6 Steps to Effective Boundary Conversations

6 Steps 4 Boundaries

Today I will be continuing in our series on forgiveness, addressing what is needed to communicate clear and effective boundaries when rebuilding a wounded relationship.

Step 1

Determine if you both are ready for the boundary conversation. Look for clear evidence of a heart change in the other {not perfection, mind you!} before you make yourself vulnerable in a conflicted relationship—especially when you’re dealing with a “boundary-buster” or serious offender.

How to identify if there’s been real heart change*

  • Has there been a clear confession of at least the most fundamental of the offenses or boundary violations?
  • Has the other person demonstrated remorse for his/her part?
  • Has the other person verbally taken ownership for his/her part in the problem?
  • Have you seen his/her repentant choices and new attitude in action?

If you don’t see these crucial pieces in the person you hope to reconcile with, then your boundary conversation will most likely be resisted or even rejected by the other person.

If you feel this list is representative of both of you, then you’re ready to move to the next step …

Step 2

Choose carefully a time and place to talk. This should be where there are no interruptions and lots of privacy. You might even want to enlist the support of a neutral third party, such as a counselor or pastor to be present who can help in this first conversation. However, you must both want this third party to be involved/invited, so asking permission and settling this issue with the other party is crucial before you agree to meet.

Step 3

If you know that the other person is comfortable with prayer, suggest starting the meeting by praying together. If you know the other person is not comfortable with this, then pray on your own before the meeting. Either way, this invites God into the redemptive process, where He is able to work on giving you both the right frame of mind.

Step 4

Affirm your care for the other person and the relationship. If you don’t “care” for them, then you are not ready for this part of reconciliation.

Step 5

Deal with one issue or particular area per conversation. Don’t be in a rush to deal with all the problems all at once. It most likely took you years to develop the problems and it will take lots and lots of boundary conversations to change the relationship for the better. Be willing to accept that uncomfortable reality. Remember that as humans, we can only handle being confronted with and changing one or two issues at a time. Otherwise, we can easily become overwhelmed, discouraged or even feel rejected—not to mention it’s just not realistic.

Step 6

Calmly and gently state something like this …

“When you (fill in the blank), I feel (fill in the blank).”

And …

“This is what I’d like for you to do/say instead (fill in the blank). Do you think that’s something you could do?”

You might also want to follow this up with something like …

“What can I do to help you regarding this change I’m asking for?

Bottom Line
If your first boundary conversation doesn’t go well, then don’t become discouraged … 

 

What are some helpful suggestions you would like to add to our list here today?

 

Which of the suggestions has been crucial to the success of any boundary conversations you’ve had?

 

* Taken and adapted from Beyond Boundaries by John Townsend. I would encourage you to read this book, if you are facing any kind of reconciliation or rebuilding of trust scenario.

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* To read the previous post in our ongoing series on forgiveness click – The Support Needed to Trust Again

Joining with  Works for Me WednesdayTo Love Honor and Vacuum, Whimsical Wednesday and Wholehearted Wednesday

Now it’s time  for Wedded Wednesday!

Grab our new WW Button Code!

Messy Marriage

Check out our WW rules here.

I do so love encouraging all of you and visiting your awesome places around the web, but this week I am in Alabama at the funeral of my husband’s biological father. I won’t be able to visit around very much, but will try my best to visit the blogs of those who are “early linkers” and those who comment or connect with me in some way. If I don’t make it to your blog this week, know that I appreciate you so very much and love that you are linked up here!  :-)

I Feel Like a Broken Record!

Broken Record

And sadly, I’m old enough to remember what that looked like! Ha!

I feel like I am just falling farther and farther behind in life lately. Most recently, I’m having to add 7 hours of travel and treatment time for chronic pain/numbness {that I’ve struggled with for the past year or more} to my already crowded schedule. Also just days ago, my husband’s biological father passed away. So we will be traveling about 7 hours away to Huntsville, Alabama for the funeral this week on Tuesday and Wednesday. {However, I will still be hosting the Wedded Wednesday link up, so I hope you’ll come back by!}

But all of this busyness makes me so sad because, I can’t connect or respond to my fellow-bloggers like I used to before this time of challenge and setback occurred.

So I’d love it if you’d pray for me and my husband during this time to recover in all the areas where things are piling up and crowding our lives!  

But I’d also love to pray for you too!

