Get Both Free!


If you’ve been waiting to read the rest of our story, you can get the e-book now. For 5 days, November 28 – December 2, it will be FREE on Amazon before it goes up to the regular price.

If you’re waiting for the paperback version, pray. It’s been a 3 day nightmare of formatting issues I’ve never experienced before. But, God will prevail and I’ll keep you posted for the print version too.

Not only can you get the NEW RELEASE free, but I’ve made The Miracle of Us: Confessions of an Online Dater FREE through this Thursday so you can refresh your memory or read the beginning of our story for the first time.

If you read our story years ago and need a refresher of hope or if you’ve never experienced what trusting God for next steps is like, you can read our incredible story here. FREE this week only. November 27 – December 1

We pray you had a wonderful Thanksgiving full of beautiful memories. May these next weeks leading up to Christmas draw you into the hope, peace, and joy of Jesus as we anticipate celebrating his birth.

Grateful


In spite of the messiness of the world right now between election issues, shootings, floods, hurricanes, etc., nothing changes my love for Jesus and the fact that every day God provides multiple areas of thankfulness. If I were to list them all, I could write volumes of books. I’m sure everyone could. Here are a few of mine…

  • Jesus, my Lord and Savior is always at the top
  • My husband
  • My children and grandchildren
  • My family – mom, dad and my brother’s family
  • My dear friends
  • My pastors and church family
  • Music
  • Nature – ocean, flowers, animals, blue skies, and thunder storms
  • Books
  • Teaching
  • My current state’s leaders
  • Little things every day that remind me God is always with me

I’m also thankful that Beyond the Miracle is finished and ready for readers. The ebook will be out next week, but if anyone is interested in an advance reader copy, I’ll gladly set you up for this Thanksgiving weekend. Let me know in the comments below or send me your email address to laura@laurabennet.com

I’d ask that you be willing to grab a free ebook copy when it releases on Amazon and write a review – even a few words. If you don’t do Amazon, you can review it on Goodreads.

I’m thankful I get to write.

Thirteen years after the miracle meeting, courtship, and fairytale wedding of the author and her husband, Laura Bennet shares the raw and real story of the unforeseen and sometimes devastating trials they experienced, and how God used those challenges to heal and grow each of them and their marriage. Heartfelt encouragement and caution for couples ready to tie the knot or for those who have come undone and wonder if there is hope. The miracles don’t end when you say “I do,” but they may not look like what you expected.

I pray you have a gratitude-filled Thanksgiving and reflect this week on some of the little things you might forget about during each day. I pray for God’s peace to cover you, and his love through Jesus to fill you. Nothing earned, simply received.

Rebuilding Trust in Marriage


Honeymoon 2009 – the younger version of us!

Let’s be honest. Marriage is hard work.

We all love the “fall in love” romance, but at some point after the honeymoon (or maybe during it), we’re faced with the reality of making this thing called marriage work beyond the wedding.

For most relationships, past messes, sin, and broken places in our hearts get triggered by our spouse causing misunderstandings. Without proper help, those can lead to situations that make the marriage seem doomed. Maybe we end up in a season of not being able to communicate without hurting each other more deeply. Or perhaps one spouse, or both, have sought other situations or relationships that have broken the trust of their spouse.

No matter what your current situation or how devastated you feel, there is hope for rebuilding.

God is always about reconciliation, redemption, and restoration of relationship. He created that for us through Jesus and will make a way for us in every relationship we have.

When my husband and I separated due to multiple circumstances that led to us inflicting constant pain on each other, God helped us find our way into coming back together in a healthier, stronger way.

