I hate to admit how easy it is to lose a soft heart. They can harden so quickly! Just by neglect or falling back into routine patterns of life or thinking! You don’t even need to have anything bad happen, or anger stir. All it takes is a critical or negative thought that it isn’t challenged or replaced by a balancing good thought.
This is so disturbing for relationships, it can discourage you. Especially if you don’t know how effective a good choice can be, or how good it feels to have a soft heart towards someone, especially your spouse, or that difficult child. (The one that is so not like you–but in reality is probably most like you and that is why you clash. That is hard to face as well.)
So today I’ve been thinking about how to keep my soft heart. I’m looking for things I can share with you that may be simple but make a huge difference. One is to remember how good it felt to have that softness toward said person (in my case my husband). If you haven’t felt that in a long time, you may have to reach way back.
And if that doesn’t work, allow me to describe it. It’s a feeling of harmony, of receiving and giving support, of no threat, of not needing to protect yourself, or your opinion. It’s feeling loved, valued, heard, SAFE.
It’s GOOD, and it is worth it.
Last night I was getting irritated because he was so blah from not taking care of himself (blood sugar, I’m guessing). This has always been a necessary place to stay out of. So instead of twenty questions, which he hates, I decided it was a good night to watch our Netflix movie. He wasn’t sure he even wanted to watch it, but it’s a favorite of mine, so I asked, he agreed, and it saved the evening. (Since I’ve retired, I’m not working as many evenings, and I like it, but it takes some getting used to.)
Today he came in from the store and asked if I wanted to get coffee with our friends, and I was writing. I was torn, and he could see it would take me a while to get ready, so he said, “I’ll just go.” In the past I would have gotten my feelings hurt, and there was a split second of choice, but I realized I wanted to finish this, and I felt very free and respected–that he had honored me.
If I find his shoes in the kitchen or the living room again, I just move them and remind myself that a day could come when I will wish he was here to leave them out. Or I remind myself of the things I forget to do–preplacing the toilet paper–I always forget on the way to the other bathroom!
Gratitude is so helpful. Reminding myself to thank him for getting me the new doormat for my office. I didn’t even ask! And it is so easy to forget to thank him.
I’ve also had a problem with wanting everything my way. It’s much easier to let him have his way or appreciate his taste, than it was, but if I start to feel it again, I say to myself, “Will this really matter 5 years from now?” Or better “…1000 years from now?” Now, I’d rather be happy than fight for my way.
I am so relieved to be rid of the need to fight for everything or over everything! If you know what I’m talking about, it probably goes back to some belief you took on as a child. Something like, if anything is going to happen for me, it will be because I made it happen. Put that with my other one, If I don’t fight I won’t get what I want, and you’ve got a mess. Add, everyone will hurt me, and you are definitely set up for relationship problems.
Don’t forget, all you have to do is own it, want it healed, and ask God to tell you the truth. He is faithful. He wants you to be healed more than you do!