 

A few months back I asked how I could pray for you, our readers, especially those who are struggling in their marriages, and I’ve been praying for those individuals daily. But I’d like to offer this again! 

That way, I can lift you up as you lift me and my husband up in prayer!

So how can I pray for you in your marriage or in some other challenge that you’re currently facing?

 

{By the way, if you want to remain anonymous or private, please feel free to email me — messymarriage@gmail.com — your requests rather than posting them in the comment section!}

 

Also, below are a few great blog posts I really appreciated this past week. I hope you check them out or share them with your friends!

Ugochi over at Teshuva reminded us to stay true and aware of … The Wedding Vow (Updated)

Justin and Megan over at Do Not Disturb – I always enjoy their practical wisdom on making intimacy the deepest and best it can be!  And … R.U.N. towards Sex is no exception! 

Linda over at Creekside Ministries talks about listening—one of my favorite subjects—and gives us great advice on how to be Attentive Companions.

 

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Photo by Michael Coté

Linking up with – Marriage MondaysMaking Your Home Sing MondaySunday Stillness, Monday’s Musings, Sharing His Beauty and Playdates with God

The Support Needed to Trust Again

Finding Support

Reconciliation is about rebuilding trust because …

And trust is earned and established through respect and compliance with healthy boundaries and new ways of relating.

So the first job for the two parties is to …

Determine what you should require and expect of each other going forward.

This might seem simple to do, but I’ve seen and experienced the difficulty of determining what should be addressed, changed and established in myself and my offender. That’s why it’s important to begin this stage with support.

Ask yourself these questions to determine how “supported” you are in this endeavor …

  • How often do you turn to God’s word and pray? What gets in the way of this?
  • What Bible passages or verses do you focus on? Are they addressing the issues you’ve faced in your marriage or relationship conflict?
  • Are you praying daily for your spouse?
  • Are you praying daily for yourself to be a more loving, humble and sacrificial spouse?
  • Are you praying for both of you to see the sins that you’re blind to in this conflict?
  • Have you enlisted several mentors – godly friends, your pastor, a good Christian counselor/coach to hold you accountable on the issues you must change in your life?
  • Are your mentors supporting and praying for you regularly regarding the boundaries you must set?
  • Are your mentors asking you hard questions that break through your denial and fears?
  • Are you attending a healthy, spiritually vibrant and Bible-believing church regularly?
  • Are you actively involved in a small group that challenges you in your faith and knows what you are going through so they can pray and support you?
  • Are you realizing that you and your spouse are both sinners and that no sin is blacker than any other {although some sins are more destructive, carrying greater consequences and punishments}?
  • Do you seek a “sober view” of your sin daily? {Not letting it weigh you down with shame and condemnation but seeing the reality and destructiveness of it, then repenting and releasing it to God?}

If you can say “yes” or have clear and positive answers to these questions, then you’ve created a supportive environment where God can and will reveal to you what you need to …

  1. Require of your spouse moving forward in the reconciliation. And …
  2. Require of yourself, changing for the better in your relationship and life.

It may not come overnight. In fact, very often we must wait on the Lord so that our faith is strengthened. But in time and with commitment to living in the Truth, you will discover what should be said and done.

What boundaries do you feel you need to set in your conflicted relationship?

 

What areas of your life do you need to surrender or change in order to rebuild a conflicted marriage or relationship?

 

I hope you come back next week when I will be addressing how to communicate the boundaries in your relationship in a way that is clear and affirming. If you answer the first question posed above, I may choose the boundary you’ve identified as an example in next week’s post.

 

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* To read the previous post in our ongoing series on forgiveness click – How to Prepare for Reconciliation

Joining with  Works for Me Wednesday, Marriage, Motherhood and MissionsTo Love Honor and Vacuum, Whimsical Wednesday and Wholehearted Wednesday

Now it’s time  for Wedded Wednesday!

Grab our new WW Button Code!

Messy Marriage

Check out our WW rules here.

I do so love encouraging all of you and visiting your lovely places around the web, but I’ve found that I cannot get around to all who linkup each Wednesday—especially as the link-up and my blogging responsibilities grow and my medical appointments multiply! So I’ve decided to try to visit the blogs of those who are “early linkers” and those who comment or connect with me in some way. So if you’d like for me to visit your blog, please join the link up early (typically between 9 and 9:30 p.m. CST on Tuesdays) or leave me a comment. If you’d like more information on my medical journey, you can check out my Caringbridge site at MessyMammogram. Thanks so much! :-)

How to Prepare for Reconciliation

Preparing 4 Reconciliation

Most broken relationships don’t have one offender and one victim who never swap roles. Most broken relationships involve two flawed and sinful humans who’ve hurt each other, sometimes deeply and often continuously. This is often especially true in marriage.

