Kelly and Phil are getting a divorce.
The email from a mutual friend sharing the news hit me like a punch in the stomach.
Brandon and his dad are in deep contention. It’s the kind of painful, two-sided misunderstanding that could finally sever the strained relationship.
Tragic stories of ruptured relationships continue to stream into my world, and I’m sure into yours as well. My heart never builds resiliency. Rather, it seems to break even more with every fresh story.
But increasing ever more are the stories of restoration.
And many, through the miracle of validation—a practice of coming to the center of the soul of another—through which God’s life seems to flood in like morning sun.
This practice of seeking experiential heart knowledge of another for her or his own sake is perhaps one of the most courageous and loving acts a spouse, a friend, a sibling, or a parent can ever take.
I will go as far as to say that the breakthroughs in our marriage over the past 16 years have often been directly proportional to the process that has begun with my capacity to come to the center of the present reality of my wife’s soul. And to offer her the same access to mine in crazy, risky love.
The hidden dimension of each human life is not visible to others, nor is it fully graspable even by ourselves. We usually know very little about what moves in our own soul, the deepest level of our life, or what is driving it. Our ‘within’ is astonishingly complex and subtle.
And within this complex, hidden dimension is the power and possibility of love.
The practice of coming to the center of another involves putting aside—for a time—my own pain, my need, my presumption, and my agenda in order to know and enter into the experience of the hidden dimension of another for his or her own sake. It is a participation in the Life of Christ, who does unendingly what we intend to do for a moment: enter into the internal experience of another.
That is the space of transformation.
Join Cherie and me as we head back into deep waters.
Let’s become the kind of people—the kind of marriages—where we can cause the world to believe, as Paul says, though much is not as it should be, the Kingdom of God is growing. The Message bears fruit and gets larger and stronger, in us and through us. (Phil. 2:15, Col. 1:5-8)
This is the fourth of a marriage podcast series. If you haven’t heard the first three, I’d encourage you to start at the beginning.