Separate People

It is incredibly important, and critical to any thriving marriage, that spouses see each other as separate persons with unique goals and desires.  This is not easy to do.  In the first thrall of love, people tend to look for and find their similarities with each other and to ignore obvious differences.  It’s normal to see the ways a new partner thinks like us and to focus on the things that bind us together…. 

After a while a new couple realizes that for all their similarities they are still different in significant ways.  For many couples, this is a problematic stage, and it requires a good deal of forgiveness.

— Dr. Fred Luskin, Forgive for Love, p. 151-152

Universalist Theology from Colossians

Paul knows nothing of a theology in which God does not ultimately achieve his purposes….

It is God’s covenant purpose that his world will one day be reconciled in Christ.  For now, only the Church shares in that privilege, but this is not a position God has granted his people so they can gloat over the world.  On the contrary, the Church must live by gospel standards and proclaim its gospel message so that the world will come to share in the saving work of Christ.

— Gregory MacDonald, The Evangelical Universalist, p. 47, 53

The Gratitude Channel

I often ask people to pay attention to natural beauty instead of watching reruns of their old grudges….  The world is full of things to appreciate and find beautiful once you teach yourself to look.  The forgiveness and gratitude channels remind us that even though we have been hurt, we do not have to dwell on the hurt.  The one thing no one can take from us is what we pay attention to and focus on.  We may have a habit of watching the grievance channel or the bitterness channel, but we still control the remote.  The good news is that, with practice, any habit can be broken or changed.  The world is full of heroes who have overcome difficulty by tuning in to channels of courage or bravery.  Each of us can become a hero in our own life, to the benefit of our friends and family.

— Dr. Fred Luskin, Forgive for Love, p. 142

Shattered Dreams

God goes to work to help us see more clearly.  One way He works is to allow our lower dreams to shatter.  He lets us hurt and doesn’t make it better.  We suffer and He stands by and does nothing to help, at least nothing that we’re aware we want Him to do.

In fact, what He’s doing while we suffer is leading us into the depths of our being, into the center of our soul where we feel our strongest passions.

It’s there that we discover our desire for God.  We begin to feel a desire to know Him that not only survives all our pain, but actually thrives in it until that desire becomes more intense than our desire for all the good things we still want.  Through the pain of shattered lower dreams, we wake up to the realization that we want an encounter with God more than we want the blessings of life.  And that begins a revolution in our lives.

— Larry Crabb, Shattered Dreams, p. 4

Repentance and Rest

The Lord spoke through Isaiah when he said, “In repentance and rest is your salvation” (30:15).  I love how those two words go together — repentance and rest.  When we repent, we can rest in the Lord.  We can’t rest peacefully in God’s presence if we haven’t repented, and so the continual process of repentance is key to staying close to Him in our daily lives….

A. W. Tozer wrote, “Prayer will become effective when we stop using it as a substitute for obedience.”  Ouch!  He saw that we often pray that we will obey — we pray for patience, for compassion, or that we would be free from covetousness — yet we do not take the actions necessary to actually abide by Christ’s teachings in those areas.

— Brooke Boon, Holy Yoga, p. 43-47


Acknowledge that you’re going to disappoint your partner sometime; no one can fulfill all of another person’s fantasies.  This may be uncomfortable, but it actually suggests that the relationship is growing, not dying.  The purpose of marriage isn’t to live out your partner’s goals.

— Ellyn Bader, PhD, and Peter T. Pearson, PhD, Tell Me No Lies, p. 95

A Gift, However Temporary

Your ability to forgive grows stronger when you accept the gifts of love your partner offers.  At the very least this means accepting that your relationship will not last forever.  This also means that you should glorify any and all experiences you have of love.  One way to do this is to understand that love is a precious gift and to be grateful for the fact that you were given it, even if it did not last.  One of the tragedies I see in my work is people discounting past love because it did not last.  They are unable to take joy in the love they shared because that love ended.  I have had numerous people tell me that their marriage of twenty years was a sham because after fifteen years their partner had an affair.  Their pain was understandable, but it minimized the fact that the love in their lives was majestic and a blessing no matter how long it lasted.

— Dr. Fred Luskin, Forgive for Love, p. 135

Our Greatest Pleasure

Not only do we want what immediately feels good and dislike what in fact is good for us, but we’re also out of touch with what would bring us the most pleasure if it were given to us….

The highest dream we could ever dream, the wish that if granted would make us happier than any other blessing, is to know God, to actually experience Him.  The problem is that we don’t believe this idea is true.  We assent to it in our heads.  But we don’t feel it in our hearts.

We can’t stop wanting to be happy.  And that urge should prompt no apology.  We were created for happiness.  Our souls therefore long for whatever we think will provide the greatest possible pleasure.  We just aren’t yet aware that an intimate relationship with God is that greatest pleasure.

— Larry Crabb, Shattered Dreams, p. 2