And don’t forget that typically the people involved can’t see the extent to which they’ve hurt each other, nor the many losses the other has experienced in the conflict. Naturally, there may be one person who has done more damage than the other,* but in general, …

None of this can be accomplished, of course, without the empowering grace of God!

As we approach reconciliation, it’s easy to move back into a guarded or even prideful position, even if we’ve committed ourselves to forgiving each other. Satan will tempt you to throw your relationship away and will convince you that you’re never going to be treated respectfully. He’ll also stir up any righteous indignation you may still have lingering, which will cause you to struggle to see the good in each other.

But even if Satan isn’t involved in bringing your reconciliation to a screeching halt, we, as humans, often get derailed by our own selfish ambitions. So be on the lookout for either possibility at this vulnerable time.

Now, with that vulnerability in mind, it becomes imperative that we yield to God before we move toward rebuilding our relationship.

You can begin this process by praying {daily would be great!} the principles below, then commit yourself to “live them out” through the power of Christ …

  • We ask you, God, to soften our hearts to the hurts and losses we’ve done to each other.
  • We ask you, Father, to reveal what is unhealthy in our hearts and to know the hurtful choices we’ve made within our relationship.
  • We ask you, Father, to help us lovingly communicate the truth through boundaries that are for the health of our relationship and the good of each other.
  • We are committed to releasing any additional hurts we experience in this relationship to you, Lord, knowing you are our Strength, Protector and Redeemer!

We cannot hope to reconcile until we have bended our knees and hearts to God—recognizing our own sins and hard-heartedness in this relationship mess whether we’re the offender, the offended or both.

No amount of recognizing the hurt or spelling out what needs to change will make a difference without this humble yielding to God and each other first. I’ll be discussing how to communicate that “truth” and the healthy boundaries we need to communicate in a wounded relationship next week. I hope you’ll keep coming back!

 

How can you relate to the vulnerability spoken about here?

 

How have you dealt with the pride and defensiveness that often comes rushing back as we seek to reconcile?

 

Signature - Beth

*If you’re a victim who bears no responsibility, then you’re most likely a victim of a crime or abuse where reconciliation is most likely not a healthy, safe or wise choice. Typically God does not “require” us to reconcile in these situations. I’m not attempting to address these kinds of situations in this post—since they are multi-faceted and have many spiritual directions and implications. However, some of the same principles for reconciliation or future interactions still hold true across the board.

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* To read the previous post in our ongoing series on forgiveness click – Pathway to Reconciliation

Joining with  Works for Me Wednesday, Marriage, Motherhood and MissionsTo Love Honor and Vacuum, Whimsical Wednesday and Wholehearted Wednesday

Now it’s time  for Wedded Wednesday!

Grab our new WW Button Code!

Messy Marriage

 

Check out our WW rules here.

I do so love encouraging all of you and visiting your lovely places around the web, but I’ve found that I cannot get around to all who linkup each Wednesday—especially as the link-up and my blogging responsibilities grow. So I’ve decided to try to visit the blogs of those who are “early linkers” and those who comment or connect with me in some way. So if you’d like for me to visit your blog, please join the link up early (typically between 9 and 9:30 p.m. CST on Tuesdays) or leave me a comment. Thanks so much! :-)

Noah – Blockbuster or Bible-buster?

I cannot recall doing a movie review on either of my blogs (yes, I had one before MM) in the 5 years I’ve been blogging. And I don’t like veering from content that’s specific to marriage, particularly “messy marriage,” but today I’m going to do that because entertainment and cultural views of the Bible are important issues to marriage and families. I’m also veering from my rule of 600 word count or less too. There’s just too much ground to cover here!

Noah Review

Here are my thoughts …

Noah is a movie with many personas …

Think Transformers, Lord of the Rings, Passion of the Christ, The Birds, and Divergent all rolled into one, with a dash of “Tinkerbell” thrown in for good measure!

I suppose Hollywood feared that a movie about a Bible story would prove to be too bland without a blockbuster storyline thrown in to ensure ticket sales—nevermind the fact that the actual account involves mass-genocide, the earth being wiped out and a giant boat that saves a family along with two of each kind of animal!

