Moving Beyond Mistakes in Marriage
Great article from the Gottman Institute:
I recently saw a video of a couple gracefully dancing on the streets of Israel, moving in and out of crowds, encapsulated by one another and their dance.
This couple moved with immense strength, agility, and elegance. Every step, spin, and lift was a piece of fine art. Their flawless performance left me mesmerized, inspired, and eager to return to the dance classes my husband and I had begun taking at Flow Studios in Seattle.
During our second lesson, my inspiration quickly turned into frustration as my partner and I began tripping over each other’s feet, colliding with one another, and growing steadily disheartened.
Our dance was anything but graceful.
Mistakes are normal
As we moved clumsily across the dance floor, I recalled the Israeli couple and their “flawless” dance. I had to remind myself that while this couple’s dance appeared perfect, they definitely made off-camera mistakes and had probably already practiced this dance hundreds of times.
No couple is perfect, whether on the dance floor or in everyday life.
From a distance, there are plenty of individuals or couples who appear to live their lives perfectly together. But in reality, we all slip and stumble from time to time.
While mistakes are inevitable in our relationships, it is how we respond to them that makes all of the difference between relationships that are resilient and flourish through imperfections, and those that crumble apart.
Pause: Acknowledge when you stumble
If, or rather when, you stumble with your partner (on or off the dance floor), it is necessary to first acknowledge the mistake.
When we take the time to acknowledge that we have messed up, we should mindfully search ourselves for the potential roots of our blunder. In taking the time to “check ourselves,” we build greater self awareness and cultivate the ability to choose wisely in the future.
On the dance floor, this can happen in the flash of an eye.
When we began our lesson, I repeatedly found myself tripping over my partner’s shoes but continued to stubbornly push through, determined to move beyond and perfect our dance.
It finally dawned on me that this issue wasn’t going to fix itself until we paused to take the time to explore the roots of the problem.
Our dance teacher, Michael, explained the importance of looking up at your partner and staying focused on the rhythm of the music. “No matter what you do, stay in beat with the song,” he described.
I had been so intensely preoccupied looking down, trying not to trip over my husband’s feet, that I had completely forgotten to listen to and feel the rhythm of the music. Taking a moment to pause and reflect on the roots of our stumbling was crucial to resetting our dance. In this situation, I inevitably needed a little external guidance to build this awareness.
While acknowledging our issues or mistakes is pertinent, it is equally as essential that we don’t “get stuck” looking down, or internalizing that we are defined by our imperfections.
Brené Brown explains the difference between shame and guilt as related to our mistakes. While guilt says “I did something bad” and is a normal, healthy reaction when we operate outside of our value system, shame says “I am bad.”
“Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change,” she describes.
When I was stuck in a pattern looking down at my feet stumbling on my partner’s, it was hard not to internalize that I am simply a “bad dancer,” and that there’s not much hope that I will ever improve. As I was able to shift my lens and look up at my partner, I was able to glean more hope that together, we could improve and strengthen our dance and relationship.
Process: Make repair attempt
After recognizing that one has made a mistake, it is important to make a repair with your partner.
The Gottmans explain that while it is normal to make mistakes and have conflict with your partner, healthy relationships are those that make repair attempts. Repairs, defined by the Gottmans, are “any statement(s) or action(s) — silly or otherwise — that prevents negativity from escalating out of control.”
As my partner and I danced in our second lesson and I continued to clumsily stumble over his feet, I felt my blood pressure starting to rise with waves of frustration emerging above the surface. My partner inevitably felt these forces in our dance, which suddenly had taken on a rather negative tone.
While it wasn’t necessary for me to apologize every time I stepped on my husband’s feet, it was crucial to make a repair before I got “flooded,” as the Gottmans call it, and said or did something regrettable.
So how do you make repair attempts? They can vary drastically from couple to couple, and from situation to situation.
