Silence is Not Your Friend
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Every so often I’ll have a gal pull me aside and share about her marriage. She’ll talk about the years of relational pain and her confusion over why she can’t “make things better.” Up until that point she has shared this with very few people (if any), prayed, and tried any number of things to “be a better person” so her husband won’t be “upset or disappointed in her.” Usually at this point, she is starting to use the words “emotional abuse”, but it’s hard to own that someone she loves could treat her so badly. Surely there must be some other explanation. Can I help her fix her marriage?
Abuse is about the abuser and doesn’t really have anything to do with the one suffering the abuse. The abuse is an expression of the abuser’s pain, sin, and personal mess.
No matter how hard the victim of abuse tries they cannot “be good enough” or “do well enough” to stop the abuse. The abuser is usually pretty good at the blame game and can rationalize, minimize, or explain away their own behavior. (Please understand, I am not talking about the bumps and hurts that every couple deals with. I’m talking about one spouse systematically harming and diminishing the worth of the other.)
An emotionally destructive marriage is one where one’s personhood, dignity, and freedom of choice is regularly denied, criticized, or crushed. This can be done through words, behaviors, economics, attitudes, and misusing the Scriptures. Leslie Vernick
If you are often left hurting there is a problem in your marriage. Don’t remain silent.
I’ll say that again. Don’t remain silent. Silence is not your friend.
Sometimes you are just dealing with two broken people in a broken relationship (you still need to speak up and get help), but sometimes it is a situation where you are being emotionally abused by your spouse (and you really, really, really need to speak up and get help). Start with a private talk with the safest person you know. If your spouse has isolated you, call the number below.
If you are not sure about it, I would encourage you to read Leslie Vernick’s book, The Emotionally Destructive Marriage. It puts different destructive behaviors into words that make sense and are understandable. It can help you see the difference between “my sweetie and I have problems and need to get help” and “my husband is crushing me and I need a safe place.”
Again, I don’t want y’all to think I am saying every husband who gets up on the wrong side of the bed is an abuser. I’m saying be honest about the problems in your marriage. Invite your husband to work with you to address them. If he won’t or if you are always to blame, that’s like a hint. Speak up. Get help.
If you are in danger, please seek help immediately.
You need to deal with your marriage from a place of safety.
http://www.ndvh.org hotline: 1-800-799-7233
♥ Prayer Prompt: Ask God to help you and your husband face and deal with your marriage problems, large or small.