I get that. I really do! I don’t even blame them. In fact, what I’m about to say about it might seem to take this in a direction that might surprise you. But first let me get some incidentals out of the way.

Transformers – The writers and producers decided to take artistic license and interpret the “Nephilim” that are mentioned in Gen. 6:4 as spirits that originally protected humans but that became cursed. The curse left the “Nephalim” as rocky (no, I’m not referring to another blockbuster) creatures that were eerily similar to those in Transformers. Of course, these rocky creatures were in the form of what looked like “Tinkerbell” fairies to me before the curse. There’s nothing worse than being a fairy confined to a bulky rock-suit. But I digress …

Lord of the Rings – Much of the cinematography and landscape reminded me of the Lord of the Rings movies along with the spiritual and mystical messages interwoven for dramatic effect. I have to say this is one area where Noah shines–especially if you see it in I-max like my husband and I did. This is one of those movies that warrants the extra cost.

Passion of the Christ – The story in Noah explores the creation story as well, referring to Satan and the temptation of Adam and Eve in Genesis. There’s a recurrent image of a snake, representing the “serpent” (Gen. 3:1-5) that Satan took the form of in the Garden with Eve. I was glad to see that this movie, like Passion of the Christ did not shy away from the reality of Satan and the deception and temptation he played in the fall of man.

The Birds – There’s a scene when the birds are instinctively flying to the ark that reminded me of the old Hitchcock classic. But no one was picked-off by the feathered flyers.

Divergent – I have not seen divergent but kept thinking as I was watching the movie unfold just how much the movie “diverged” from the account in the Bible. Sure, there are lots of places that are not clearly spelled out in the text, but some directions the movie takes are clearly in contradiction to the Bible. Do not go to this movie expecting it to be biblically accurate. If you do, you’ll be frustrated and annoyed!

Two more quick observations I want to add …

  1. There’s clearly a Protect the Earth and Go-Green underlying message.
  2. There’s also a clear message against eating meat or killing animals for any reason.

I don’t really have complaints about any of the issues I’ve pointed out above, including the last two observations (even though they do not exactly reflect my convictions). I know if Noah had been produced strictly by born-again believers who wanted to stay as close to the scriptures as possible, there would be an underlying agenda that others would see. It’s the author’s right, at least in our country.

In fact, the movie did show a statement about it being a fictionalized retelling (for which I was grateful) of the biblical account, but I had to sit through a very long list of credits to see it and I was one of the last to leave. My preference here would’ve been that this disclaimer would be mentioned as the movie began or just before beginning. I do think there will be those who won’t cross check the accuracy and base their knowledge of the story of Noah upon Hollywood’s version. That would trouble me, but not enough to forgo seeing it and discussing it with others.

Here’s what I like about Noah the movie …

  • It was a movie with an epic feel.
  • It had amazing cinematography.
  • It wrestled with the problem of sin and goodness without giving us easy answers nor dismissing them as invalid either.
  • It had compelling acting and a well-written storyline. In fact, that leads me to the next reason I liked it …
  • It kept me on the edge of my seat because I didn’t know where they were going to “diverge” from the story I knew from scripture. I kept trying to guess how they were going to resolve certain conflicts and I never guessed correctly. In my view, this was far from predictable.
  • It made me want to go back, read and refresh my memory of the Genesis account.
  • It immersed me in an experience that opened my eyes to many facets and implications of the great flood.

My Bottom Line

I know there are some who say we shouldn’t go to movies that veer so drastically from the Bible story because that’s sending the wrong message to Hollywood. They can take as much creative license as they want and we’ll dutifully dole out the admission price. Yeah, I get that, but I see the other side of this too, where Hollywood will decide not to make these kinds of family-friendly movies at all and we’ll be left with the overwhelming abundance of R-rated flicks and cringe-worthy content of so many completely secular-themed movies.

There are also those who fear that this will leave many confused or deceived about the true story. I agree, but those people have a choice to read and become informed. And that’s where I like the movie Noah the most … it will encourage people to read the Bible or at the very least talk about the biblical account and the implications that it raises. That’s when and where we, as Christians, must act. We must do our part, not by boycotting a movie, but by gently and respectfully engaging unbelievers and misinformed believers in spiritual discussions that can eventually lead to clarity on the Gospel and our amazing Savior, Christ.

