There are many reasons why I didn’t confess my faults and sins to my husband in the early days of my marriage, but three of them stand out more than some of the others.
- I thought that confessing “I was wrong” about something to my husband was the equivalent of handing him the keys to a bulldozer, so he could plow right over me.
- I felt that if I was right about something, it would be “wrong” to apologize to my husband—no matter what my inadvertent “rightness” had cost him or our marriage.
- I also believed that because his sins seemed so much worse and more glaring than mine, that by confessing, I would only be pacifying him. In doing that, I was robbing him of the negative consequences (conflict and anger) that he needed in order to wake up to his bad attitude.
These primarily, and probably so many other lies and distortions, kept me from humbling myself and seeking to take responsibility for what only I could take responsibility for. Instead, I let my focus become all about getting my husband to take responsibility! And as long as I held these views and this stance, my marriage became mired in more and more messiness.
I don’t want to rush through this, so I’m going to unpack each distortion for at least the next three weeks.
Distortion One – “I’ll be hurt worse!”
First of all, I guess I’d forgotten that my husband loved me and didn’t want to “plow” over me, because as soon as I let my guard down and apologized, he was more than willing to admit his faults and sins too!
But perhaps you’re married to a spouse who is downright hardhearted and does want to “plow” over you, no matter how humble you are! Then I would say that you won’t be able to stop that completely. Actually, you might be egging it on, because you refuse to be humble and admit your faults to your spouse.
Yes, I know, your mate has faults too! Huge mistakes! Big!!
So you can wait all your lifetime for him or her to do the right thing, while your marriage languishes. Or you can be the mature and humble person, who recognizes your faults and sins, and extends the olive branch so that at least one gesture of healing grace is applied to the wound. Of course, if you want a “confessional culture” in your marriage (which is what encourages the healing), then you will need to apply this balm of “healing grace” over and over without an expectation of getting something in return! You’ve got to be in it for the long-haul.
Now I’m not saying that you should let emotional abuse go unaddressed or undealt with! I’m also not saying that you must resign yourself to a lifetime of being the “bigger person” who apologizes and takes responsibility ad nauseam. I’m simply saying that . . .
[Tweet “True healing change takes time—and months aren’t even scratching the surface! “]
And the more hurtful the environment has been, the longer you’ll have to work to be humble, apologetic and vulnerable.
Most importantly, you can’t do this on your own! You must . . .
[Tweet “Seek God’s healing balm for your own wounded heart in order to extend healing grace to your mate. “]
Next week I’ll be sharing about Distortion Two – “I’m right, so I shouldn’t have to apologize.”
What are some of the lessons you’ve learned about the importance of confession and apologizing to your mate?
What parts of confession and apology are still confusing to you?
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