In this situation, I not only apologized verbally to my partner for my impatient and frustrated attitude, but also threw in some big, theatrical dance moves, twirling my partner around and dipping him, in an effort to lighten the mood and let him know that we are on the same team.
Through this repair attempt, we were able to break our negative pattern that was spiraling downwards and reset our tone with greater gentleness, playfulness, and care.
Over time, we have become increasingly quick and effective in making and responding to repair attempts. It is a skill that, if practiced, will help strengthen your ability to recover and thrive as a couple.
Proceed: Continue the dance
After acknowledging your mistakes and making repairs, keep dancing!
It may not be necessary to stop and have an extended conversation after every single slip and mistake. Every situation will vary greatly. Sometimes, a repair is a quick facial exchange acknowledging a mistake. Sometimes it means throwing in a silly dance move, or sitting down to have a five-minute conversation. Other times, it may involve seeking out external help through a therapist or other trusted individual to help you process as a couple.
Regardless of how long it takes you to work through the first two steps, at some point, it is crucial to move on, look ahead and continue your dance as a couple.
“Keep dancing! Don’t stop! Keep going!” our dance instructor shouted to us as he caught sight of me breaking our dance, discouraged by more tripping, even after we had processed the cause and remedy of our stumbling patterns.
As we moved forward and continued the dance, we kept a few principles in mind.
First, we focused on staying in rhythm with the music. When we stay in rhythm or true to the beat of the music, or our values, we are going to function more harmoniously as a couple.
What are your values as a couple, and as an individual? As we build awareness of and maintain focus on our values, we are more likely to operate within their realm.
Second, rather than looking down and stumbling on our feet, we focused on keeping our heads up and our eyes on each other as the central focus of our vision. As we did this, we actually found that we not only stumbled less, but also experienced a deeper connection and synchrony, which began to polish our dance.
Expand your story
We can choose to focus on our mistakes and internalize that there is little hope for change within ourselves or our relationship. Or we can acknowledge our mistakes, explore their roots, make repairs, and move on to continue the dance.
The choice is ours. We do not have to be defined by our errors. Instead, we can choose to learn and grow from them as we strengthen our personal and relational resilience and weave a preferred story of who we are, and who we want to become.
We can choose to recognize that we are imperfect human beings, but that together we are committed to move past our imperfections, to create a dance that reflects our story as a couple—one that is marked by unconditional love, joy, strength, and creativity.
This is part two of a four-part series on relationships and dance. You can read part one here.
Article source: https://www.gottman.com/blog/moving-beyond-mistakes-marriage/
Relentless Love of God
This post is a “re-post” of a great article forwarded to me by a friend:
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever (Psalm 23:6, ESV).
If you’re a follower of Jesus—if by faith you have turned from your sins and received His forgiveness—I have news for you.
God is after you.
IF YOU’RE A FOLLOWER OF JESUS, GOD IS STILL PURSUING YOU.
He’s still pursuing you. Wanting more of you. Hungry to make sure you’re experiencing every blessing that His Son died and rose again to give you, for His glory.
It doesn’t matter how defeated or discouraged you are today. He’s still after you. All that matters is that you are His. “My sheep hear my voice,” Jesus said, “and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). Is that you? Following Him? Not perfectly, of course, but following? Sometimes stumbling, but still getting up? And following? And trying again? And wanting to follow Him even better, even more?
Then God Himself is also following you. He’s on your trail. He’s after you. Promising you that your best days are still ahead of you, no matter where you’ve been or what you’ve done. Your greatest days of usefulness and service to God are still in the future, because “goodness” (defined as bounty and blessing) and “mercy” (lovingkindness and favor) will be on your heels and hunting you down every second of the time.
Can’t be true, you say . . .
Too many failures. “I’ve failed God too many times. No way am I on His first team anymore. I’ve blown it. I have areas in my life where I’ve never gotten victory. Even today I failed again. I’m on the shelf from here on out, and I know it.”
