If you’re struggling in your marriage right now, please know I am on your side in this. I know what it’s like to be in a painful relationship. To feel disconnected, dismissed, and devalued. I’ve been there. Although I desperately wanted something to change, I didn’t know where to begin. All I could do was protect myself from more hurt, more rejection. I didn’t feel good about myself, but I was determined to survive. Except for that one day when it got to be too much for me. I wanted to run away, but I couldn’t.
Instead, I went to bed that night praying,
“It’s too much, Lord. Take it all. Please take it all then give me back what I can handle one piece at a time.”
What do you pray when you’re overwhelmed by life?
- Do you ask God to change your mate?
- Do you ask God to heal your own brokenness?
- Or do you flipflop between both of those options?
Whatever your prayer is today, please know that I’m on your side. You were created in the image of God. Whether you believe that or not, whether you feel like that or not, it’s still the truth about who you are. Your Creator has not given up on you, and neither have I.
The folks in AA, Al Anon get this one right with Step One and Step Two: Admit that at some point, you became powerless to do anything differently, and that at some level, your life has become unmanageable. Then believe that a power greater than you can restore you to sanity.
AA has proven highly effective for those struggling with substance abuse. But what good can that do a man or a woman who argues constantly with his or her spouse?
At least three things, right from the start.
- Rekindle your hope.
- Stop defending your perspective.
- Look for effective solutions in new places.
Encountering difficulties in a relationship is a normal part of human growth. When you think about it, can you tell me a time when you grew stronger without a challenge? You learned to walk. You learned to read. You learned to ride a bike. You can learn this, too. Even if your mate isn’t currently cooperative.
“How can that be?” You ask.
Because a relationship is a system. Any change in a system will have a direct impact on other parts of the system. Test it out for yourself, in reality or in your imagination. Toss a rock into a pond. The water will ripple. Drop a brick into a bowl full of water. The bowl will overflow. Strike a match, light a candle. You get the idea.
When you make a positive change in how you respond to conflict – or even disconnection – in your relationship, your mate will respond. Maybe not noticeably. But the human brain is built to detect environmental changes. What you did registered – at least at some level. That’s why you need to make sure what you’re doing is healthy, not dramatic or manipulative. If you are wondering what that might be for you where you are today, help is available. Starting is simple, but not always obvious, and usually not easy.
What I’m suggesting here takes courage. But it’s a beginning.
Take the free online quiz I have already set up for you. I’ll review your answers and email you my thoughts about where you might start. We could talk on Zoom if you decide you want to do that, but it’s certainly not required.
I know life is hard, and your relationship may seem unmanageable right now. But please don’t give up hope. You can learn better ways to cope – and to grow. Help is available.
Remember, I’m on your side.