Day 9 - CMBA Blog Challenge
The beginning was hard and the current "end" is good. But that middle part? It was the hardest part. The work. Oh, the work that it took. For me, the most difficult aspect was choosing not to dwell on Dave's past sins, many of which had wounded me deeply.
Because he had broken my trust before we got married, I was incredibly suspicious of him, I was insecure, and I was always fearful that he would leave me. I doubt that anyone would blame me for feeling the way I did, but the truth was that it was killing any potential our marriage had. If we were going to move forward, not only would he need to work towards rebuilding trust, but the way I thought about him and our marriage was going to have to change. But how to do this? How do you stop dwelling on sins? How do you forgive and forget?
Obviously, the issue of forgiveness is complex. You don't just mutter, "I forgive you" and then everything is fine. You never really forget. So I'm not trying to be simplistic here when I tell you what helped me to move on. But once a decision has been made to move forward and begin to rebuild your marriage, if you want to have a good opinion of your husband, if you want to feel safe and if you want to have a new view of him, one of the things you will have to do is to stop thinking about it. Cindy Beall, who writes about how her pastor husband confessed to multiple affairs, one of which resulted in a pregnancy, addresses it this way: "Stop nursing your wounds."
Yes, he was wrong.
Yes, he hurt you.
Yes, he broke your trust.
Yes, he will be working towards being more transparent and accountable.
But if you continually replay movies of his sins in your mind, you will always feel that pain. Cindy Beall writes,
It can become second nature to tend to our wounds with such care that we begin to identify only with the wound and not with a life of healing or restoration. When something reminds us of our pain, we nurse the hurt and then just can't get past it. (Healing Your Marriage When Trust is Broken, Kindle edition, Loc 1825)If you want to move past it, you're going to have to do what will feel like "mental gymnastics". When you start to think about a particular scenario, first you've got to take every thought captive. Then you have to decide that whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. It's not easy. It will feel like it does whenever you start a new exercise routine or you learn a new skill; it will be hard and it will feel awkward. But the more you do it, the easier it gets.
Honestly, I have made the sacrifice of the memory of my early married years in order to forgive. I do not allow myself to think about those years because I find myself despising my husband, feeling sorry for myself and angry that we missed out on happiness for those years. And the truth is that we aren't in that place! He isn't the same man! I'm not the same woman! We are friends! We are a good team! He's an awesome servant! He takes such good care of me!
If I allow myself to think about those years, I start to believe things that are no longer true. It's been a little difficult to write this series on my blog because it's made me go back to that dark place a few times. Thankfully, I've been doing mental gymnastics long enough that I feel like an Olympic athlete. When I first started paying attention to my thoughts, I would spend entire days wallowing in bitterness and battling to remember the truth and to think pure, honorable, praiseworthy thoughts. Now, it's a natural and quick reversal of my thoughts. I probably spend a matter of minutes changing gears.
I can hear some people objecting here: It's unhealthy to repress your feelings. You can't heal from pain by ignoring it. If someone wants to explain this to me, feel free, but I don't understand how you can heal if you're always thinking about how much it hurts. Again, Cindy Beall has something to say:
I learned a long time ago that you rarely feel your way into positive actions, but you can act your way into better feelings. You may not really want to wake up at five for that morning run, but you do it anyway. Afterward, you are so glad you made the extra effort because you feel good and have more energy. There is great satisfaction in making a choice to do something that your flesh was yelling at you not to do! You acted your way into a feeling. (Healing Your Marriage When Trust is Broken, Kindle edition, Loc 1849).It's a lot of work...hard work...but the blessing that can follow is that your heart begins to calm and the love returns. Do you know what God promises to do?
“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26)And when that happens, you suddenly find yourself with a new history. After a lot of pain, who wouldn't want that?
Sharing with: Women Living Well, Deep Roots at Home, Wifey Wednesday, We Are THAT Family, NOBH