Sadness, pain and loss are a part of everyone’s life. We all experience loss, not only in the form of losing loved ones to things like death or relational brokenness, but also in myriads of other big and little losses throughout daily life. Loss is a form of disappointment–the experience of having expected or hoped for one thing, and instead experiencing something much less desirable. How we respond to the daily (and seemingly “little” disappointments) sets the stage for how we will respond to our sadness about much more noticeable losses.
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July 8, 2016 (Updated Jul 8, 2016) by — Intended Audience: General
Infidelity is devastating to a marriage–the hurt, loss, confusion and anger take their toll. But an affair does not automatically mean the end of the relationship. If both parties want to repair and rebuild the marriage, then it is possible to do so. And the couple can actually end up with a healthier, stronger relationship than they had previously.
Our culture is in love with the fantasy of the perfect spouse who will meet all our needs and never fail us. But in reality, a significant part of developing our capacity for meaningful long-term relationships is learning how to bear with one another’s imperfections. I’ve touched on these themes in other posts previously (including some videos), but wanted to share an excellent article I recently came across that gives a nice overview of how Romanticism (as a common philosophical approach to relationships) has distorted our expectations, and ironically made it harder to experience the kind of relationship it promises to deliver.
This is Part 4 of 4 in the series Forgiveness: One of the Hardest (And Most Important) Things We Can Do for Ourselves and Our Relationships.
Forgiveness (and the underlying grieving required) is one of the hardest (and most important) things we can aspire to do, in part because of how it touches so many vulnerable places within us. Whether a relational infraction is little or big, the work of forgiveness (of working through our pain) is the same: We have to learn how to let our self matter, without trying to make the other person matter less. This distinction is both a hallmark of real forgiveness and a necessary prerequisite to reconciliation. In essence, we cannot healthily move towards reconciliation until we have worked through (or at least begun working through) the pain and grief of forgiveness.
This is Part 3 of 4 in the series Forgiveness: One of the Hardest (And Most Important) Things We Can Do for Ourselves and Our Relationships.
Stepping into our grief and engaging our pain is very challenging (though incredibly rewarding) work. Given how scary this work can be (especially if we don’t have people in our life walking with us through it) it should come as no surprise that we are prone to developing all sorts of unhealthy coping strategies in an effort to survive without having to do the actual work of facing our pain.
This is Part 2 of 4 in the series Forgiveness: One of the Hardest (And Most Important) Things We Can Do for Ourselves and Our Relationships.
Forgiveness necessitates our remembering and grieving our pain. Fortunately, this remembering is not contingent on our remembering perfectly. To put it differently: In order to forgive we must grieve what we experienced, letting our pain matter to us, even though we know that our memory is imperfect.
This is Part 1 of 4 in the series Forgiveness: One of the Hardest (And Most Important) Things We Can Do for Ourselves and Our Relationships.
A common (and mistaken) approach to forgiveness is to “forgive and forget.” This is problematic for a number of reasons, the most fundamental being that real, healing forgiveness requires that we remember. And embedded in this truth is one of the reasons that I believe God calls Christians to forgive.
March 23, 2015 (Updated Mar 26, 2015) by — Intended Audience: General
This is Part 3 of 3 in the series Love Talk Film Festival, Expert Panel (2015).
Growing up in a broken world, we each can have places inside of us that we can be afraid to go. This stems from repeated experiences of not having the resources (within ourself, and/or in our closest relationships) to grapple with certain emotions. When we encounter various forms of pain in life, and we aren’t able to healthily work through the emotions accompanying those experiences, then those emotions get stuck within us. And they stay in that stuck state, festering, until we encounter a relational context that can help us build the emotional muscles that we’re lacking.
This is Part 2 of 3 in the series Love Talk Film Festival, Expert Panel (2015).
Fellow panelist Aaron Bacue, M.A., ABD, (a communications instructor at James Madison University) shares some of his thoughts on how couples can keep their relationship vibrant, and I springboard off of his thoughts with some concepts about how our brains work with patterns. (This video is ~3 minutes long.)
This is Part 1 of 3 in the series Love Talk Film Festival, Expert Panel (2015).
One of the reasons we (in our culture) can too quickly pursue divorce is that we mistakenly believe a spouse can resolve certain internal struggles for us, which in actuality can not be resolved by one’s spouse. This sets up a fantasy expectation which we can end up perpetually chasing, believing that if we can just find the right person, then we will feel complete, loved, etc. Unfortunately, this dynamic often makes it harder and harder for us to see that the resolution to our pain, loneliness, etc. actually resides within ourself.