You Can Do Relationships Right
Regret-Free Living takes the focus from what was and what might have been and shines a bright light onto the path of what is and what is to be. Christian counselor Stephen Arterburn speaks honestly and forthrightly about what it takes to build strong, healthy relationships. Drawing on his own positive and negative experiences, he offers specific steps to rid yourself of relationship regrets, open your heart to healing, and move forward in love.
Arterburn's practical counsel shows you how to recognize the signs and qualities of both happy and unhappy relationships, admit guilt and accept responsibility, find and give forgiveness, set boundaries, love and give out of fullness, and much more.
This is your invitation to, with God's help, rid yourself of relationship regrets and begin building healthy, guilt-free relationships. Will you accept it? The choice is yours.
You can read an excerpt of Regret Free Living here.
About The Author:
Stephen Arterburn is founder and chairman of New Life Ministries and host of the nationally syndicated New Life Live! daily radio broadcast. A nationally known speaker, he's been featured on Oprah, USA Today, US News & World Report, the New York Times and many other media outlets. Steve founded the Women of Faith conferences and is a bestselling author of more than 70 books including the multi-million selling EVERY MAN'S BATTLE series. Steve and his family live in Laguna Beach, California. Visit www.newlife.com
Q & A With The Author:
1. In Regret-Free Living you talk about the most regrettable decision in your life.
Can you share a little of that?
The sad truth is that I talked a girlfriend whom I got pregnant into ending the life of
our unborn child. I did that because I was selfish. I didn’t want anything as
life-altering as parenthood to interfere with all my big plans in my life. It wasn’t long
after our pregnancy was terminated that I sat alone in my bedroom, hung my head,
and cried. I’d finally realized the severity and finality of what I had done. I knew I
had taken the life of my child—our child, God’s child—and that this was terribly
wrong. It was a pain as deep as any I’ve ever felt. That pain and my secretive
response to it led to major health problems with life-threatening severity.
My shameful ruminations also often cut off any meaningful connection with others.
I was convinced that I would regret what I had done to my baby every single day for
the rest of my life. I felt I had gone too far, had committed something beyond God’s
grace. And to forgive myself without knowing and feeling that God forgave me
would be impossible.
2. That seems like a huge event to overcome and work through.How have you
I thought there was no way I’d ever going to alleviate the inner pain I felt from having
encouraged and allowed such a terrible thing. For a long time, everything I did
or felt happened in a dark and gloomy shadow. But with God’s grace, I eventually
found the path that led to living without regrets controlling so much of what I did. I
discovered that I could come out of any self-created darkness and step back into the
light God intended to shine down upon me.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Regret-free living isn’t found by continuing to do flawed
things, then simply “working through” the regret they cause and moving on. You
must also take full responsibility for what you do in the first place—hopefully,
before you do them. The more responsibility you take for your choices, the less
regret they’re likely to cause you. Responsibility, a mature concept I did not largely
grasp until I was in my twenties, is a critical step on the road to regret-free living.
3. On top of taking responsibility for your actions,what other steps lead to a
The first step—and maybe the most difficult—is to stop. Once you’ve stopped, you
can think, contemplate, and reflect. You can’t do that if you’re moving, if you’re
collecting incoming information, if you’re still out there furiously playing the game
from which, in your heart of hearts, you know it’s time to take a break.
Once you’ve stopped, you can do an honest assessment of where you’re at. But don’t
just trust your own evaluation. Seek your others’ input, and above all, ask God to
help you see what we’re too small, weak, and purposefully busy to grasp yourself.
Our human perspective can’t begin to compare with what God can show us. Doing
all this can lay the groundwork for living regret-free.
4.What is one of the hardest lessons you’ve learned from your life?
I think one of the toughest lessons I learned was that not being able to forgive myself for my boneheaded, arrogant, and selfish actions is one of the biggest inhibitors to living the life God most wants me to live. If you’re always dragging yourself down with the past, how is God going to lift you up in the future?
It’s easy to kneel in church and hang your head praying for God to forgive you, but you also must face what you’ve done and deal with it in a direct and forthright manner. You have to cleanse and prepare yourself so that you’ll always be as ready as possible to be the man or woman God intends you to be.
5.What is the most essential thing to remember when striving to lead a regret-free life?
Forgive. First we accept Christ’s forgiveness of us—and then we pass that forgiveness along to virtually everyone we ever meet and know. That’s how we know how close we are to God. And that is the essential ingredient to living a regret-free life.
6. In the book, you talk a lot about relationships and how they can be both a huge source of regret in
people’s lives as well as affected by regret people hold onto.What is one common trait of a relationship bound for regret?
Because of the work I’m blessed to do through New Life Ministries, I witness all kinds of unhealthy
relationships all the time. One of the most common characteristics of an unhealthy relationship is two people who continue doing the same things that have never worked for them in the past and can’t possibly work for them in the future.
Sometimes it’s the other person in the relationship who’s blowing it, but mostly the individuals I talk with are much like myself—people who over the years have had a very active role in perpetuating their own misery.
7. If someone isn’t sure they’re in an unhealthy relationship,what are some of the signs they can look for?
If you’re in a relationship that just doesn’t feel right to you—that you find is always leaving you, your partner, or even the people around the two of you feeling bad, anxious, or just plain angry—here are a few markers of defective relationships: resentment, animosity, secrecy, power jockeying, unresolved problems, unhealthy alliances, and each person putting themselves first. How many apply to the relationship you’re thinking of? If more than two or three of them do, then you’ll be
well on your way to grasping the areas that need your full attention. You and your partner will thus be already headed down the road of healing.
8. Is there hope for people who find themselves in unhealthy relationships?
Yes! The happy truth is that 99 percent of the time, if both people in any unhappy relationship would just be willing to try a different way, their misery and stagnation would end. Two people working together in a relationship can overcome just about anything.
But as you head toward healing, know that it doesn’t happen overnight. It’d be nice if you could do it with nothing but the right Hallmark card and some beautiful flowers, but it doesn’t work that way. Fixing a broken relationship is a long process.
Sometimes it can take months or even years. And because bringing together two people who for whatever reason have moved far apart takes tremendous time and effort, one must prepare accordingly. You wouldn’t take off hiking in the woods for two weeks with nothing but what you could fit in your pants pockets. You’d starve to death. Instead, you pack everything needed for going the long haul.
And while there is no formula for fixing every relationship, there are things anyone can do that are sure to bring about the most potential for a healthier future. There is a formula for living above and beyond regret, and following it—walking that higher path—is something you can choose to start right now.
I have never read any of Stephen Arterburn's previous work, but after reading Regret Free Living, I definitely will be. This book was wonderful. It is full of amazing information and ways to live a regret free life. I love that he explains to the reader that the biggest reason we are not living to our fullest potential through God is because we cannot forgive ourselves....and we have to, in order to grow and do what God wants us to do!
He also reminds readers to take responsibility for our part in a relationship, its problems or good times. When a relationship is having problems we should not take all the blame, but admit when we have made mistakes and do what we can to fix them. If we can't fix the relationship, says Arterburn, then at least we know we have done all we could do. Especially when we have God in our life, and allow Him to heal us and our relationships. We cannot live a regret free life without God, and the author makes this very clear by using an abundance of scripture to back up his writings.
If you want to learn how to live a regret free live, I highly recommend this book!
BUY IT: You can purchase Regret Free Living by Stephen Arterburn online directly through Bethany House Publishers. You can also purchase this book through your local Christian bookseller.
***Thank you to Jim Hart at Bethany House Publishers for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book for the purchase of review on this blog****