That’s where I want to spend richly and, I believe, it will be well-worth the price of I-max and popcorn!

 

What do you think? Will you see the movie? Why or why not?

 

Signature - Beth

 

 

 

 

 

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Linking up with – Marriage MondaysMaking Your Home Sing MondaySunday Stillness, Monday’s Musings, Sharing His Beauty and Playdates with God

Pathway to Reconciliation

Pathway of ReconciliationToday and in the weeks to come we’ll be delving into what should happen as we turn our efforts toward reconciliation. I’ll be addressing reconciliation from both the viewpoint of the offended and the offender (and yes, don’t exclude yourself from offender’s perspective! We’ve all been the offender in someone’s life at some point). Here are just some of the topics to come …

As the offender:

  • How do I break through my own denial?
  • How and when should I apologize? How many times should I apologize?
  • What amends should I make and how far should I be willing to go with them?
  • How do I maintain perspective and humility, so that I avoid reoffending?
  • How do I live in a boundary-protected relationship?

As the offended:

  • What should I require and expect of my offender?
  • How and when should I accept an apology?
  • What amends should I ask my offender to make?
  • What boundaries do I need to set and how do I communicate them?
  • How do I let go of the bitterness and trust my offender again?
  • What are the signs that reconciliation is not going to work?

Before we really dive in though, I want to set the stage for a challenge that I’m proposing to you, as well as, to myself. Both offenders and the offended need this in order to fully forgive and ever hope to have a chance to reconcile …

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!” –Philippians 2:5-8

I’ve prayerfully meditated on what I thought the name of this challenge should be for weeks, even months—since I thought about this idea as far back as December. I think this name captures what I feel God wants us to have …

Broken-Hearted Devotion

 

I’ll be explaining what that’s all about and what part you can have in this challenge very soon!

For now, I want to give a shout out to a few posts/bloggers that I think are definitely worth checking out, if you haven’t already …

 

What part of the process of reconciliation is most confusing or fearful to you?

 

What prayer would you share with us today—asking for a humble heart like Christ’s?

 

Signature - Beth

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Congrats to BlueCottonMemory, our winner of the ebook - That Works For Me. And thanks to all of you who participated and shared your knowledge. I’ve got a special surprise for you that you’ll receive in an email from me. 

* To read the previous post in our ongoing series on forgiveness click – Does Forgiving Require Reconciliation?

Joining with  Works for Me Wednesday, Marriage, Motherhood and MissionsTo Love Honor and Vacuum, Whimsical Wednesday and Wholehearted Wednesday

Now it’s time  for Wedded Wednesday!

 Grab our new button! Copy and paste the image below into your posts or simply share a “Wedded Wednesday” link to Messy Marriage. Thanks!

WW Button

Check out our WW rules here.

I do so love encouraging all of you and visiting your lovely places around the web, but I’ve found that I cannot get around to all who linkup each Wednesday—especially as the link-up grows. So I’ve decided to focus on visiting the blogs of those who are “early linkers” and on those who comment or connect with me in some way. So if you’d like for me to visit your blog, please join the link up early (typically between 9 and 9:30 p.m. CST on Tuesdays) or leave me a comment. :-)

Enter to win – That Works for Me

Peaceful Retreat in Carew Castle, Wales

Peaceful Retreat in Carew Castle, Wales

My life, as many of you know, has been side-swiped by cancer and all the baggage that comes along with that {diagnosed last October and doing well today, thank you!}.

It’s not that cancer or cancer treatment is still consuming that much of my time {although it is on a much smaller scale}. It’s just that I’m still trying to catch up in many areas of my life. It’s like everything starts to pile up when you add in things that take up a lot of time that you used to devote to “other things.”

If you’ve ever gone through something like that you’ll understand how time-consuming it is to deal with any kind of diagnosis or crisis like this. I won’t innumerate here for you all the ways it’s absorbed my time …

“Ain’t nobody got time for that!” :-D

So instead of trying to churn out another post today, I’ve decided to take a more peaceful retreat {like the man my husband captured above on our trip to Wales} and do a giveaway of a great e-book that has been waiting in my cue to be offered to one of you, my lovely readers.

It’s called, That Works For Me and is compiled by blogger, Kristen Welch of We are THAT family fame and Jennifer De Groot a freelance writer and former blogger who has contributed to (in)courage, Blissfully Domestic, and Devozine.

