Tag Archives: a right heart: how-to

So, you want to raise amazing, stable and successful kids?

Colette Fabry, Co-Author of awriteheart.com[blockquote cite=”Lisa Wingate, Author” type=”center”]Your children are the greatest gift God will give you, and their souls the heaviest responsibility He will place in your hands.  Take time with them, teach them to have faith in God.  Be a person in whom they can have faith.  When you are old, nothing else you’ve done will have mattered as much.  [/blockquote]

Over the course of my life, specifically the past 16 years as a counselor, I’ve met some really terrific parents. And, sadly, I’ve worked with parents who shouldn’t be parents. One forced her daughter, as discipline, to eat next to the dog and his bowl on her hands and knees with no utensils. Another thought good training was to lock her child in the cold basement in the dark so she could think about what she had done wrong. The parent was sure to remind the young girl to watch out for spiders. When I asked, no one in the room could remember the offense. No surprise there. And not that it even mattered what the child had done. No child deserves that. Obviously some people don’t understand the privilege and responsibility it is to raise kids. We need a license and training for many things… to drive a jet ski, to cut someones hair or polish toenails professionally. But to raise kids nothing is required. I look at the effort and money that parents put into their children’s sports or dance lessons. Or how much is put into making them dress cute or creating their elaborate birthday celebration. My point being that the real important things are often let go. Many of the things below….things that make up a responsible and stable adult….are often never addressed. It’s disheartening.

[pullquote cite=”Charles Portis, Author” type=”right”]If I had received good instruction as a child I would be with my family today and at peace with my neighbors.  I hope and pray that all you parents in the sound of my voice will train up your child in the way they should go.  [/pullquote]After meeting with a struggling, rebellious teen boy and his parents recently, I compiled the following list. I sat alone and wondered if this teen would have turned out differently had these things been poured into him. I do, however, understand the concept of free will and wrong choices that have nothing or little to do with parents. Teens sometimes just choose to do wrong things even with good parenting. I remind those parents that they did their best and that there is no such thing as a perfect parent. That even God’s children, in the garden of Eden, chose to do wrong. I also remind them to continue to pray for their child because their story isn’t over yet. It is not my intent to cast blame on hurting parents. I would never do that. It is my intent to encourage parents to deliberately and intentionally pour good and excellent training into their children.

It takes an awful lot of intention and dedication to be a great parent.  The following list is for the many parents who desire to do a great job training their kids. I commend and pray for you as you diligently work at such an important task… raising amazing, stable and successful adults.

Teach kids how to problem solve.

Teaching your kids to problem solve starts early. When they don’t know what to do because their toys are being taken or how to get along with their siblings….these are teachable moments to help your kids problem solve. Parents can grow impatient and just say things like “stop fighting” instead of actually helping children to solve problems. Parents may say “go to your room” because they don’t want to be bothered. Kids need help problem solving. They need to learn how to resolve conflict in their life and if they don’t get help they will grow continually frustrated and angry.

Teach kids to manage emotions.

It is proven that people who have high emotional intelligence are the most successful people on the planet. Someone can have an extremely high IQ but not know how to deal appropriately with emotions, the emotions of others or their own.  That person will struggle through life. It is also true that before most sins were committed in the Bible, there was an out of control emotion that preceded the sin. One of the first examples of this is Cain, who was angry and jealous. He then murdered his brother. Teaching your kids to handle emotions is one of the most important things a parent can do. I see many parents who yell and scream out of anger and then are baffled when they see the same behavior in their children.

Teach kids what to do when they are tempted to do wrong.

Many parents want to avoid this one altogether. They think, maybe if their kids are protected from the temptation it won’t be a temptation at all? Or maybe if issues aren’t talked about, then it won’t ever be an issue? Truth is, kids of all ages need to learn what to do when, not if, temptation comes into their lives. A wise parent discusses hard topics. How I wish I could relive this one with my grown sons when they were young. Unintentionally I think I left them on their own to fight some temptation that came their way. Now as a counselor and in hindsight, I see the huge importance of this training.

Teach kids to show respect.

Respect is essential to being a stable, successful and respected adult. The most amazing people I know have respect for God, others, authority, themselves, and life.

Teach kids how to give.

