Showing posts with label abuse. Show all posts
Showing posts with label abuse. Show all posts

Thursday, December 27, 2012

How to Make Your Marriage Work

Let me start by saying that this post is only for those who want or think that they might want it to work. If you have decided in your heart that you are done and that your marriage is not worth fighting for anymore than you will not find much support through what I write. I do not judge you because there were times that I had been there, but I do encourage you to leave just a little room for the possibility and to seek counseling. The fact is even if you do get a divorce you will continue to carry the baggage of a torn marriage around with you until you have resolved it and begun processing it. Again, if you choose to get a divorce I wish you all the best in your life but this post is not meant for you. 

When making a marriage work you can start by thinking of it as a war for your marriage instead of a fight. What do I mean about that? There are going to be battles, some that you win and some that you lose, but you can't just surrender at the the defeats. When you start a war you have to have a military plan.You need to know what you are fighting for, what damages you expect, and who your allies are. Allies would be pastors, counselors, and other spiritual leaders. You need soldiers to fight with you who understand your goal. They fight with you through all the battles and they give you emotional support when you feel like putting up the white flag. Real soldiers do not sabotage you. Like wars, patience is key. There is no way to know how long it will last. 

If you are at this point you may have been facing loneliness, abuse, addictions, infidelity, loss of identity, and hopelessness. All of these things deserve to be addressed. 

I wanted to start by discussing loneliness. One of the hardest things I faced was not being lonely in general but was being lonely in a marriage. It can make you feel like a caged bird, one that longs for freedom but is stuck all alone. I wanted to address loneliness first because of the risk of future harm to your marriage. When there is trouble in a marriage it is important to not confide in any males that you are not related to. Even with the best of intentions, a friendship can quickly escalate to an emotional attachment. When you feel lonely and unloved by your husband, it can be easy to allow yourself to listen to a male who is willing to listen to you and support you. Even if the emotional attachment never turns to more, any time you go to another male for that attachment and not your spouse it can cause a further drift in your marriage. This is why it is very important to learn the importance of some good female Christian  fellowship.

Three things that most people consider deal breakers are abuse, addiction, and infidelity. If you have had to face any of these issues, I am so sorry. These can tear down your confidence. They can make you lose trust in people. I believe that a couple can move past these hurts and still have a very healthy marriage but it takes a lot of work, love, and forgiveness. I truly believe in God's strength and power when He is put at the center of a marriage. While I believe in working through these issues, I also believe in healthy boundaries. You can love a person and still not allow their actions to affect you. It is important that if you are in danger, you need to separate yourself from the person. You can continue to love them by not enabling their behavior, by taking the time separated to connect with God, and by remaining in prayer for them. I think of this as loving from a distance. Boundaries is a great book that teaches about Godly boundaries. 

When struggling in a marriage you can face loss of identity. I remember this vividly. I feel like I went from Faith to just being Alvin's wife and Abbie's mom. I placed all of my confidence and identity in my spouse instead of in the Lord. When I began to see a change in my marriage is when I began to pray that I would find fulfillment in God and not in my spouse. I realized that if I could be fulfilled in God then any love my spouse gave me would just be overflow. The only person we can change is ourselves. 

There is no way for us to create hope... hope only comes from God and knowing His promises. We have to know that God would not lead us astray. If you place God at the center of you life and your marriage, He will give you the wisdom and strength you need to make it through. 

When speaking to others about the struggles in marriage, one common theme I hear is, "Why should I fight (change... go to counseling) if they aren't willing to fight (change... go to counseling) for me?" This can be a tough question to answer. How often did God fight for me, when I was not willing to fight for Him? How often did He love and forgive me when I was angry and sinful towards Him? I am just so thankful to God that through out the many struggles in my marriage we never both gave up fighting at the same time.... there was always one of us fighting. I know that it was God who carried us through those times. I am amazed to see the couple God is changing us into. 

God can heal your marriage, but you have to be willing to let Him. Seek godly wisdom and counsel. Set up godly boundaries for yourself and your spouse. Lose yourself in God because that is where you will find fulfillment. Pray for your spouse. Hope comes from God alone. 

Romans 5:10 "For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!"