Here are some steps that helped us navigate the restoration and supporting verses:

  • Decide on a brand-new start. Start at zero to rebuild trust. Recognize, confess, and address the problems that got you to this place. Nothing hidden, covered over, or minimized. It’s okay if you still need to work through some issues, but be honest about what they are—whether they are seemingly small (little “white” lies) or something significant like addictions or affairs. (Gal.1:1-10 & 6:15; Eph.5:11)
  • Begin rebuilding by renewing your friendship. What is the foundation of your relationship? Sex can’t sustain a relationship. Both of you being committed to Jesus first and then each other will lead to a solid foundation. Look at this time apart as a courtship. (2 Cor.6:14-18; Eph.5:25-27; I Thes.4:3-8)
  • Speak the truth plainly and in love. No distortion or manipulation of words—not your own, each other’s, or God’s. Recognize that the enemy is the accuser and deceiver and choose to take no part in any form of exaggeration, misrepresentation, or deception. (Gal.2:3-5; 2 Cor.4:2; John 5:39-47; Eph. 4:15; Col. 3:9)
  • Each of us are responsible for our own relationship with Christ. That relationship has to be the first priority. Neither one can judge or control the other one in this either. This isn’t a place to try and impress each other with what you aren’t really doing, or decide you know what the other one should be doing. Share only about your journey, and what will bless your spouse. (Gal.1:15-24 & 2:6-10; 2 Cor.5:9-10; 1 John 1:4 & 3:9-10; James 5:16)
  • Confession and forgiveness. We have to own our own mess and be willing to confess it as well as repent of it. Change within us and in our relationships only occurs when we can honestly see the bad and have a sincere desire to turn around and go a different way. We should be quick to apologize to our spouse when we are in the wrong and not wait for them to have to point something out. Not to say that when they or someone else we trust sees something hurting us or others and gently points it out, we shouldn’t be open to receiving their insight. If we are confronted with something, accept it and pray about it. If there is a question about whether our spouse’s perspective is accurate, ask a couple of trusted, objective parties like a pastor or friend to confirm or help us see if there is truth to their perception. When our spouse is the one admitting faults, we should extend forgiveness freely. Jesus has forgiven all of us so we must learn to forgive ourselves and others just as he has done for us. (Col.3:13-14; 2 Cor.10-11; Gal.4:15-16; I John 4:6; Jude 10))
  • Be sincere. When we do something positive with or for our spouse, it has to be from the heart and not simply a way to gain their approval, affection, or reciprocated behavior. (Gal.3:1-4; 4:18 & 5:1-3; Col. 3:17; I Tim.1:5)
  • Use kind, quiet, gentle words. Be respectful of each other, family members, and others. If either of you feel your heart rate increase in frustration, take deep breaths and ask for a few minutes (or as long as it takes) to calm down. Make sure you specify when you think you can continue so as not to leave your spouse hanging and feeling abandoned. You might say something like, “I think I need some time to calm down and sort out my thoughts and feelings. Can you give me fifteen minutes?” Or “Can we try again after dinner?” (Eph.5:19-20; Phil.2:14; I Peter 3:7)
  • Be accountable to someone you both trust outside your marriage so that you each know that another person is on the journey with you and with your spouse. (Col.1:28 & James 5:16)
  • Be partners in action by discussing finances, parenting, household, etc. (Phil.2:2-4)

It might help to repeat the declarations below regarding the process. Good boundaries help both spouses know what to expect for themselves and from the other.

“I am willing to pursue a friendship and see where it goes. I am willing to spend ______ time with you each day/week. I am willing to get outside help from our pastor or a counselor. I am willing to encourage you, pray for you, and seek God’s direction for our relationship. I will obey whatever God directs or instructs. I am willing to implement these actions and read the accompanying verses.”

You can add or take out whatever works for you and your spouse. Make it your own personal declaration based on the areas you need to outline.

Regardless of whether or not you’ve separated, you can use these tips to grow and strengthen your marriage every day. Soon, you’ll be reveling in the romance once again.

That was then, this is now. 2022

Coming Soon…

Beyond the Miracle: When the Fairy Tale Collides with Reality

Thirteen years after the miracle meeting, courtship, and fairy tale wedding of the author and her husband, Laura Bennet shares the raw story of the unforeseen and sometimes devastating trials they experienced and how God used those challenges to heal and grow each of them and their marriage. Heartfelt encouragement and caution for couples ready to tie the knot or for those who have come undone and wonder if there is hope. The miracles don’t end when you say “I do,” but they may not look like what you expected.