Kids are natural takers. It takes training to show them the blessing of being givers.

Teach kids to love others.

This is one of the greatest commands in the Bible. I believe that too many kids are modeling the behavior of critical parents and listening in on conversations that are unloving to each other and about others. Loving others is key to understanding God the Fathers heart.

Teach kids what being a real Christian is.

A real Christian is one who loves and abides in Jesus and His good news, the gospel. A real christian loves God and loves others in practical ways. Without this training they won’t understand their purpose on this earth. All throughout scripture we are told to “Love the Lord with all of our hearts”.  The truth is that once God has our hearts, their hearts, then all of the other things fall into place.

Teach kids how to manage technology.

Otherwise, just like emotions, technology will manage them.

Teach kids how to communicate effectively.

The skill of communication is so vitally important to having success in relationships and in this life. Much of my counseling with adults is helping them to communicate appropriately. It amazes me when I ask the question “What is negative communication?” and people struggle with the answer. It’s as if they have never been taught what is appropriate to say and what isn’t. Actually, maybe they haven’t? Effective communication is a great gift and teaching your kids to master this art will do them well.

Teach kids to stand up for what is right.

There was an elderly bus monitor being horribly abused on a Greece NY school bus by a group of Junior high boys. Someone video taped the incident, it went viral and then made national news. I spoke with several kids who attended school with those boys. When asked what they would have done if they were on the bus they all answered “nothing”. Digging deeper, I found that they all knew that an elderly person being abused was wrong, but they didn’t know what to do about it. So they decided that they would do nothing had they been in the presence of the abuse. What if one of those kids on the bus had simply texted a parent for help? Kids need to be taught how to stand up for what it right. Or they won’t.

Teach kids how to set goals and how to work hard at reaching them.

Successful people are goal setters and hard workers. It’s not a natural thing for most people to accomplish this important life skill. Ask any hard working person and they will tell you of someone who modeled that for them.

Teach your child what to do when they have messed up.

Teach them how to be restored to others and to God. Many kids that I work with have guilty and shame-based consciences. This always produces anger and acting out. They are relieved when they are given a plan of restoration. Kids have a hard time separating who they are from their wrong doing. I’m so thankful for the gospel of Jesus that separates me, and who I am in Christ, from my sin.

There is more that could be added to the list above….how to handle money, to be disciplined, to eat healthy. But I encourage parents to at least think on this list and ask for Gods wisdom as you intentionally train your kids. You will never regret that you taught these things.

God the Father, as always, is our greatest example of a good and loving parent. He came to the earth incarnate to walk out a living example for us to follow. He doesn’t over correct, over control, or over discipline his children. Nor is He slack in His instruction. He is a balanced and good father who trains us continually.

The Bible says in Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

[blockquote cite=”Colette Fabry” type=”center”]The goal in parenting is not to create perfect kids or to be perfect parents. There is no such thing. The goal is for flawed parents to consistently model the beautiful message of the gospel. In real life.  In real time. Every moment of every day. And thats only possible through abiding in Christ and He in us.  [/blockquote]

[custom_headline type=”right” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h4″ accent=”true”]Give me Jesus, Colette[/custom_headline]

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PrintableLowResSubscribe to our email newsletter (click HERE), follow us on Instagram (click HERE), like us on Facebook (click HERE), or share our post on any media…and you’ll receive a FREE printable from Yellow Sparrow Studio!!! This custom piece was created just for our September 1st post by Becky Bennett, and we are so excited to be able to give it to YOU!!!

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Feature photo attribution: flickr photo by Stefano Montagner – The life around me http://flickr.com/photos/stemonx/14131455489 shared under a Creative Commons (BY)

how to beat the odds, one win at a time

Colette @ awriteheart.comI wish I knew how long the baby had been crying. I’ve been told that after a day or two the neighbors in the apartment building called the police because of the non-stop crying. When help arrived they found him and eventually put the pieces together:  A ten month old baby boy had been abandoned. After his troubled, teen parents fought, they left each other, left him and separately left the state. After five years the boy was reunited with his mother who had remarried an alcoholic man who was mean and abusive. Screaming, yelling, name calling and fighting became the norm in their home. This boy (my dad) grew up, married, had three children and began the cycle of horrible dysfunction all over again. Until, in his 20’s, he knew he must change. For the sake of everyone that he loved and for himself, he knew that he had no other choice but to change. And that’s exactly what he did.