I love this book because it is chock-full of 807 {yes, that’s right! 807} tips from various bloggers who Kristen and Jennifer asked to share tips from their expertise and niche in blogging. Here’s a list of just some of the topics: Baby, Beauty, Crafts, Decor, Hospitality, Marriage, Organization, Parenting, Tech/Computers, Time Management and beyond! ‘

This will fast become a “go-to” reference book for you or your spouse whenever you have a situation that leaves you scratching your head for ideas or solutions.

I would love for you to enter this contest by giving Messy Marriage’s readers one tip from your expertise on any topic in the comment section below.

You don’t even need to be a blogger to do this!

After all, we’re all experts in something!

Also, if you comment and don’t win the e-book, I’ll be contacting you via email with a special bonus surprise after this giveaway! So be sure to weigh in today!

 

What is one tip, strategy or solution you’d say has been especially helpful to you and others you know?

 

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The deadline to enter the giveaway is 3 p.m. on Tuesday, March 25th. I’ll be announcing the winner in my Wedded Wed post.

 

Linking up with – Marriage MondaysMaking Your Home Sing MondaySunday Stillness, Monday’s Musings, Sharing His Beauty and Playdates with God

 

Does Forgiving Require Reconciling?

Today I’m addressing Myth #7 taken from my post, 7 Biggest Myths of Forgiveness, “If I forgive, I must reconcile with my offender.”

Forgiving & Reconciling

This one really should be titled, “If my offender is a perpetual boundary buster, then the nice, Christian thing to do to is be like Jesus, ‘turn the other cheek,’ and remain in a toxic relationship.”

Yep, a bit too long for a title, I’d say!

But long title or not, it’s just not true!

Besides, if you know anything at all about Jesus, you know He was no pushover and could set boundaries better than anyone I know!

I discussed Jesus’ boundary setting strategy from Matthew 18:15-17, when I addressed Myth #5, If I forgive, I lay down any right to protect myself.

But to recap: clearly in v. 16 Jesus says that if your offender won’t listen to you, go to the next level by including two or three witnesses. In v. 17 Jesus says that if he still won’t listen or change, then take it to the leaders of your church. If he still resists, then you are to withdraw from your offender.

There are other verses that support the reality that reconciliation might not be possible, such as …

“As you are going with your adversary to the magistrate, try hard to be reconciled to him on the way … ” –Luke 12:58

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written, ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.” –Romans 12:18-19

I find that there are at least three reasons this myth is embraced:

  1. Forgiveness without reconciliation seems incomplete. {I address more of this here.}
  2. Forgiveness without reconciliation seems insincere. {I address more here.}
  3. Fear that people will believe that forgiving an offender is all that’s necessary to obey God and won’t try to reconcile. {Read more here.}

In Matthew 5:23-24 Jesus makes it clear that He wants us to reach out and reconcile whenever possible, especially since he urges us to interrupt our worship in order to immediately deal with any conflict when we’re aware of it. Jesus’ words convey a sense of urgency here that I think we sometimes gloss over. Ouch! Yep, did that one step on your toes like it did mine? ;-)

Even the apostle Paul conveys the need to extend the olive branch in Hebrews 12:14-15, but he also makes it clear that it is an “effort” and not a “sure thing” when we attempt to reconcile.

One of the reasons this myth is so dangerous is because the last thing victims want to do after forgiving is allow their offender to do harm to them again, so they resist both forgiving and reaching out to reconcile. Throwing the proverbial “baby out with the bathwater.”

So how do you rebuild that broken relationship? It’s not a task to take lightly! That’s for sure!

I’ll be delving into just how and whether to rebuild a wounded relationship, especially when we’re married to our boundary busting offender, as our focus on forgiveness continues in the weeks to come.

 

Is there someone you need to make efforts to be reconciled to, but haven’t yet? If so, why?

 

What have you done to protect your heart in a boundary-busting relationship?

 

Click on this link to read the previous post in this series, “Myth #6 If I forgive, my offender must recognize his/her wrong against me, or it’s invalid or not “total forgiveness.”

 

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Joining with  Works for Me Wednesday, Marriage, Motherhood and MissionsTo Love Honor and Vacuum, Whimsical Wednesday and Wholehearted Wednesday

Now it’s time  for Wedded Wednesday!

Grab our new button! I really will be adding the code box soon! I promise! Until then “copy and paste” the image below into your posts. Thanks!