In the Name of Submission – cont.


Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

We’re diving deep into what God means when he talks about submission.

We began with I Peter 3:1 which tells wives to submit to their husbands—and often it’s left right there without further understanding of what God is communicating.

That’s why we’re looking back at the previous chapter to get an idea of what “in the same way” means. You can read Part 1 here if you want to get caught up.

Today, we’re going back to start in chapter 2 verse 17 where it says that submission means showing proper respect to others and loving those who believe and fear God.

This kind of surprised me.

I expected the passage to talk about everyone, not just other believers. But then I understood why we start with other believers.

Think about it.

If we can’t respect and love others who are part of the church (entire world church, not just your church) in which Jesus is teaching us to love, how will we than be in a position to show that same attitude to the rest of the world?

Often, the world looks at the church and doesn’t see any difference. Can we blame them for not wanting to be a part of that? If the Jesus they see in us is gossiping, backbiting, disrespectful, and unkind why would they want him?

Bet you never coupled the word “submission” with that, did you? Neither did I.

Verse 17 continues by saying that we should give honor to the king. What if the “king” or something in that authoritative role doesn’t seem to deserve honor? What if they act in ways that are wrong or dishonoring to themselves and others?

I believe what he’s saying is that we honor the position God has established. Back in verse 13, Peter makes it clear that God is the one who created and established authoritative roles. Whether that is a president, governor, law enforcement official, teacher, pastor, husband, or parent, those roles were all set up by God for our benefit.

People may not use their authority rightly or well, but we should still show honor and respect. Not only that, but every single person is wonderfully and fearfully created by God. Every one deserves our honor for that reason alone, regardless of how they behave. This is a great book that breaks that down.

In verse 18, Peter takes it a step further telling us to submit even when someone is harsh, not only to those who are good and considerate. Wow! I confess I’ve thought that a person I’m dealing with didn’t deserve respect so why would I submit?

But it takes the grace, love, patience, and forgiveness of Christ to continue to show honor and respect, and to submit even when someone is not nice. Remember, that Jesus chose when and how to speak when he was confronted. He did not retaliate when he was insulted. The key word there is “retaliate.” He entrusted himself to God, knowing that God was in control of the situation and would deal with the person. (vs. 21)

Also, worthy to consider is that sometimes our submissive, honoring action is to remove ourselves from a situation or speak loving truth to someone who is acting harshly. God will lead us in how to handle the situation if we ask him.

**(Please note that “harsh” isn’t necessarily the same as abusive and/or dangerous. God does not call us to put ourselves into harmful relationships or stay there if we’ve allowed ourselves to get into them.)

So, now we’ve seen what “in the same way” means.

Next time we’ll move on to Chapter 3 and look at what Peter says specifically to spouses.

Yes, spouses. Not only wives. 😉

In the Name of Submission


Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Submission is often a dreaded word.

I’m not going to lie, it’s a concept I’ve struggled with for most of my life. In part, I believe that’s because I didn’t understand it. And I think, unfortunately, the church as a whole is somewhat to blame.

The real problem lies in the way some have interpreted or defined “submission.”

It’s been coupled with obedience to mean that no matter what someone, specifically someone in authority, tells you to do, you must acquiesce without question. While obedience to God is good and right, when taken outside of that meaning, submission can be dangerous.

Many in authority, have used it to control. It’s been used to manipulate, subjugate, and dictate. Some have excused their actions, naming submission as their grounds for such. In extreme cases, submission has been used as reason to abuse.

No wonder it’s a hard term to get a handle on.

I’ve read about it, studied God’s word regarding it, and prayed hard over it, begging God to help me understand what he meant by submitting. For me, like many in bad situations, it perpetuated unhealthy relationships. A few pastors lovingly admonished me to submit in abusive settings. I know they meant well, and I’m sure they were intending to communicate the positive order God gave for family.

Certainly “submission” isn’t the bad guy here.

Submission actually has a good and fitting role IF we understand and implement it the way God intended.