a secret to successMy dad is now 74 and has lived a successful life in every way. He became a strong marine, a wise leader, a compassionate preacher, a black belt in karate, an amazing long distance runner and a terrific golfer. Most importantly, he became a wonderful husband and the best dad a girl could ask for. How does someone change dysfunctional behavior? How does someone with raging anger and a violent temper stop acting the only way they have ever known? How does someone succeed in life when so many odds are stacked against them?

When I asked my dad how he achieved success in life, this is what he said:

“Success isn’t measured by failures and disappointments.  Success is measured by achievement in spite of, and even because of, failures and disappointments. I never stopped learning from difficulty but instead, used them to motivate me. When I understood that I was made for more and that God had a purpose for my life, it changed everything. I never stopped working to be what God had planned for me to be. Instead of focusing on what I didn’t have and what was unfair, I focused on what I was thankful for and how good God is. I saw the hand and grace of God in every step and through every season of my life. There were many times when I thought about giving up but I didn’t”.

With a twinkle in his eye he continued, “I just never gave up!”

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Melissa @ awriteheart.comSuccess never comes easy. We have reached the 3 month anniversary of awriteheart blog – which happens to be right about when statistics say that we should be signing off for good. 99% of blogs fail in three months, and Colette and I knew the failure rate when we started. When the idea was conceived, we had GREAT plans for this AMAZING blog, and we were SURE it would succeed because we believed that God was in it. What we didn’t know was that lasting 90 days, being committed for even that seemingly short time, would take more perseverance, prayer, encouragement, and positive thinking than we realized.

Our struggles have been different…I struggle with understanding the website and its language, and I struggle a LOT with time management . I struggle with my ego and my competitiveness when I watch the stats. I struggle with writer’s block, and with finding my voice…Wow, have I struggled with that. There was a week or two when I just couldn’t finish a post and Colette had to fill in for me, which was really humbling for me.  Colette talked me through plenty of days when I felt like the fifth wheel. She encouraged me by reminding me of texts and comments we had received from readers, and of personal accounts they had shared. She showed me that there is purpose in what we are doing, and picked me up when I couldn’t see that vision.

Colette struggles to write with excellence – she struggles with expecting perfection in each sentence and each word.  She struggles with feeling let down when she doesn’t see tangible results. She struggles with putting herself out there and making herself vulnerable by sharing personal stories. There were times when I reminded her that this isn’t about perfection and that God uses even the posts that aren’t the most popular. I dug through emails, texts and comments to show her what God had done with things we had written. I encouraged her to share MORE of her personal stories, because they resonate with people.

Along the way we’ve learned to keep going despite the bumps in the road, and to celebrate the wins. We encourage each other to see the good that HAS happened instead of the good that hasn’t. We see progress not in large numbers or great statistics, but in one life story at a time – one right heart at a time.

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20141109-DSC_9603-Edit2In life and in our endeavor of blogging, success never comes easy. In any circumstance, part of success depends on deciding to celebrate the wins instead of focusing on the losses. Any story can seem unsalvageable – but the decision to see purpose in it and the desire to use every part of our lives to glorify our great God makes all the difference. So we are thankful for the difficulties…the crashed computers, the time constraints, the Facebook glitches, the writer’s block, the insecurities, and all of the other struggles that come with writing. Those difficulties have taught us more about ourselves and about the God we serve.

We are so thankful to have reached this three month milestone. We have seen the hand and grace of God in each step of our blogging journey, and because of that we continue with smiles on our faces and joy in our hearts. We are encouraged by YOU – our readers – because of the successes and insights that you’ve shared with us.  It is because of those wins that we are even more determined never to give up.

[custom_headline type=”right” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h4″ accent=”true”]To God Be The Glory, Colette & Melissa[/custom_headline]

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Subscribe to our email newsletter during the month of June and be entered to win a basket full of gifts from Kate Foster! On mobile scroll to the end of any post to subscribe…On a desktop, subscribe on the right sidebar or in the footer below. OR just click HERE and we’ll do the work for you!

