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

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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! :-)

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  • http://www.creeksideministries.blogspot.com/ Linda@Creekside

    Beth … you said it all right there in that 2nd line. Rare is the relationship where each person doesn’t need to take ownership of their own stuff, choices, behaviors. It’s way too easy to look at the other one’s faults instead of taking a good long look in our own mirror.
    ‘Search me, oh God …’

    • http://www.messymarriage.com/ Beth Steffaniak

      Oh yes, Linda. It’s where reconciliation and forgiveness get derailed so many times. Love that verse too! It’s the constant prayer of my heart lately. Love ya!

  • Gaye @ CalmHealthySexy

    Oh, I thought I was going to be first, but Ngina beat me to it – lol! Hope you are doing well, Beth. Thanks for the opportunity to link up with you.

    • http://www.messymarriage.com/ Beth Steffaniak

      Yeah, I love getting that coveted first spot too! ha! But you’re still number one in my mind and heart, Gaye! (As are all the lovely bloggers who link up here! I don’t have favorites!)

      I am doing well. I’ve just been super busy. I was out of town this past weekend and part of the end of last week, so I didn’t get around to commenting here or doing a few other things that should’ve been done. And this week I will begin my pain management treatment–going 2x a week to an office that’s about 45 minutes away. Ugh! It’s meant scrunching my life and schedule to very tight proportions! Continued prayers would be greatly appreciated, my friend! And thanks so much for stopping by to say “hi!”

  • http://judithwholeheartedhome.com/ Judith

    This is a really special series, Beth. Thank you so much for hosting. I hope you are feeling as best as possible. If you could email or FB Message me your Caring Bridge link again, I would really appreciate that. I have a hard time getting everything done and there is something that always falls through the cracks. So, I want to catch this before is slips entirely. Thanks.

    • http://www.messymarriage.com/ Beth Steffaniak

      I hear ya, Judith! I’m having trouble getting all the things I need to do done as well. Let’s pray for each other in this! And although I haven’t had the chance to respond to your email to me last week, I had to laugh at your driving on highways story! Yes, I’m mostly a city girl–having driven on many a highway in my day! I don’t enjoy it, but try to make the best of it by listening to worship music or sermon podcasts all along the way! Thanks for encouraging me here, my friend!

  • http://www.beckykopitzke.blogspot.com/ Becky Kopitzke

    Ah, soften our hearts, Lord – something I pray often! See if there is any offensive way in me… One of my favorite Psalms. Thank you for this continued series, Beth!

    • http://www.messymarriage.com/ Beth Steffaniak

      Yes, it’s one of my favorite Psalms and verses, Becky. I’m trying desperately to learn to have that soft heart, that brokenness that allows God’s Spirit to infiltrate, but still have far to go! Just glad that I’m not alone on this journey, my friend!

  • http://momstheword--livingforhim.blogspot.com/ Nan

    Great post, my friend! You really should turn this series into an ebook when you’re all done! Seriously, you should.

    Love how you continue to point us to Jesus. There really can’t be any reconciling or any real marriage without vulnerability. If we cannot trust one another enough to bare our hearts and be transparent, than we can’t really trust anyone enough to let them in.

    Marriage is not about protecting but about reflecting. Reflecting love and acceptance back, reflecting Jesus, reflecting on what we can do to meet the other person’s needs and make them happy, etc. Thanks so much for hosting another great party!

    • http://www.messymarriage.com/ Beth Steffaniak

      Yes, I really do plan to, Nan. I feel like I’m killing two birds with one stone–writing the series here and preparing a manuscript for an ebook in the future. Thanks so much for your kind words to me, my friend. Also thanks for adding to the discussion here with your wisdom! Love ya!

  • bluecottonmemory

    Owning our part of the conflict – willing to see how someone else has been hurt – good, hard truth. I’ve got some thinking to do. It does take two sides to continue reaching though – for reconciliation – I’ve been blessed with that with my MIL – we just continue reaching – and we’ve grown a very sweet relationship!

    You tackle the tough stuff with such grace!

    ~Maryleigh

    • http://www.messymarriage.com/ Beth Steffaniak

      How great that you and your MIL are mending fences and bridging the gap, Maryleigh! I love hearing about redemptive stories like that! I do hope that this provides more perspective in your pursuit to heal and move forward. It’s a blessing to me to know I’ve been helpful in your quest to forgive and reconcile. :)

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  • http://www.ugochi-jolomi.com/ Ugochi

    Our selfish ambitions and the devil’s suggestions are definitely something to look out for and guard against during the process. Thanks again Beth, for this series and for hosting us. Have a super blessed day!
    Love

    • http://www.messymarriage.com/ Beth Steffaniak

      Yes, both can be so destructive, Ugochi. I want to be aware of both and evaluate each struggle I’m having through this grid. Thanks for your sweet encouragement and smiling face here each week, my friend!

  • Mary

    I can relate personally to the vulnerability as one who experienced a situation of deep hurt and lack of reconciliation. Forgiveness was eventually achieved but reconciliation was not. I tend to be a very stubborn person and when I believe a certain wrong has been committed I have a hard time backing down. I am learning as my life journey moves forward that with God as my center I am not that same person from 7 years ago who did not handle the hurt with grace and did not ask God to lead us to a new place together. Your series provides a way for me to understand this past hurt as well as to apply new truths to future situations. Thank you for the blessing you have been in my life!

    • http://www.messymarriage.com/ Beth Steffaniak

      I’m so glad to hear that this series is giving you greater perspective and understanding on that hurtful wound of your past, Mary. And I’m glad you mentioned that sometimes reconciliation can’t be achieved. We can’t control others, so we can’t control the outcome of our efforts. But God will bless us for trying to extend mercy. Hugs to you!

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  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    There are two sides to every conflict, and there are two sides to vulnerability.

    Pride and guardedness, certainly…but there can also be too much of a mea culpa that engenders a lack of self-respect and self-worth. It can be equally destructive to an attempt at reconciliation (and to life in general).

    I think that one necessary step in reconciliation is counseling. Whether this is with a pshrink or with a ministry team at church isn’t the vital question – you need a neutral party to shine a light into the dark corners of your soul.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2014/04/do-you-know-what-your-husband-is-doing.html

    • http://www.messymarriage.com/ Beth Steffaniak

      Oh yes, Andrew. I like that insight–”pride and guardedness–two sides to every conflict.” I’ll be thinking more about that one, my friend! And yes, counseling and all types of support are necessary. Thanks for weighing in and stopping by to encourage me, my friend!

  • Kim Adams Morgan

    Hi Beth, I think this is my favorite so far. Not too many years ago I was in the middle of a family reconciliation. I was not a part of the conflict so could view both sides and the hurt caused without judgement. It was difficult to see each party come so close to reconciliation, be almost there, and then not be able to understand or acknowledge that there was hurt caused (by them) on the other side that they also needed to address. We only want to tend to ourselves sometimes. It is most definitely a God thing and was maddening to watch unfold with endless prayer. Thank you so much for talking about this.

    • http://www.messymarriage.com/ Beth Steffaniak

      Yay! I’m so encouraged by your words, Kim. I really thought this was a great post too–not because “I’m so great” ha! But because it has humility at its foundation. That’s where God has been working with me and my heart. And every time I’ve ever forgiven someone or worked to heal a broken relationship, humility is such a HUGE factor in all of it. I think it’s like the “oil of the Holy Spirit” making things run more smoothly in the right direction. Thanks for your kind words to me, my friend. It means a lot!!

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