I believe that way too often, we all take scripture verses out of context and end up misinterpreting them. Grossly. Anyone can find anything in the Bible to use out of context to support their own perspective.

Maybe you’ve heard of the man who sought God’s wisdom for a particular situation and opened his Bible to a couple of random passages that told him some nonsensical instruction.

“Judas went and hung himself.”

“Go therefore and do likewise.”

I’m a hundred percent certain that God is never telling anyone to follow those passages in that way.

But as silly as that example is, we do the same thing all the time. We say things like “God will never give you more than you can handle.” It’s a shortened, paraphrased verse taken out of context. Sorry, but that’s not what the Bible actually says. (See I Corinthians 10:13)

And unless we intentionally read what’s before and after a passage, as well as take it within the context of the entire Bible and all of what it says about God’s character, also taking into account the original language, we can badly misinterpret and misrepresent God’s word and intent.

This brings me to the book of I Peter in the Bible.

The first verse of chapter 3 starts like this. “Wives, in the same way, be submissive to your husbands…”

I can’t tell you how many times throughout my life someone has quoted that verse to me. I’ve analyzed it, struggled with it, and literally cried over it.

Because I love Jesus and want to obey his word. I love my husband and want to have the right attitude towards him.

I’ve looked at the verses before and after it, but this past week one phrase captured my attention.

“…in the same way…”

Wait. In what same way? What way was Peter talking about?

So, I decided to go back, way back, and look at what came before so I could get a better grasp of what “same way” it was talking about and why it was written here in this context.

Over the next couple of posts, I’d like to unpack what I found. Maybe it will be helpful to those who have wrestled with submission like I have.

First of all, this letter that Peter wrote to various believers in the surrounding areas was penned as an encouragement and a reminder to the people that they were chosen and loved by God. He admonished them to live in such a way that those around them who didn’t know about Jesus, would see their lives and end up believing and glorifying God as a result.

In Chapter 2 starting with verse 13, Peter starts breaking down each area of life and what it looks to live that way.

He tells the people to submit to authority for the sake of the Lord. That made me ask why for the sake of the Lord? God doesn’t need us to do anything for him. He’s capable of doing anything and everything in his own power.

Answer? He is at work in every situation so our submission aligns us with what he’s doing. It’s for the sake of what he’s doing in his kingdom that our submitting to him and those around us helps bring it about.

In verse 15, it tells us that when we do good by submitting, it “silences ignorant talk of foolish men.” Uh, we could use some of that right now, couldn’t we?

And lest you think that submission makes us doormats, Peter goes on in verse 16 to tell us to “Live as free men.” We’re not submitting ourselves into slavery, but choosing to be servants of Christ. That might look different in every situation. Sometimes submitting to God means laying our pride or agenda aside, but sometimes it might mean standing firm in obeying God instead of someone who demand we submit to their wrong plans.

Our obedience to God may lead us into situations that are challenging and even treacherous, but God doesn’t take us there without a plan for greater good. He knows who can stand under certain circumstances and what the outcome will be.

Daniel went into the lion’s den for submitting himself to God even though it meant NOT following orders of the king because those orders were directly in conflict with God. It was a severely dangerous situation from which God rescued Daniel.

There are believers being held in prison right now for obeying God. It’s not a good situation for them and their families. But when we look at the work God is doing through it and the people who are coming to know Jesus and be healed as a result, we can see the good God is bringing.

Submission is a broader term than we often think it is.

Next post we’ll unpack more about this word and see where it takes us especially when we get to wives.

In the meantime, whenever I think “submission,” I’m thinking “for the Lord’s sake.”

New Release Coming Soon!


Deadly Silence CoverThe benefit of sheltering at home is more time to write. In April, I released A Deadly Silence. Here’s what a few of people have said:

“Sara and Brad’s story gripped me the second I opened the book. Laura Bennet weaves believable storylines and it’s like you are an invisible person witnessing it as it’s taking place. Emotions run high with the characters, but also the reader. Thank you, Laura, for such an outstanding book. Bravo!!!” J.Messmer

“I really couldn’t put this down. I enjoyed reading this, and I was surprised because it’s not usually my reading genre. A definite recommend, especially if you like reading about relationships, family, friendships, overcoming trauma, personal growth, spiritual growth, and learning.” J.N.