WW Button

WW rules:

Write in any way that is uplifting, helpful and spiritually encouraging to our lives, marriages and families.

  1. Enter in a permalink directly to your “blog post” and not the main URL to your blog.
  2. Be sure to include a link to “Wedded Wednesday” or add the WW button (old code is in MM’s footer) to your current blog post and/or sidebar.
  3. Visit and comment on at least one other person’s blog that’s linked up here.
  4. Please no offensive or inappropriate content or sexually explicit images!

Optional but encouraged:

  1. Consider setting up your Gravatar profile and Disqus Profile with a link to your blogit makes it so much easier for all of us to find those of you who blog!
  2. If you have the time, visit those who visit your blog and comment at their place as well … sort of a “Say it forward.

Validating Your Spouse’s Feelings

This is a reposting of an article I wrote nearly one year to today. It has been one of my most popular and visited posts for this past year.

Key to Spouse's Heart

Have you ever felt like you’ve shared your deepest feelings with your spouse, only to be left feeling unheard, walled out or simply misunderstood?

 

That’s because …

When this happens, your spouse will feel emotionally connected to you—like you’ve just given them an “emotional hug!”

Validation is a skill that’s so very elusive to many of us. In fact, it’s often left unexplained and definitely not often modeled in our families, churches and/or culture. But it’s absolutely crucial to effective communication and to the fulfillment of our craving for connection with our mates.

There are 4 key questions you should ask yourself to see if you’re validating your spouse’s feelings:

 

1.  Am I letting my spouse know that what s/he said has made an impression on me?

You might say …


“I know this has been hard for you to talk to me about … it must have taken a lot of courage.”

2.  Am I communicating that my spouse’s words matter to me or evoke compassion?

You might add to the above …
“It hurts me to know I’ve hurt you in this way. I’m glad you cared enough about our relationship to come to me with this problem.”

3.  Am I making it clear that I want to work on understanding my mate’s emotions more completely?

Add to number 2 and 3 above …
“I don’t know all that you feel right now, but I’d like to know more. Help me to fully understand how difficult this situation is for you.”

4.  Am I communicating acceptance of my spouse’s feelings?

Sum things up with something like …
“I may not understand all that you’re feeling right now, but you have a right to your feelings. They make sense to me.”

You might want to record these questions and keep them in a place where you can retrieve them easily, like on a handy index card tucked in your wallet or on a note-keeping app on your smart phone, etc.

In highly charged moments validation can be so crucial and clarifying. Sometimes a conflict can be averted by simply validating what your spouse has said. It may be all they were looking for in the first place. Other important occasions for validation might be when a deep or vulnerable disclosure is being made—especially if it’s for the first time. But validation can make any time of communication more comforting and effective. Sadly it often becomes a “lost art” in a messy marriage.

Be aware that giving validation is difficult for those who are deeply wounded, self-absorbed and/or self-protective. So if you’re living with a mate who fits any of those descriptors, accept that this skill may be one that you’ll have to “lead out on” and be the example for your spouse. In time, you just might inspire them to let go of self-protection and risk by validating your feelings in return.

It’s important that if your spouse is unwilling or unable to validate, then fill the emotional gap in your heart and mind by finding friends who can validate your feelings and, most importantly, turning to God who cares deeply for your hurts and needs. He is always ready to offer comfort in time of need!

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” –Hebrews 4:15-16 (NIV)

 

How have you felt when someone has validated your feelings? 


 

What has validation helped you to accomplish that you wouldn’t have been able to without it?

 

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Linking up with – Marriage MondaysMaking Your Home Sing MondaySunday Stillness, Monday’s Musings, Sharing His Beauty and Playdates with God

Are You Your Husband’s Helper or Hindrance?

Sheila Kimball--Longings EndI’m excited to share a guest post from my sweet friend Sheila, who blogs over at Longings End. Sheila is a regular at our Wedded Wednesday linkup and today she’s hosting, so I can have a much-needed break! {Isn’t she sweet?!}

Sheila is the author of Heart Cry: 40 Reflections for a Woman’s Soul (2013) and has graciously offered to give away one copy of her new book! Check out the details below for more information on Sheila’s ministry, as well as how to enter our contest!

6 Tips for Helping Husband

Honestly, I {Sheila} have been both.

And years ago, was I ever good at being a hindrance!