Warren Barfield- Love is Not a Fight


Love is not a place

To come and go as we please
It's a house we enter in
Then commit to never leave

So lock the door behind you
Throw away the key
We'll work it out together
Let it bring us to our knees

Chorus:
Love is a shelter in a raging storm
Love is peace in the middle of a war
And if we try to leave, may God send angels to guard the door
No, love is not a fight but it's something worth fighting for

To some, love is a word
That they can fall into
But when they're falling out
Keeping that word is hard to do

Chorus:
Love is a shelter in a raging storm
Love is peace in the middle of a war
And if we try to leave, may God send angels to guard the door
No, love is not a fight but it's something worth fighting for

Love will come to save us
If we'll only call
He will ask nothing from us
But demand we give our all

Chorus:
Love is a shelter in a raging storm
Love is peace in the middle of a war
And if we try to leave, may God send angels to guard the door
No, love is not a fight but it's something worth fighting for

I will fight for you
Would you fight for me?
It's worth fighting for

Sunday, June 3, 2012

30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 6


What is the hardest thing you have ever experienced?

There have been many difficult times in my life. My struggle with Bipolar, teen pregnancy, health issues, and friends betrayal. The most difficult though would have to be the separation from my husband. 

***To clarify ahead of time so nobody will be concerned, the things I am going to discuss have been resolved. We have had a healthy marriage for almost six years now. This passage, also, is not to bash my husband but to show what God has done in our lives since and to show what a drastic change both of us have made. I love my husband very dearly and could not be more proud of him, though I do complain from time to time.*** 

2007 was a year that was stained with my sins past and my husbands addiction. The anger from my prior infidelity had boiled up over the years and began to fester in his heart. At first he was just a little controlling. I would be asked where I was going and what I was doing. Slowly it turned into a state of isolation and complete control. I was not even allowed to go with my mom to the grocery store. He was very emotionally distant from our oldest daughter, Abbie. I would have to pay him to babysit her. I am very thankful that we were living with my brother and his wife. Even though they didn't know what was happening, it kept things from escalating and kept me from becoming completely isolated. 

When I went to stay with my mom for a week after she had a surgery, he moved out and left me in debt. I moved in with my parents at that point. We were separated for several months and he would not offer to help take care of Abbie. When we reconciled and he moved in with me I noticed that he was much more verbally cruel to me. I felt constantly attacked verbally and weak. I felt like a empty shell of myself. I wanted so much to be a good submissive wife, but at that time I didn't know that a submissive wife isn't a doormat. Someone had shown me a website with a verbal abuse quiz on it. As I sat at the dining room table reading it my eyes were opened. The pen in my hand checked off almost every box on the quiz. I was warned that often there is an escalation to violence if nothing is done, but I didn't care enough about myself to do anything about it. I continued to take it. I am very thankful that I was at my parents home during this terrible time.  

It was five thirty and I went to the store with my mom. To make things easier on the hubby, I put my daughter who had just turned three into her highchair to color and watch television. When we got back I asked him where she was. He told me that she was in bed for the night without dinner because she kept disobeying by breaking her crayons. I explained that you can't just leave a child alone in a highchair with crayons and not expect them to be broken. Trying to be submissive I just accepted her punishment and went on with my night. A few hours later, when he was in bed, I went to check on her. She had welts on her bottom from being spanked  hours prior. That was the point I decided to no longer accept the abuse. I didn't care if he hurt me, but I wasn't going to let him hurt my daughter. 

I sat down with him and had my parents there to mediate. I showed him the checklist and told him that he was abusive. I made a list of demands. He had to move out for at least six months. In that six months he had to get a job, get in counseling, get on medication, find a church, and financially provide for his daughter. He could not say or do one abusive thing, he couldn't see me, and he had to have his mother present if he wanted to see Abbie. If he did everything I asked then we would go to marital counseling for a period before deciding whether or not to reconcile.  

One night he put Abbie in bed and then didn't see or call her for over a month. This had a terrible affect on her. For several years she was afraid that her daddy would just leave if she went to sleep. Sometimes, she still sneaks into our room to check on him. 

I was extremely depressed, confused, and angry. I had felt lonely in a marriage for so long that being lonely by myself wasn't as difficult. I tried to focus on making myself a better person. I went back to school, got a job, made new friends, and became involved in church activities. I had assumed that since I was the main one taking care of Abbie, that being a single parent wouldn't be much more difficult. Unfortunately, I had a long time to realize that it is more difficult because you have to financially provide and there is no breaks. I am very thankful for the amazing support system God had in place for me then. 

