Each Friday at RefineUs, we repost a blog post from the archives that we feel has good content, and can create good conversation over the weekend with you and your spouse or a good friend if you are not married.
Restoration Principle #1- Utter and complete brokenness lays the foundation for a thriving marriage.
When Trisha and I were dating and when we first got married, I truly cared about all that was important to her. When she was sad, it made me sad. When she was disappointed, I wanted to understand what had disappointed her. When she got angry with me or when I hurt her feelings, it really bothered me, and I wanted to change. But over the course of time, my basis of remorse changed. I began to be resentful of the things that made her sad. I thought she overreacted when she was so disappointed. If I knew I hurt her feelings, I justified it with the times that she had hurt my feelings and never acknowledged it.
I wish that it didn’t take our separation to allow me to see the importance of this principle. I realized that so many times through our or marriage, my motivation for resolving conflict and restoring intimacy in my marriage was self-centered. Most of the time, if I experienced remorse, it was more for the consequences of my choices than the choices themselves.
For example, I would give a time that I would be home in the evening and I would usually not be home at that time. Something “important” came up, and I was often late. At first, Trisha’s feelings were hurt by this. But as it got more and more frequent she moved from hurt, to anger to resentment. Here is the sad truth…my heart didn’t break because she was hurt. My heart didn’t hurt because I had let her down by not coming thru on what I had said. I was sorry because my actions would cause an argument. I had so many things to deal with at the church, that the last thing I needed was an argument with my wife.
I am convinced that the reason that most couples argue about the same things today that they did last week and last month and last year is because there is a lack of brokenness in their hearts. Because there is no brokenness for the actual behavior, there is never life change. Repentance is shown so the argument can end, so you won’t go to bed mad, so your wife will have sex with you again, so you can go to work without guilt. But if you truly did an inventory of your heart, you are not really sorry for what you did, just that you got busted or the reaction or the ramifications of the choice. Pain avoidance is usually our primary motivation.
There is a specific passage of scripture that illuminated this condition of my heart.
“Godly sorrow leads to repentance and brings life, and leaves no regret. But worldly sorrow leads to death.” 2 Corinthians 7:10
When our heart is first and foremost aligned with the heart of God, and our heart breaks for the things that break His heart, that naturally leads us to repentance…which brings life. Worldly sorrow in my opinion is to be as sorry as we have to be to avoid consequences.