Deb Toering is a Board Certified Professional Christian Counselor (BCPCC) in private practice at Trinity Family Counseling Center. In addition to working with a wide range of client populations and presenting issues, Deb is also an engaging public speaker. She has spoken in front of various groups across a range of topics including marriage, bullying, ADHD/ADD, and teen leadership.
Many couples remain stuck in the same toxic patterns of interaction, never able to make progress.
Why? Often because there are hurts from the past that have never been communicated, heard, understood and then forgiven. The results are ugly: anger, contempt, partners who are emotionally shut down, hardly able to look at each other, maybe sleeping separately. They cannot move forward until they have taken a few steps backward and for some, years backward.
We easily can identify how someone has hurt us. It takes humility and much soul-searching to see and acknowledge how we have hurt someone else. A couple must listen to each other’s hurts, empathize with the hurt, ask questions, listen, ask more questions and reflect until they begin to feel something. Perhaps for the first time, to cry over the pain they have caused. A softening begins, listening improves, and eventually both partners are open to forgive. Tears of joy flow with extending and receiving forgiveness.
If the couple are Christ followers, they know they must forgive as the Lord has forgiven them. That’s what love does. We love because He first loved us. We can enter into the wonderful cycle of being loved by our Creator, then loving and forgiving our spouse. We will get stuck again. But if we can articulate the hurt, listen to our spouse’s hurt, then we will be able, by God’s grace, to forgive again and again and again. Perhaps up to something like seventy times seven.