Little Magpie: Swan we are still going to couples counseling but if you keep falling into the same familiar bad habits and re hash the same irritating things it's tough. Bill, it would be worth a try, we have tried to do a check in but it fell flat because it was very uncomfortable
Bill: Little Magpie: The "check-in" can put pressure on the two of you without meaning to. It is also easy to fall into a "we have to fix this" mode which makes every discussion an argument. You are in a big transition with all your kids gone. It is now just the tow of you with a lot of history between you. Often, the relationship just needs a new start with low expectations and new memories. Many of the issues can't be solved no matter how much effort you put into them but new starts are a common experience of human beings.
Swan: Bill - sometimes the best answers come from the common everyday person, not experts. Plus people will tend to listen better to someone they can relate to more than someone who is speaking more from education. Sadly, I know I can get lost when someone is speaking at me from educated knowledge, but when someone who has lived it is talking to me and I can relate, it sticks with me far more.
Bill: Swan: Exactly! People don't view their families and close friendship like an education or a career. These are casual pursuits for them which are why casual conversations are so powerful. There are numerous studies that have established that people who are significantly connected to people they trust overcome issues better than people who are pursuing the same change in counseling.
Swan: Bill - that makes so much sense, my husband has actually commented to others that there is no way I have forgiven him; even my husband says he has a hardened heart.
Bill: Swan: Wow, he can't even grasp the obvious! I am convinced that my life would have been ruined if I hadn't forgiven my mom and dad. They still don't seem to be aware of what they did. They are so used to excusing each other's bad behavior; they assume everyone else just forgets also. I will be forever glad that I discovered the power and freedom that comes with courageous grace!
Bluebird: Bill, I guess if he's just coming out of the tunnel, I don't want to hinder his journey by asking questions. On the other hand I have so many questions I don't know when or if I should ask them.
Bill: Bluebird: If you have the ability to notice when he gets overwhelmed and can back off quickly, I don't see any reason not to ask questions. This is your life and this all affects you so it is fair to ask. As you probably know, the tricky part is when he gets upset, reacts, pulls back and throws in a little chaos. Things then get more complicated because now you are dealing with reactions in addition to real issues. If you can manage your response to the reactions, I encourage you to go ahead and ask.
Little Magpie: Bill - I am finding it important but very difficult to "be intentional" about trying to engage in communication
Bill: Little Magpie: No doubt. If it was easy, we wouldn't talk about it so much. I find it best to focus on the next step and try to make progress rather than focus back on recent failures. This is a tough world so looking back can get quite discouraging. There is always hope in the future!
Little Magpie: Bill - I am not as desperate to change due to fear of change and the unknown...
Bill: Little Magpie: Thank you for sharing that. I think the reasons you stated are the most common reasons people hold back. The unknown can be a scary place and real change means having to learn all new skills with the stress that goes along with pushing the learning curve to a high level. It is a strenuous process. The fact that you admit these are holding you back is more than most will do.
buttons: bill yes, swan was just saying that the other night and I think that so often we get ourselves into a state because we can't forgive ourselves rather than because of what others have done. God is the great forgiver and clearer of sins if He can send His son to take our sins then we have no reason to hold onto them and not forgive ourselves (another thing I heard paraphrased).
Bill: Swan: Thank you for what you shared. You pointed out two of the most important decisions that must be made in order to reach wellness and gain control over our personal growth. "I finally had to find a way to forgive" and "the depression was having adverse affects on my life." In order to overcome this kind of thing from the past, we have to set our hearts free with forgiveness. Then we have to empower our choices by taking responsibility for how life is impacting us. Way to go, keep telling this story.
Dogwood: Bill, The biggest challenge for me is to be by myself, knowing that my H has left me. I can be alone and doing very well when I know that I have him in our marriage. I know that is my weakest point, I feel very ashamed if my marriage fails. I like to have a loving relationship with my H. I need to be able to experience the love of God is sufficient for me.
Bill: Dogwood: Your description is spot on. "Jesus, please give Dogwood the grace to trust you for her marriage, her well-being and for strength beyond her own. Please track down her H and move his heart toward you first and toward her second. While she waits, give her peace that is beyond our understanding and resolve that is beyond our ability."
Little Magpie: Bill - Seems Her H was not what she thought. Can someone have MIL in their 20's???
Bill: Little Magpie: No, MLC does not happen in the 20s but there are plenty of other reasons people sabotage their lives at any stage of their journey. He is obviously either quite selfish or very wounded. "Hurt people hurt people" which is why all of us need a plan for recovery. We want our future to be much better than our past.
Dogwood: Bill, You are absolutely right, I had several discussions with him, but he does not see things the same way as me. I see that he is not taking the right path to total trust in God. I can't make him to see or understand, whereas, I feel very hurt in the meantime.
Bill: Dogwood: I am sure you have been quite hurt through all this. I admire you for keeping your commitment despite the pain and for staying productive in the midst of all the chaos.
Little Magpie: Bill - How do you Trust in God?
Bill: Little Magpie: Great question. Learning to trust God is a process that takes time and is built step by step. The first step is telling yourself over and over that God's word is true. No matter how we "feel" about it or how much of it we struggle to understand, trust begins with the mental conclusion that God wrote what is true. The next step is to simply do what we understand. So, we read the Bible regularly, pray when we are anxious, serve others when we have the opportunity, give thanks in all things, worship wholeheartedly, etc. Our obedience is never perfect or complete but each time we do what we know is true, we strengthen our trust in God. Another step that helps build trust is choosing one area that we want to change. God's presence in our lives gives us the opportunity to make changes that weren't possible on our own. When we decide to focus on any of these areas regardless of how simple it might be, our trust grows. One thing that holds us back from building trust is self-condemnation. It is not hard to find reasons to devalue ourselves and run ourselves down. Jesus died for all those so that we won't be condemned at judgment. When we give in to self-condemnation, we divert our focus away from God's power as we intensify our own deficiencies.