Do you ever feel like you and your spouse aren’t on the same page? In the same book? Or even in the same library?

After 37 years, Tim and I were at odds. We went to the moon and back again discussing money, goals, and long work hours. We were willie-niverred. (I like to make up words. “Stuck” doesn’t touch it. I like the sound of “willie-niverred” better. Making stuff up comes easy to pathological liars creative writers.)

So we signed up for a Nothing Hidden Ministries workshop called Love After Marriage. 40 hours in four days. Together. In. The. Same. Room. Lord, have mercy.

But after watching a zillion DVDs and discussing marriage in a small group (Tim and I agreed at the last minute to facilitate a table), I was deeply amazed at Jesus’ miracles. He likes to show up and show off!

Tim and I asked and extended forgiveness to one another. I kicked my pride to the curb and forgave him for some issues. He did the same thing.

A pivotal point for us in the workshop was taking steps to reconciliation. Here they are:

Steps to Reconciliation

  • “This is what I did to hurt you. Am I understanding it right?”
  • “This is the pain I believe I put you through because of what I did.”
  • “This is how I feel about putting you through that pain.”
  • “I intend to change and not bring that pain to our relationship in the future.”
  • “Can you forgive me for the pain I brought you?”

I felt a shift in my heart when I identified what I had done to hurt Tim. Things like criticizing his decisions and second-guessing his business prowess. When I identified his pain, it became mine. When he forgave me for angry words, I felt grace swish over me.

Along the way, as I received God’s and Tim’s forgiveness, I forgave myself. A huge load rolled off my back.

We wrote love letters from God to each other. We laughed. We cried. We hugged.

We came away newly committed to each other, with a newfound depth of connectedness in our emotional and physical intimacy. We even dreamed about how we could impact the world as a couple. (Tim’s first goal: World Domination.)

There’s no turning back. We overcame the enemy by the blood of the Lamb and the word of  our testimony (Rev. 12:11), At the end of the fourth day, couples shared what God had done in their hearts. We expressed love and devotion, forgiveness and tenderness. Godly affection was tangible. The lies of the enemy were exchanged for God-truths. The enemy didn’t stand a chance.

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:32).

Jesus, I no longer have guilt or shame over past failures, because I’m “in” with You. I actively forgive my spouse when he/she has hurt me. Grow him/her in love and wisdom. Forgiveness is my number one defense!  And I forgive myself. With newfound peace, I ask You to fill my soul with trust in Your goodness.

Friend, how does forgiving others help you forgive yourself? How do you move forward when you’re willie-niverred?