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how to win, EVERY TIME, when arguing with your spouse!

Colette @ awriteheart.comThe arguing was intense.  Back and forth, tit for tat, louder and louder.  I, the counselor, abruptly stood up and excused myself from the room. Thankful to be out of their boxing ring,  I stood at the bathroom sink, splashed water on my face and decided that I would go back into the room and say these words: ” This session is over.  It is evident that neither of you want what is best for each other or your marriage.  There is no hope for you as long as you keep fighting and demanding the other to change in order for you to be happy.   When you can clearly look at yourself and die to the ugliness that rises up in you…when you  allow that to die…then your marriage stands a chance.”  I took a deep breath, returned to my chair and spoke those exact words.  There was an awkward silence when I finished.  (See their response towards the end of this post)

As long as we are in relationship with anyone, disagreements will occur.  I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want to win an argument; to have their points heard and validated…to be right.  And who doesn’t love to do the victory dance after the actual win, even if only in our heads. Yep, we just love it!

I want to share with you how to WIN when disagreeing with your spouse.  Every single time.  At every conflict.  Always.

Listen to your partner.

Listening doesn’t mean that you have to agree with what is being said.  It’s an important skill in productive and positive communication.  You may be surprised at what you hear. And if not surprised, you will at least hear the heart and opinions of your loved one.  And, that matters. Truth is, you will win when you listen.

Be kind always.

You can disagree and still disagree kindly.  Words have the power to bring life or death to people and situations. Words said in anger can poison relationships and do a lot of emotional damage.  If you lose someones heart, you have lost.   Kindness always wins the respect of others.

Say yes when you can.

If you can possibly say yes and concede to your partner, do it.  Weigh the importance of what you’re fighting over.  Saying yes to your spouse will be a win by gaining a deeper, more intimate relationship.

Control your emotions, actions and behavior.

The focus should never be on controlling your partners emotions, actions and behavior. Win control over your own flesh and you will win more than just an argument.

Treat a disagreement as a discussion.

A disagreement is not a debate where points are scored.  It is not a competition and it is not talking someone into your way of thinking.  It is positive, respectful communication where relationship should end strengthened.  Win every single time when you discuss issues.

Respect the person that you are disagreeing with.

Always. Respecting other people wins integrity and shows great leadership skills.

Be hard on the problem and soft on the person.

In fact, separate the person from the problem. Become a good problem solver. The goal is to work towards a peaceful resolution.  Good problem solvers always win

Die to the ugliness of self.

Everyone has it in them…ugliness.  Its the nastiness that rises up inside each one of us when we don’t like what we hear and when we demand our way.  Your way may even be right.  But what rises up in you may not be.  The ugliness of self is the opposite of the fruit of the spirit and the list looks like this: fighting, self centeredness, short tempers, pride,  sharp tongues, meanness, rude sarcasm, silence and rejection. When you see that in yourself, learn to die to it. Do not let it rule you.  When we allow the Holy Spirit to rule us, we win big!

Refuse to argue over opinions.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. When we allow others to have their own opinion, we win.  Only God can change a heart and give true perspective.  Understanding when to stop an argument takes wisdom.   Developing this takes the grace of God,  determination, maturity and practice but once we allow the Holy Spirit to masters this in us, we most definitely win.

Disagree until you agree.

Take time to make decisions together and again, if you can possibly give in, give in. If you can compromise, compromise. Remember, there is an answer to every problem. Maybe not one you’d prefer to choose, but a solution nonetheless.  There are times when I say to clients, ” you have no great options but you still have options”.  Winning happens when we choose patience and wisdom over rash decision making.

Choose peace more than your need to be right, more than your ego and more than your self esteem.

I use this statement a lot.  I wish I could give credit to the brilliant person who wrote this but I have no idea who they are.  Getting pride and self out of the way is difficult.  Most fights don’t start out as fights.  Fighting occurs when there is the crazy need to prove and be right, when ego is wounded or puffed up and when you feel as if self esteem is on the line.  The problem gets lost and craziness takes over.   I understand the importance of making decisions but choosing to handle them maturely and with peace is the biggest win!