Words, attitudes and actions conveyed utter disrespect, a lack of love and a desire to control. Much was lost.

It has been a long and rocky road but God is faithful and will do what it takes to help me become Christ-like and learn 1 Corinthians 13 love. He will help you, too.

Here are six tips I gained along my journey that can help you become the sweet gift God intends you to be for your husband.

1.  Love God most of all …

Seek to understand the heart of God. Study the scriptures. Find a Titus 2 woman who will mentor you in the disciplines of a godly wife. Let your relationship with God be the most important one in your life and as you seek to please and honor Him you will become truly lovely and a greatly appreciated helpmeet.

2.  Without ceasing …


Praying for your husband every single day is vital. Pray for his relationship with God, friendships, emotions, thought-life, physical health, how he handles money, his relationship with the children, his career, dreams, and fears. Pray about everything, asking God to favor and help your husband. Being on your knees for your man will benefit you and the whole family.

3.  R-E-S-P-E-C-T …


God designed men to crave respect. It’s their number one need, even more than sex. Showing your husband respect communicates love and trust. So watch your words, tone of voice, attitude, facial expressions and body language. Yet what governs all of the above is your heartfor out of it the mouth speaks. If your heart is rightly aligned with God then everything flows right from the fount of righteousness.

4.  No jackhammers allowed …


God gives a man a wife as a good gift. Her feminine perspective on life brings a new dimension to his outlook. When a wife has something she feels needs to be said that her husband may not immediately like to hear, she should pray first to be sure God wants her to speak. Given the go ahead, she shares the message once and then moves on continuing to pray. God will drill down deep the truth a husband needs. As wives refrain from becoming verbal jackhammers a husband’s heart can soften making it easier for him to receive the message.

5.  Blinders …


Husbands are visually oriented. While you don’t need to be drop-dead gorgeous with a model figure to please your man, you should respect him enough to take good care of your body and physical appearance. Stemming from a heart of love and respect, a wife will offer her best self to her husband, saving elements of her most visually alluring appearance for his eyes only.

6.  Behind closed doors…


Being your husband’s helpmeet includes being his playmate and sex is a beautiful gift that blesses partners in ways that only lovemaking canbringing you closer, making you happier, boosting immunity, clearing your head and tethering hearts in a delightful, mysterious bond. God tells married couples to come together often except for times of mutually agreed upon prayer or fasting “lest the enemy gain a toehold.” And who wants to let the “foxes spoil the vineyard” when a marriage can be hedged in love.

 

Sheila offers C2: Comfort and Conversation for Women and with her husband provides life coaching for men, women and married couples. Her most fervent passion is seeing hearts healed through the power of God’s love and believes that all our longings end in love.

To enter to the giveaway of Sheila’s book, answer one of the following questions below or simply share with Sheila what has blessed you today with her wisdom.

The deadline for entering is Friday, March 14th by noon (CST). The winner will be announced here, updated on this post, and contacted via email. Be sure to register with your email when commenting, so that if you win, we can find you and get you the book!

 

What other tips would you add to this list—ways you’ve found helpful to building your husband up?

 

Which one of the tips Sheila has offered is what you need to work on most in your marriage?

 

Congrats to Shannon, the winner of our giveaway! And thank you to all of you who participated in the giveaway, as well as, a special “thank you” to Sheila who wrote such an amazing article for us and generously provided a book for our giveaway!

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Joining with  Works for Me Wednesday, Marriage, Motherhood and MissionsTo Love Honor and Vacuum, Whimsical Wednesday and Wholehearted Wednesday

Now it’s time  for Wedded Wednesday!

Grab our new button! I’ll be adding the code box soon, but until then “copy and paste” the image below into your posts.

WW Button

WW rules:

Write in any way that is uplifting, helpful and spiritually encouraging to our lives, marriages and families.

  1. Enter in a permalink directly to your “blog post” and not the main URL to your blog.
  2. Be sure to include a link to “Wedded Wednesday” or add the WW button (old code is in MM’s footer) to your current blog post and/or sidebar.
  3. Visit and comment on at least one other person’s blog that’s linked up here.
  4. Please no offensive or inappropriate content or sexually explicit images!

Optional but encouraged:

  1. Consider setting up your Gravatar profile and Disqus Profile with a link to your blog it makes it so much easier for all of us to find those of you who blog!
  2. If you have the time, visit those who visit your blog and comment at their place as well … sort of a “Say it forward.