Too many years. “It’s too late for me. Too much water under the bridge. It’s fine for those who came to Christ as kids or in college or whatever. But I showed up late to the party. The best I can do is just sneak into a back corner of heaven.”
Too many others. “I don’t have any big-time gifts. I don’t have any great abilities. Other people have training and know what they’re doing. Not me. I’m just not that important. It might even be wrong for me to get in their way.”
Too many obstacles. “I’ve got so many things going on in my life right now—work, family, health stuff, all of it—I don’t really have time. And I don’t see it changing anytime soon.”
Believe me, I’ve heard all these lies and dodges before. They’re as old as time, because the enemy will do anything to convince you that God has lost the scent and given up on you.
But just you try staying hidden behind these shadowy half-truths. Just you try imagining you’re out of sight, out of mind. Just you try giving in to the unreality that your home and heart are off His grid, out of His hunting zone.
Because, listen. Can you hear it? It’s the panting of the hound of heaven, running full-speed, headed your way, chasing you down. Following you “all the days” of your life—not to rip into you, but to restore you and refresh you, to overwhelm all of life’s badness with His “goodness.”
- Which of these fears and excuses have sometimes convinced you that God’s “goodness and mercy” are not coming for you anymore?
- How different would your life be, even today, if you wholeheartedly embraced this truth?
Lord God, I believe Your Word, even when I doubt myself. I believe what You have done to claim me as Your own, even when I too often resist You and choose my own way. Thank You for loving me enough to want me experiencing the full blessing of relationship with You. And thank You for relentlessly pursuing me until I’m actively living in it. In Jesus’ name, amen.
article source: https://www.jamesmacdonald.com/teaching/devotionals/2017-09-15/
Staying with your husband… for what he did right…
I hope you enjoy this article I found about forgiveness and deciding to stay in a marriage where there has been infidelity. I hope it encourages you… to make the right choice.
By: Davida Brown
article source: http://yesmarriagerocks.com/mrocks/blog/item/142-i-chose-to-stay-for-what-he-did-right
Romantic Comedy is my favorite genre. Romance films make me feel warm and tingly, as they pull on all my heart strings: love, commitment, faith and unity.
I happened to watch “the Vow” a few days ago, and there was a scene in that movie that made my heart stop, a line that captured the essence of what I say day in and day out to my clients. If you’re not familiar with this movie, it’s about a young married couple, Leo and Paige, who are in a car accident, resulting in Paige losing a chunk of her memory. To Leo’s chagrin, she has no memory of him, their relationship or marriage. The movie chronicles their journey back to each other.
During the movie, we learn that Paige and her parents were estranged for a number of years. Paige can’t remember why and no one in her family will tell her what caused the fallout. Eventually, Paige discovers that her father had an affair with one of her friends. Paige is distraught and angry. She confronts her mother, spewing contempt. She doesn’t understand how she could stay after what he did. Her mother responds, “I couldn’t leave. I made a choice. I chose to stay with him for all the things he’s done right; not leave for the one thing he did wrong. I chose to forgive him.”
Her words hit me like a mack truck. YEEEESSSSSS, I screamed inwardly. Marriage is a choice. Choosing to stay married when your spouse violates your trust is a choice. Choosing to acknowledge and appreciate all the things your spouse does right, despite the breach in trust, is a choice. Forgiveness is a choice.
When the movie ended, I reflected on this scene for quite some time. Years ago, I too made the choice to stay after the love of my life cheated on me. I chose not to end our relationship because of his mistake. I chose to forgive and trust again.
It wasn’t easy folks. NOT AT ALL. I was angry, hurt, disappointed, embarrassed and on and on. How dare he step out on me? We had a great relationship, or so I thought. Why would he do this to me, to us? I eventually had to come to grips with the fact that I would never understand why he cheated. We often think that if we know why he or she did it, it’ll help us get over it. It doesn’t and in my opinion is a waste of time and energy. Did I ask why he cheated? Of course. But at the end of the day none of the reasons made any difference in how I felt. Cheating is a choice and my husband made that choice. It was inexcusable and no explanation would change that. So instead of trying to “understand” why he made that choice, I directed my energy to figuring out what I wanted. Did I want my relationship? Yes or No? I grappled with this question for months. I thought about all the good things about him, about us. Was his mistake bigger than us?