In the end of life so many things that people argue about won’t be worth a hill of beans. My very first argument with my new, 21 year old husband, was 35 years ago and over furniture. Stupid, ugly furniture that no longer even exists.  I realize that there are times when disagreements are bigger than furniture. But so often they are not.  They are over things that just don’t matter.

The couple above had this to say when asked to write a paragraph for this post

We will never forget that day two years ago.  We were presented with truth.  The truth of our selfishness.  Our marriage motto became “die to self” until it was second nature.  Our marriage and communication became sweeter and sweeter and we honestly just stopped fighting. We learned to quickly diffuse any fight by this mindset and we stopped playing the blame game.  I cant imagine what our life would be like now if that session hadn’t ended in such honesty. We were faced with a shocking wake up call. It was what we needed to hear and we will be forever thankful. – N & C

I deal with many couples who have been in battle with one another over and over for years.  Spouses may win individual battles by yelling the loudest, making a better point in anger, by verbally slamming their spouse and giving it to them good.  Yes, they may have won the heated battle but in the end they don’t really win.  They end up losing.  They lose intimacy, relationship, trust, productive communication and many even lose marriages.  All because too many battles were unfairly fought when really, they never had to be fought at all.

So, if you really want to win in an argument with your spouse,  you can choose to win.  It will take losing battles to win.  It will definitely take learning to problem solve with maturity and wisdom.   But I can promise,  this type of problem solving is a win-win for everyone!

Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectionate one to another with brotherly love; in honour, preferring one another;

[custom_headline type=”right” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h4″ accent=”true”]They will know we are Christians by our love, Colette[/custom_headline]

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the good news: how to blow it in 10 easy steps

Melissa @ awriteheart.comI’ve had a lot of opportunities to tell others about my faith in Jesus. There have been some successes, but there have definitely been some major failures. A command for everyone who follows Christ is to go, tell, and baptize in His name…Outside the door of each of our homes, or maybe even inside them, are countless individuals who don’t know the good news of Jesus. Here are ten ways to make sure that they never do.

Don’t pray for opportunities.

Thank God for your food and your warm house…Pray for your sick neighbor and your daughter’s spelling test…But don’t ask for Him to open doors for you to tell other people about Him. He might answer it, and then you’d have to move on to the following steps.

Don’t be friends with anyone who isn’t a Christian.

One way to avoid sharing the love of Christ is never to seek out meaningful relationships with unsaved people. Easy-peasy, right? Right. Stay in the bubble and keep those heathens at arms length. If you actually come into contact with someone who isn’t a Christian, the best policy is to invest nothing. Ask nothing. They might infect you with their unspiritual-ness, so definitely don’t spend a substantial amount of time with them. If a tangible need becomes evident, don’t meet it. Just ignore it and someone else will probably take care of it. Or not.

Don’t let them know the real you.

Don’t even think of telling someone how your life has been transformed by the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. This is super easy if your life shows no evidence that you follow Jesus, but even if it does you can just not tell anyone that it was Him who made the difference. And under no circumstance should you tell them that you have had doubts, fears, or failures. They might relate to it, and we wouldn’t want that.

Be the sin police.

sin policeNaturally, people who don’t follow Christ don’t necessarily know or care how He wants Christians to live their lives. It stands to reason, then, that if you point out the sins of unsaved people and inform them of how badly they need to change before they even understand their need for a savior, they will continue not to see their need and subsequently avoid you and your critiques of their lives. Put a cherry on top and inform them of why you don’t do what they’re doing, so they can see how much better you are than them.

Make up rules that don’t exist.

People love rules, don’t they? Make up a few about how you think people should act or dress or worship or entertain themselves that aren’t in the Bible but are based on your personal preference, and inflict them upon others. It’s perfect because they’ll know they can look to you instead of to the word of God for the standard of what a Christ-follower looks like.

Gossip about other people.

Talking about other people behind their backs is very effective if you want someone to see clearly how you love yourself more than anything on earth, how you only like people who are as awesome as you, and how your friendship actually isn’t friendship at all. In no time you will have lost their trust, and the game is over.

Gossip about other churches.

