1. This one’s a toughie! A priest once told me that a woman’s mind NEVER forgets! He’s so right…sometimes the strangest things trigger a bad memory and it takes a lot of effort not to let the ‘grudginess’ come out. His advice is something I’ve held onto. He said that when the memory surfaces I must intentionally focus on something good in its place (petty much what Cheri is saying here) and that I must remember that the person who offended me is no longer the same as they were before. They are washed in the blood of Christ and if He no longer looks upon that sin, I must not! Tough to do…but the Lord’s prayer says ‘forgive us our trespasses as we forgive others’…I try to remember that when I find it hard to forgive someone!

    Thanks for this great article Cheri!

    1. Lisa Maria — Reading Shaunti Feldhahn’s book For Men Only (I know, I shouldn’t have… 😉 was a huge eye-opener for me. She said that just like men’s minds have a VISUAL “Roledex” that stores every visual image they’ve seen and can bring it back to mind in a split-second, women are the same way with WORDS and tones of voices.

      She uses the illustration of a computer with annoying “pop-up windows” that you can minimize but then they just pop right back up again whether or not you want them to. I remember yelling, “Yes! This is MY BRAIN!” when I read that section! It really helped Daniel understand that I don’t intentionally hold onto, harbor, and bring back all sorts of hurtful things that have been said…they just show back up, unbidden!

      I LOVE the priest’s counsel — intentionally focusing on a positive substitute. Realizing that just as you are not the same person you once were, neither is the other person. This year when I was teaching satire to my AP students, I realized that grudge-holding transforms real people into caricatures in my mind. I don’t want people to reduce me my worst moment, so I try harder to not do it to them!

  2. That’s a tough part of a floundering marriage; you get to a point where you feel like you have to be on the defensive all the time, so you need to correct every little thing your spouse says wrong about you, even when it’s not important. Of course, that never ends up well! 😛 It’s hard to let go and focus on the important issues.

    1. Okaasan —

      I SO relate. For at least a decade, I felt like I was just one big exposed nerve, sensitive to every sharp word, every silence, every sigh, every tone of voice. I wrote things down just so I could have record when I was corrected incorrectly/unfairly.

      Only in the last few years, when I finally “got” that the only person I change is me, have we seen progress. God had to let me break, add water, and soften me up in order to work on re-shaping my life!

  3. Well said Okaasan. Seems I am in that boat at this time, so today’s post speaks to my heart! I am most likely to keep records of all the false accusations and critical words that are thrown at me. I feel the need to defend myself and yet it does no good. I have to really focus on prayer regarding these issues in order to not allow these things to consume my heart and mind. ‘Oh Lord, grant me the grace to do as Cheri suggests and actively seek at least 5 positive interactions each time I have a “baditude-triggering encounter”. I can only accomplish this through You!’

    1. Amie —

      My heart goes out to you, too.

      The saving grace in my marriage is that my husband is, in his heart, “a good-willed person” (to use Dr. Emerson Eggerichs’ term! Although I have felt emotionally and verbally abused, my husband is not an abuser. He is a highly logical man married to a highly sensitive woman.

      There were times that I wrote things down so I wouldn’t feel I was crazy. My husband sometimes says things but doesn’t intend them to come out the way they do and then insists he didn’t say them “that way” because (as a Melancholy!) being wrong is not an option. It’s actually been interesting to watch how visibly crushed he is when someone else corroborates and says, “yes, you did say that.” He’s truly confused and baffled as to why his intentions and actuality are so different.

      However, my case may be an exception. There are far too many instances of a wife feeling emotionally and verbally abused because her husband is abusing her.

      Keeping records when a relationship is abusive and a partner is truly out-of-line could be important for (a) deciding it’s time to get help (b) having documentation to share with a trained professional.

      I will pray for discernment and courage!

  4. Great devotion today and what a great reminder of what is important and what can destroy a relationship.

    1. Thanks, Lori! For the longest time, I did not see how destructive “advocating” for my “rights” really was.

      I am against abuse in any form, but the majority of the battles I’ve fought were over nothing more than wounded pride…praise God for his patience and mercy!

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