Ultimately I decided that I wanted my relationship. Making that decision was the biggest hurdle. Once I did, my actions from that day forward were in alignment with that choice. That meant I had to forgive and had to figure out a way to trust him again. It didn’t happen overnight, but with a lot of effort, together, we found a way to rebuild the trust. While I certainly wish the infidelity never happened, I can honestly say that we are now in a great place, and I am so glad that I made the choice to give him another chance.
There are many of you reading this article that believe that infidelity is unforgivable, that once the trust is broken it simply can’t be restored, that if you choose to save your marriage you are weak or insecure. If that’s you, you certainly are entitled to feel that way. Only you know what’s best for you and only you are equipped to make that decision. But, if you are committed to trying to save your marriage, if your spouse is committed to trying to save your marriage, I want you to know that moving past the infidelity can be done. We did it and so have many couples we coach. I want you to know that choosing to give your spouse and marriage another chance does not mean you are weak, insecure or lacking in self-respect. Only you know the value of your marriage. Only you know if your marriage is worth fighting for. Take the time to consider everything before making a choice. I did. Take the time to pray for discernment and to listen for that voice inside you. And if you decide that you want your marriage (spouse must want it too), take the necessary steps together to implement that choice.
Confessing your porn addiction… to your spouse
Another great article from the Covenant Eyes blog:
Surviving the Worst Day of Your Life: How to Confess Your Porn Addiction to Your Spouse
September 9, 2005 was the worst day of my life. Confronted by my church board leaders, I had to admit my addiction to porn and headed home to tell my wife and four children. I knew a major train wreck was about to happen, and there was nothing I could do. My sin had been found out and I had no idea of the consequences that were going to unfold.
It feels like the hardest thing in the world to do. You know this news is going to wound her deeply and you have used that as an excuse to not confess. You reason, “If I keep it a secret and she never knows your marriage will be better and I will be able to stop on my own.”
Look in the mirror and say to yourself, “Liar!”
The truth is you have already wounded her and your marriage. She just doesn’t know why there is this barrier between the two of you. Here is your reality.
Your use of porn is heart adultery according to Jesus in Matthew 5:28.
This has gone on for years and perhaps decades and you haven’t stopped.
You are scared to death of what this confession will do to her, you, and the family.
I understand your fears and I know it is the last thing you want to do. Yet, it has to be done…so what is the best way to tell her?
I lived in that world for years. Not until I resigned my position as a pastor and was forced to confess was I able to do it. Nine years later our marriage is still intact and God has healed our wounds and inhabits our brokenness every day. Getting through it with your marriage surviving can be helped or hindered by how you deal with your disclosure. So here are five things that will prove helpful to you.
Tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. What you plan on telling her will not be the same as what she will want to know. The truth is how often you act out using porn. The when and the where are important facts. The details are not. Too many details will be destructive for her in the long run.
Consider telling her in the presence of a counselor or pastor. Having someone there to help moderate the conversation can be helpful to things escalating and becoming worse. That third person should be made aware of what is going to happen in the meeting and should be someone your spouse is comfortable with.
Confession is the beginning of the long journey of recovery. Hopefully you are broken by your bad choices and desire to really stop and get the help you need to walk in purity. This is a reality most people want to minimize. Seeing this as a first step is good but having a plan for recovery helps give hope. Find what groups there are in your area that deal with sexual brokenness and make plans to attend consistently. You should plan on attending at least for one year.
Genuinely ask for forgiveness and be repentant. It will not be your words from which she will receive assurance. Talk is cheap. It will be a change in your behavior and seeing godly sorrow that will help her. She will feel that she cannot trust you…and that is normal. However, she needs to place her trust in God that whatever you do He will take care of her.
