Sunday, February 28, 2010
WEEDING OUT THE ROOTS OF HISTORICAL LIES IN OUR MARRIAGE
During the month of February, my wife and I have made a monumental effort to get to the bottom of some of the issues which seem to trigger intense emotional responses from each other. This comes at a high degree of difficulty, and we had to do much praying and deep investments of time and energy to get to the points of pain. We have learned where these responses come from, and in an attempt to help my friends who visit this blog, I will be sharing with you the methods we are using to root out these deep negative feelings that at times will change the direction of a persons day or impair our ability to handle things in a just and fair way.
Now at the outset, let me be candid: My wife and I have a wonderful bond and great communication. Our marriage is sound. God has blessed me with a woman that has made me the envy of all my friends. We have forged a Christian based loving and validating association which we are both sure will stand the test of time. But there have been moments when emotions on both sides rose too high. Reactions were too intense to have been caused by our mate. Small instances were triggering significant emotional outbursts, and we knew it was not something the other did. So we sought resolution and wisdom on this problem.
We are convinced that most, if not all marital conflict is rooted in historical lies, which the individual believes to be truth. We get to the root of the lies by asking, “When was the earliest time you can remember feeling this emotion?” These emotions can be guilt, fear, shame, loneliness, heartbreak, helplessness, feeling lost, forgotten, resentment, vulnerable, grief, denial, offended or a host of others.
The first thing we discovered is our partner is not the source of our pain, but rather the trigger that connects your partner to their own woundedness. The source of our pain comes from experiences we had at a very young age and the deeply imbedded lies that come from these experiences. Hard as it was, we had to embrace the perspective of what happened at these points in time way back in our past. These lies are very destructive. What we have been doing is re-framing these lies and learning our partner can be a benefit rather than a threat, exposing the areas of memory based lies that need God’s healing.
The second thing we had to understand is called “The Sore Thumb Priciple.” Most of us has injured their thumb at some point in their life. Then and only then do you come to realize how many times you bump or use your thumb throughout your day. You don’t bump or use it any more often because it is bruised, but we sure notice it. We all have “sore thumbs” which are rooted in historical wounds. Every time our partner bumps against our “sore thumb”, we feel the original pain. As healing partners, we need to be aweae of the others sore thumb and avoid bumping into it if at all possible. So second thing was to understand is within this framework, the reactions to our partners hurtful behavior was symptomatic of his or her own historical woundedness. We had to learn to look past our partners triggers to this pain and look back to our childhood in order to find the original lie still harbored in our minds.
The third thing was to get rid of impossible expectations. A terrible lie ,amy people choose to believe is that somehow their spouse is responsible for their joy or their unhappiness. If a person lacks joy in their life, it is not due to any person, circumstance or life situation.
It is due to one of two factors.
One: If we have un-confessed sin in our lives we cannot know the joy of thee Lord.
Two: If we have lies we embrace as truth, the lie impedes our joy and we can never fully achieve it. If
I am forgiven of all my sins, yet embrace the historical lie, which tells me I’m not worthy of God’s forgiveness, I cannot have joy. It is possible to feel forgiven and yet not have joy. The Apostle Paul illustrates this best when he declared in his letter to the Church in Philippi, “rejoice in the Lord always… I am content (happy) in whatever state I am in…” How could he rejoice or be happy locked away in prison? Because of his relationship with God. The lies that we believe will steal away our joy. Our logical minds will convince us that our lack of joy is due to someone else rather than ourselves.
Fourth: A couple must give up the vain attempt of trying to change each other. This was really hard for me. I’m a “fix it” guy. I always am trying to fix what is wrong. I change behavior or habits in order to try and please my wife. Or, worse yet, I try to make her change. This once again illustrates the problem the rooted lie says the other is responsible for my discomfort. Trying to change the other will only result in frustration. If the partner does concede and make the changes requested, it will only be a matter of time before something else will trigger the wound and the lie, resulting in the same pain surfacing again and again.
How many thousands of times have counselors or therapists heard the words, “It doesn’t matter how much I change, eventually he/she is unhappy again and wanting me to change something else.” They will tell you, it just doesn’t work.
Even if the partner changes, the other will find something else to blame the their pain on. The solution is not to change our partner,, but rather to discern the embedded lies and allow God to release us from the bondage of that lie.
Fifth: A couple must make connections between their present conflicts and their own individual historical woundedness. Those who are having present pain and conflict need to try and identify other times in their past when they have felt the same emotions. Very often they are able to identify some early childhood experience in which they had similar feelings. As they are able to make these connections, they come closer to finding lasting freedom.
Here is an example of what we have been working on together. Keep in mind that recent polls show one in three women have been sexually abused:
“Julie” was in the very act of having intercourse with her husband. Everything was going fine until she looked into her husband’s face, and he smiled at her. Suddenly all her sexual feelings left, leaving her with a sense of panic and fear. At first she did not know what had caused such emotional upheaval. Her conscious logical thinking told her it had to be her husband.
She had learned enough about repressed memory through her previous Theophostic sessions to know this was not the case. She asked her husband to stop the sexual moment and allow her to reflect on the situation. He was willing to do this since he was very sensitive to her situation and wanted nothing more than her recovery. While discussing the situation, her husband smiled at her again. Seeing his smile, she felt the same panic as before. She knew in that moment that the smile was triggering the emotional panic.
She closed her eyes and asked God’s Spirit to reveal to her the source of her pain and in an instant, she remembered her childhood abuser’s smirky grin. Her husband’s smile was very similar to her abuser’s look. The fact that she saw her husband’s smile at the same time that they were having sex together was enough to trigger the old lie and panic.
If a couple is willing to enter into a healing partnership, God can do much more in relation to their healing process. It is so easy to assume that the pain we have is due to our present relationships. This is rarely the case. It is true that some of the discomfort in any relationship has to do with the current attitudes and behavior of each person involved. But most pain is historically rooted.
Feel free to comment. Will you try this? Have you tried to do this? What results did you have?