Comfort with Emotion
Mourn with those who mourn. Romans 12:15, NIV
Lori tearfully described her disappointment at Sam's forgetting her birthday. As Lori sat next to him, hurting deeply over the rejection she felt, Sam finally responded: "I had such a busy week, and the kids' schedules kept us out every night. I'll make it up to you:' While Sam meant what he said, his words didn't comfort Lori.
When emotion is involved, logic, reasons, and facts don't help. Emotional hurt is not healed with explanations, criticism, or reminders of our own hurt. Nor is it healed through quoting Bible verses or giving pep talks. When someone expresses emotion, he or she needs to have emotions given in return.
For example, Lori needed to hear Sam's emotional response, not any of these responses below:
"You're just being too sensitive. It's not that big of a deal." "Cheer up, honey. I'll make it up to you next weekend."
"I know that I missed your birthday, but this is a time when I need your forgiveness, not your judgment."
Sam needed to first consider how Lori felt—disappointed, rejected, unimportant, devalued, taken for granted. Next, Sam needed to consider what feelings were prompted as he thought about his wife's pain. Sam needed to ask himself, "My wife is hurting, but do I care?"
After exploring his feelings about his wife's pain, Sam was able to communicate a more comforting message. He said, "Lori, I can really see that you're hurting, and I genuinely regret my part in hurting you. I deeply care about you and love you. Will you forgive me?"
Lori was able to receive Sam's confession and comfort, and that freed them to heal the conflict between them and reestablish intimacy.
What can you do today to be certain that your response to hurting your spouse—however unintentional it may be—is one that will heal those hurts?
Father, help me to be sensitive to actions and words that can hurt my spouse.
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