“I enjoyed this book as I have all of Laura’s books. Her honest writing style is refreshing in that things don’t always work out the way we think they “should” – just like in real life. This book covers a difficult topic but one that many people face. I’m glad to see an honest take on removing the stigma in talking about issues when they occur. Can’t wait for the next book!” Peggy I.

I’m glad to know readers are anxiously awaiting the next book because it’s almost here! Anticipating an October release, When the Wind Blows, shows how being in community brings hope, healing, and redemption.

when-the-wind-blows-1

Category 4 Hurricane Harriet slams Southwest Florida, throwing six high rise neighbors together in unexpected ways.

Alec and Jessica Freeman can’t seem to make their five-year marriage work, and Jessica’s secret isn’t helping. Author Dylan Davis loses himself in writing books about missing children as therapy for the daughter he lost. Bailey Crenshaw, a free-spirited young woman who’s been on her own since girlhood, finds family with strangers. Older, retired folks, Ralph and Edith Manning wonder if life is over for them, but experiencing trauma with neighbors offers a new sense of purpose. Within community, each one discovers that weathering a storm together is better than surviving alone.

The Miracle of Us


Marriage isn’t easy.

I don’t want to burst any bubbles out there, but what begins as a miracle of seemingly chance encounters and that sudden knowing that this person is the one, takes some work to maintain.

At the start, that person, who you swear you’ve always known somehow even though you’ve only just met, sweeps you off your feet. You confess you’ll never love another and  he or she is your one and only love.

If you’re anything like us, you witness miracles, maybe a dozen or more (in our case) that let you know with certainty that this is meant to be. You say yes to the proposal and the dress and begin planning your dream day. For us that happened across two continents. COVID-19 long distance has nothing on us!

The wedding is pure bliss even with its few unplanned mishaps (like our crystal champagne flutes that didn’t show up on time), and you waltz from the dance floor to the honeymoon in ecstasy.

We did. Ahh…

Then begins reality.

The moment when the fairy tale becomes real life.

The best love story comes after the wedding. I have a quote something like that framed with a picture of us a year after the wedding. The best comes when you fight through the worst. The worst of both of you, the worst circumstances, the worst heartache. All of that brings out the best of your love story.

The rest of our story will be told in Beyond the Miracle: When the FairDSC_0002y Tale Meets Reality, but until its release (projected for May 2021), we celebrate the now of this year’s anniversary with a throw-back to where it all began.

In honor of our eleventh anniversary, The Miracle of Us: Confessions of an Online Dater is FREE on Amazon for your holiday weekend reading.

Get your e-book copy here.

What are some of your wedding or marriage miracles?

Are You Angry at God?


pexels-photo-247314.jpegMaybe you’ve never really thought about that question. Or maybe you shake your fist at him daily. Perhaps you’ve had a loss or tragedy occur in your life, and you can’t reconcile the idea that a loving, all powerful God could allow something so horrific.

You’re not alone.

I’ve never met anyone who didn’t at one time or in a lifetime question where God was when ________ happened. I certainly have.

As a matter of fact, for six years I was angry at God and didn’t even realize it. You see, I loved Jesus and believed God was good so I never considered that I could be harboring anger towards him. I believed he was in control in a good (well, mostly good) way and had brought me into a better place than I’d previously been in.

And he had.

But when God had spoken through someone that “turn around time” was coming for my life, I believed God meant that my failing marriage and business, my soon to be foreclosed on home and my hurting children would all suddenly turn around and come out rosy – you know, butterflies and unicorns stuff.

But it didn’t.

We lost our business and home, were forced to file for bankruptcy and ended up divorced with kids that had suffered far more than I ever thought possible.

What the heck?

So, six years later, to the exact day, when that someone who had spoken those promise-filled words showed up at my now different church (in a different state) speaking promises to people, I found myself perturbed. Conflicted. Angry.