Realize that this will be traumatic for her and create desperation and wounding. Both of you would do well reading from this website and this book.
Nothing is going to make this easy. Looking back, I wish I had come forward and confessed before I was caught. If I were a better man I would have done so. However, the bottom line is you need to come clean. You need to be honest.
Your Father, your Lord and Savior, and the Spirit—your comforter and counselor—will walk you through it. You need to allow Him to begin dealing with putting the broken pieces together. It all begin with walking in the light of confession and repentance.
Over the past 9 years I have worked with many men trying to break free from this sexual sin. The support and encouragement from your wife will be a very helpful part of the process. However, that is a decision she will need to make on her own. What you do and how you act in the days following your confess will either help her come along side of you or push her away.
It is time to be a humble and loving servant to her as we are commanded to love our wives as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25).
About the author, John Doyel
After 26 years in full time ministry John Doyel resigned his position as Senior Pastor in 2005 because of his sexual brokenness. For the past 10 years he has dedicated himself to helping men recover from sexual sin and return to God. He writes daily e-mails of encouragement to help believers recover—called 180 Recover—because we are told to encourage one another daily as long as it is called today. He also lead a recovery ministry at Vineyard Columbus called 180: Helping Sexually Broken Believers Return to God.
article source: The blog at covenanteyes.com
click here to read the article on Covenanteyes.com
God Isn’t Mad at You…
Great post that I read recently.. had to share:
I spend a fair amount of time on Reddit and other online communities interacting with people who are trying to find freedom from porn. One thing I’ve noticed, though, is there seems to be a tendency for folks to come down hard on themselves when they relapse.
“I looked at porn again after 30 days clean. God must be so mad at me.”
“I screwed up and masturbated last night, why am I such a horrible person?”
“Why can’t I fix myself? I suck at being a Christian.”
You get the idea.
I wish I had the time to respond to every one of these posts and let them know that God isn’t mad at them. Seriously. In fact, this whole idea that God becomes angry with us when we fall is likely one of the major factors in their ongoing struggle to find freedom from porn.
It’s easy for us to see all the crap in our lives as a huge pile of trash, with us on one side and God on the other. We think we need to clean it up before we can get anywhere close to the Father. But the more we try to shovel it down, the more we realize we’re just adding more to it every day.
If you look closer at the Gospels, though, you’ll realize that’s not a very good description of how God actually views you. The truth is He sent Jesus to walk around that pile of trash, put His arm on your shoulder, and offer to clean it up for you. Better yet, Jesus promises to stand with you at all times to make sure any additional trash that gets dumped on the pile is immediately removed as well—which includes those times you still look at porn.
That’s what Jesus meant when He said “It is Finished.”
Not “It was finished, but now you went and screwed it up by looking at porn again.”
“It is finished.”
All your sin, past, present, and even future sin, has been paid for on the cross. Your entire pile of junk was removed giving you a clear path to the Father. (Think about it, how much of your sin was future sin when Jesus was on the cross? All of it!)
So instead of feeling like you need to hide from God, clean up your life, or worse yet, beat yourself up when you look at porn, I’d encourage you to run back to God, knowing that He is a loving and approachable Father.
In the same way the father of the prodigal son looked to the horizon daily hoping for his boy to return (knowing full well what he had done), your Father in heaven is eagerly waiting for you to come back to His embrace as well.
He doesn’t want you to “work off your debt.”
He doesn’t need to hear your well-thought-out excuses.
He won’t require you to earn your place back starting as a hired servant.
He doesn’t think you suck, or that you’re a horrible person.
He loves you, and all He wants to do is throw a party to celebrate your return, because there is always a place for you at His table, regardless of what you’ve done.
Author: Stephen Kuhn on July 1st, 2016
Original source: https://www.xxxchurch.com/men/god-isnt-mad-stop-beating-relapse.html#.V_BlQGy5ZVg.email