving. Worry is self absorption."

"Wisdom reminds me what matters. Is this worth losing unity? Renew decision to love. Fruits of a decision to love are tolerance, flexibility, patience. Wisdom puts things in perspective. People first; tasks second."

Do you know someone who needs forgiving?

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