I was looking through the poetry I wrote during our seperation... here are some passages:

Don't You See? (May 25, 2007)

Do you see me? Have you forgotten that I feel too? 
Do you see her? Her little cries missing you.

You don’t blame us for why you go,
But it is us you hurt when you don’t show.

You can hurt me, I am strong.
But with her is where you belong.

She doesn’t know why you aren’t here. 
To me your selfishness is very clear.

I’m glad you are enjoying your little break,
But letting you hurt my baby is my mistake.


Melting Away (February 1, 2008)
How dare you,
I am the snow in your heart.
You walked all over me as you watched me slowly disappear.
At one point I was pure and delicate,
I was beautiful. We were beautiful.

You trampled me into slush.
You stepped all over me.
You pissed on my purity while trying to mark your name on my life.
Your hot temper melted me,
I was beautiful but now I am ugly.

Will I ever be what I once was?
Can I regain what you took from me?
Why did you burn me like you did?
I don’t want to disappear anymore.
I was beautiful when you were ugly.

I blame myself for being blind.
I hate myself for still wanting you.
You made me weak and I began to believe your words.
I can’t heal if you are near me.
I am beautiful and you are ugly.

She too is as pure as snow.
I wont let you step on her.
I refuse to watch her disappear, melting into nothingness.
She is still delicate and happy.
She is beautiful. We are beautiful.



Dear Little One (February 15, 2008)


Thank you for loving me,

When I feel unloved.

Thank you for understanding me,

When I feel misunderstood.

Thank you for trusting me,

When I made you hero leave.

Thank you for smiling at me,

When I felt like crying.



I'm sorry I didn't protect you,

Before you got hurt.

I'm sorry you saw him hurt me,

Before saying goodbye.

I'm sorry I wasn't stronger,

Before he changed me.



I promise to love you,

When you feel unloved.

promise to understand you,

When you feel misunderstood.

I promise to be honest,

When you need the truth.

I promise to hug you,

When you feel like crying.




Why Goodbye (February 16, 2008)

You hurt me, leaving bruises on my soul,
Then dare to ask what’s wrong.

You trap me in my home, a cage with walls,
Then ask why I don’t get out.

You constantly lie to me and cheat on me,
Then ask why I don’t trust you.

You are killing me with each word you say,
Then wonder why my eyes cold.

You tear down my confidence in public,
Then tell me to smile.

You treat me like a hostage, not a wife,
Then wondered why Goodbye.

I will heal from the bruised soul,
That is why I said Goodbye.

I will not be a prisoner in my home,
That is why I said Goodbye.

I will learn to trust once again,
That is why I said Goodbye.

I someday will come back to life,
That is why I said Goodbye.

I will have my head held high,
That is why I said Goodbye.

I refuse to let you hurt her,
That is why.



At the end of the eight months, I had no interest in reconciliation. I was having an emotional affair with a friend. I had become extremely angry at my husband and wanted to be free. I also had a lot of fear that when we would get back together the abuse would just resume. My father, being a very wise man, told me that I needed to go to marital counseling so that my husband wouldn't use my bipolar to fight for custody and because for Abbie's sake we would need to be able to communicate. So we went back to counseling but I made my stance clear... I wanted a divorce and even had the papers written up. 

Through months at counseling God softened my heart towards my husband. Alvin had made so many great strides and wanted to heal our family. He was repentant. We took things slowly and began to date. I had asked the counselor how I could trust that he wouldn't be abusive. She assured me that since we had a clean break for such a long period of time supported by medication and counseling, we would be fine. I am so thankful that God gave us a strong Christian counselor who could speak the words I needed to hear. 


Looking back now, I can see how God used the time apart to help us both grow.It is almost as if our marriage really did end and an entirely new one appeared. Alvin is becoming a strong godly husband and father. I love him so much and can see drastic changes he has made. I find it amazing that the entire time, though I was going through great trials, God was there and had provided people to help me make it through. 

Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Psalm 46:10 
    He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; 
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

What has God brought you out of? What is the hardest thing you have gone through? Do you believe a person can change?