I knew our pastor to be full of integrity and completely trustworthy so I wrestled with what I felt had been lies spoken to me years earlier. Later, after a strategically orchestrated meeting (only God made that happen, but that’s a different story), I drove away, parked my car in a remote location and let God have it.

Screaming, crying and recognizing my anger at him for the first time.

Until he whispered in my heart, “Didn’t your life turn around?”

Well…uh…yes. I guess it did. Because up until that point, I had accepted behaviors in my marriage that never should have been allowed. All that tragedy caused me to decide that I wanted a different life. As a result, I made new choices, and my life completely changed.

What I believed God meant and what he said were two different things. My perspective was shallow and off. We both wanted better for me, but he saw big picture and I saw immediate. He had change in my heart while I looked for change in circumstances. He set my course on a new, amazing life that would never have come if I had gotten what I asked for.

I realized I had to forgive God.

Forgive the one who forgives? Yep. That’s right. And thankfully, his grace and love for us it so great that he doesn’t hold our anger at him against us. He took care of me and my kids and blessed us incredibly during those six years that I was angry at him and didn’t know it. He knew it and waited for exactly the right time and orchestrated my circumstances perfectly to gently speak to me.

I cried, told him I was so, so sorry and our relationship grew deeper that night. I’ll never forget that night. Sometimes I share that story and it helps other people too.

As a matter of fact, I wrote a book, Rachel’s Son, about a young woman who felt that same anger when her only son was murdered. It took her many years and a path of destruction in her life until she could face her hurt and anger and finally forgive the Forgiver.

You can get the kindle version FREE on Amazon right now through tomorrow, March 3. And, the print version is more than half off. This is what one woman said:

“…I just finished reading Rachel’s son and it has changed my life. It was a gripping book. Couldn’t put it down but the most amazing thing has happened. When u got to the end…I sobbed.” (omitted words to avoid spoiler!)

It might be something that helps you handle anger with God, even if you don’t know you have any. I pray it will bless you.

Different, Not Wrong


Photograph Laura Bennet - artist unknown

Photography Laura Bennet – artist unknown    (Do you see a waterfall or a flat surface?)

My husband and my first golf experience revealed a core issue in our marriage.

My husband plays golf. He knows what he’s doing, and he’s good at it. Unlike me, who has been on a golf course twice. And, I spent more time playing in the cart than in the game.

However, my dad taught me all he knows about golf. He’s good at it.

Despite my lack of actual course experience, I’ve hit dozens of balls on the driving range (I’m not even counting putting on miniature golf courses). I know how to hold the club and keep the arm straight and knees slightly bent. I’m not saying I’m consistent or good, but still…

So how did what should have been a pleasant activity turn into a forced, disappointing situation? Why did our fun evening digress into an argument? Brendan thought his experience would benefit me. I decided to stick with what I had been taught.

We both wanted to do things our way and couldn’t see the other’s perspective.

It seems we aren’t the ones who coined this dilemma. From what I understand, many people struggle with the same issue. World conflicts, politics and the ongoing argument of which way to load a dishwasher are proof. Knives down, people!

Whether it’s about golf or any other number of situations, we both have understanding and opinions based on legitimate past experience and information. Even if it’s not the same, they’re both valid.

Neither is wrong or right, they’re just different.

In a healthy relationships, we do the following:

  1. Listen to the other person’s experience and perspective
  2. Validate that the other person’s view is legitimate even if we don’t share it
  3. Be open to considering the other view as a way to broaden ours
  4. Be willing to compromise when it will better serve the relationship
  5. Choose the best way for each of us given the new information
  6. Voice our position calmly, honestly and without condescension, excuse or defense
  7. Allow the other person to choose their way without judging or criticizing them

We’re still figuring out the healthy way.

Those opposites that attracted us often lead to frustration as well. Initially, I appreciated that my husband’s strong opinions could stand in the face of mine, but later I discovered  I didn’t like being challenged. Both of us believed the other one should hold our same perspective without any question.

I don’t think either of us were often very open to the other’s perspective.