A great way to let unsaved people know that they should steer clear is to talk negatively about other Bible-believing churches that have practices that you don’t agree with. It shows superiority, disunity, and a lack of vision for what it actually means to be the body of Christ, and will dissuade most anyone from wanting to be a part of any such body of believers.

Insist that Christianity should only be done the way you do it.

worship warsI mean, we all know that when we get to heaven, everything will be done exactly the way you do it right now. Why wouldn’t you share that with someone who could potentially be in heaven with you?

Talk trash on social media.

This one’s pretty fun. Go on Facebook and call unsaved people unintelligent at an opportune moment, like under a post about evolution. It’s sure to evoke lots of negative comments that you can then make more derogatory comments on. If you persevere, you’ll have the last word and many less prospective converts to worry about discipling.

Idolize something other than Jesus.

Soap-boxes, obsessions, and social causes are amazing distractions from what should be the main thing in a Christian’s life. If you can find something to live more passionately for than God, or a message to tell more adamantly than the good news of the gospel, that’ll help divert a non-Christian’s attention to all of the other stuff in their own lives that they could live for.

With these ten tips, you can reach no one with the message of Christ, or you can reach everyone with no message at all. Either way you can rest assured that nothing eternal will ever happen because of you.

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five ways to know your spouse is repentant after infidelity

Colette @ awriteheart.comIt felt as if I had entered a privileged, sacred moment and that I did not belong. I watched as this big, strong young man got onto his knees in the counseling room. He crawled over to his wife. The tears were running down his cheeks and with sincere apology and repentance, in body and in voice, he begged her for forgiveness; for the infidelity, for not putting her first, for not loving her like she deserved.
She wasn’t expecting this brokenness. She had never seen it. She looked up at me as she held his head on her lap. Panic and fear filled her voice and she asked “How do I know if this is real?”

It’s almost easier to deal with someone who is not repentant. It hurts but it’s pretty much cut and dry. But what about when your spouse commits to change and is truly repentant? I will say this with boldness: all broken marriages can be reconciled through true and sincere repentance.

All people can be sorry but not all people are repentant. How do you know if repentance is real?

  1. Behavior changes. A person who is sorry and wants to change does. A truly repentant person does not go back to the old way of doing things.
  2. There are no more secrets. No passwords, computer, whereabouts are off limit to the spouse. Nothing. Trust is rebuilt by being open about everything.
  3. Repentance is evident every day. It looks like this: Kindness always. Kindness no matter what. Kindness with patience.
    Saying the words “what do you need me to do?” to your spouse and living the answer out. (Come on, wounded spouse, the request must be doable and legal! )
  4. Patience and Love prevails. It takes a while to rebuild. A repentant person will patiently and lovingly continue in 1-4 indefinitely. No time limits. Not from a “have to” mentality but a “want to” mentality. Patience and love describe good relationships.
  5. A repentant spouse will be open to wise counseling. Couples counseling is usually very important in order to rebuild. It helps figure out what happened and how to prevent it. Often wounds are deep and can cause skewed perceptions. A trusted third party can gently walk people through the process of healing.

[pullquote type=”right”]God the Father is the glue that holds a marriage together. [/pullquote]I recently heard the words “children are the glue that hold a marriage together”. I disagree. God the Father is the glue that holds a marriage together. It is God who gives us the handbook for successful relationships, for instruction on how to forgive, what it takes to be a loving, kind and patient partner. He sets the standard for unconditional love and reconciliation. He shows us how and it is God who gives us the ability to do what is required. God through Jesus set the example as this: He is slow to wrath, He separates the person from the sin, His only condition is faithfulness and even then the door is always open for repentance, He is long suffering and so very patient. He is forgiving and kind. He is an amazing model to his bride, the church.

One of the most beautiful verses in Scripture is Isaiah 61, verse 3: To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. It’s a prophecy which tells us why Jesus will come to earth. Then in Luke 4, Jesus himself quoted from Isaiah 61 and said “This day is the Scripture fulfilled…” One of the reasons the Messiah came is to create beauty from ashes! How is it even possible for anything beautiful to come from ashes?? Well, a destroyed and completely broken marriage can become whole, loving and functional again. It’s a promise and it comes through true repentance which lays the foundation for true forgiveness. That is beauty at its best!

~He Makes Beautiful Things, Colette~