Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wound Care in Marriage

God's plan for marriage is unity. The enemy's plan is isolation and division. One way the enemy seeks to destroy marriage is in the area of wounding. Just as a lodged splinter that is never removed from the flesh, deep-set resentment and unforgiveness can be traced back to a root cause.

What causes emotional wounding in marriage?

  • Wounds originating from childhood

  • Wounds from abuse in past relationships

  • Unfulfilled expectations, whether realistic or unrealistic

  • Fear of abandonment

  • Lack of verbal affirmation

  • Wounds from external stress or trauma

  • What emotional manifestations flow from these wounds?

  • Feeling of rejection/inadequacy

  • Feeling of neglect

  • Bitterness/resentment

  • Feeling of insecurity

  • Closed spirit/unhealthy protectionism

  • Oftentimes we trigger a wound in our spouse without even realizing it. For example, if verbal abuse occurred in a previous relationship, any negatively perceived words may have a magnified effect in your spouse.

    The wound will open up and "talk" by hurting/attacking the spouse. The famous quote, "Hurting people hurt people" applies here. Your spouse may say a comment with no hurtful intent, but because it is interpreted by the "mind" of the wound, the enemy will arise. A spirit of confusion can escalate a misunderstanding into a heated argument. This is when you say things you "never meant to say" because the enemy has taken over. I Corinthians 14:33 says, "God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints."

    Try to trace back to the source of the wound, and make it a habit to express your feelings. Avoid "You made me feel" statements, which can come across as an attack and cause your spouse to put up a shield of emotional defense. Instead use "I" statements. "I feel ____ when ____."

    Strategy to prevent wounding for the spouse receiving a word that could be perceived as hurtful:

  • Clarification- "When you said ____, I interpreted it to mean _____." Because I interpreted it this way, I feel ____." Is this what you meant?

  • Allow spouse to clarify what was said and meant without rebuttal. Prepare your heart, concentrate on listening with an open mind, heart, and spirit.

  • Strategy to prevent wounding for the spouse giving a word:

  • Try to think before you speak. Make sure you sift your words through the sieve of sensitivity. Remember the power of choice. Would this word edify or tear down my spouse? ~Ephesians 4:29, "Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers."

  • If your spouse is distant, approach him/her with compassion, and ask how your words may have caused offense. Listen with an open heart. Do not defend, but prepare your heart with the goal of increased intimacy in focus. Ask the Lord to give you insight in how you hurt your spouse.

  • Pray over your spouse's heart. Ask the Holy Spirit to pour His healing oil over the wounds that surfaced from your words. I learned the power of this strategy from Barbara Stephens ("Mama Hug"), founder of Abundant Life Ministries.

  • Strategies for both husband and wife:

  • Keep a journal this week between you and God, and ask Him to reveal areas of wounding in your marriage so that they may be healed completely to total restoration.

  • Ask the Holy Spirit to help you show unconditional love toward your spouse-Love that is not based on performance, but on God's grace through you.

  • Just as hurt begets hurt, love begets love. Sow seeds of love in your spouse on a daily basis. If you don't see immediate results, remember that love keeps no account. Keep loving without deadlines.