The good thing is it’s never too late to change. Being in relationship, whether a marriage or with a friend, family member or co-worker challenges us to become better people. It broadens our scope of how we see life. It makes us compassionate. That’s why God created us for community.

The Bible puts it this way:

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”  Proverbs 27:17

Our last golf experience during Father’s Day was better. We encouraged each other, let the other person do things as they wished, and I asked Brendan for some help. Well, maybe once.

I guess we have grown some.

You can read more of the story along with the miracles God did to connect us online and bring my Australian husband to America in The Miracle of Us: Confessions of an Online Dater.

What Triggers You?


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No, I’m not talking about guns.

(But fun picture, isn’t it?)

Milan and Kay Yerkovich define a trigger as

…a strong reactive feeling about something that is happening in the present, a feeling turbocharged by a hurt in the past.”

Ever have one of those?

Yeah, I thought so.

It took me years to understand that when my reactions to situations or people were far greater or stronger than the setting warranted, it meant that some hurt or trauma from my past was amplifying my current emotions. I did learn to recognize the pattern, and it has helped me navigate my life better. But today, I discovered through reading How We Love, that ANYTHING can be a trigger.

Anything?

Apparently, and it makes sense why communication in relationships can spiral out of control so quickly and easily. If the tone of someone’s voice, or their opinion, attitude or behavior can trigger an unexpected, agitating reaction in me, then I can become defensive or angry at the other person whether they said or did something good or bad in that moment.

Even my sincere, valid emotions can trigger another person.

Wow. I had no idea.

Perhaps because of what that person has suffered and not fully dealt with in the past, my comment or start of a conversation that to me is neutral, or my sharing a feeling about something that occurred during the day or my tone of voice because of that situation can cause the other person to react negatively.

I probably wonder why they are reacting and may take it personally. After all, if I don’t know what is happening for them, and don’t know to ask, it seems reasonable that their response is directly related to me.

So I respond in a defensive manner.

They do likewise. I react back. See how that happens? We’ve now set a pattern of communication which is not desired, nor intended, but spins out of control leaving both parties shaking their heads in confusion, hurt and disbelief.

Crazy, huh?

Well, the good news is if we are aware of triggers in ourselves and others, we can deal with our past and have grace for the other person’s stuff. Maybe we can even help each other by using the following practical tools to build rather than destroy our relationship.

  1. Take a deep breath.
  2. Settle yourself. Take a brief time out if necessary.
  3. Ask yourself three things:

When have I felt this way in the past? Who was I with? What soul words describe my reaction? What would I like to say to that person (in the past)?

See, that wasn’t too hard, was it?

Okay, so it’s not always easy, and it can be painful. But the benefits to removing triggers by dealing with these issues is two-fold. We become healed and stronger, and we develop healthier relationships.

But there’s also a third benefit.

If we share those feelings with our spouse, and willingly listen to them share with us, we’ll build trust and a stronger, more intimate bond with them.

That’s a win-win.

I credit the Yerkovich’s with all these insights. I’ve been sharing what I’m learning from their book, How We Love. The great thing is that our church has been presenting a series on marriage called, A Love that Lasts. Our pastor’s teaching lines up with this as well.

I don’t believe that is coincidental.

As our pastor, Matt Keller, has shared (and I agree) we have an enemy who is out to destroy every marriage. Marriage is the foundation of community. There is a power in family that can’t be denied. That’s because the union between a man and woman was created by God as a picture of his relationship through Jesus Christ with his bride, the church.

Satan hates us and anything that displays God’s love for us.

So if you thought even for a moment that the enemy I mentioned in the earlier paragraph is your spouse, think again. Our enemy is Satan. But oh, how he’ll use each of us to hurt the other one if we let him.

But our spouse isn’t the enemy.

I for one am going to work hard to remember that, to deal with the triggers in my life and be open to the probability that triggers cause grief for my spouse as well. And other people with whom I interact.

Maybe that’s why God has grace for us, and asks us to love others the same way.

I’ve linked a number of resources in this post. I’d love to know in the comments below if you find any of them helpful.