Archive for the ‘Marriage’ Category

Paul and Marriage

Monday, February 19th, 2018

Paul did make a huge change in the status of women and in marriage, but not the one we ascribe to him. By bringing the question of happiness into it, he let loose not only that hope and possibility, but with it all of the complexity that ancient customs had tamped down. People now had to figure out relationships between the sexes: whether to have relationships at all, whether they bring too much pain and trouble, whether something else would be more fulfilling, how to balance relationships with the spiritual life, and how to love each other selflessly rather than take each other for granted as providers and breeders. It’s lucky that Christians counted on divine help, because they were going to need it.

— Sarah Ruden, Paul Among the People, by Sarah Ruden

Not Your Responsibility

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Your partner is responsible for his own well-being. Deeply loving women struggle with caring profoundly for partners who are not good for them. They care for them with a love and a sensitivity to their spirits that their partners are not giving themselves — and certainly are not offering in return. It is a challenge to find a way to fully honor a partner who is embroiled in addiction, or who is suffering emotionally in other ways, but who periodically is cruel to you. And it can be unimaginably painful to leave a partner you love who is self-destructing.

Your partner’s relationships with others, his spiritual path, and his inner life are his own. If he grows and changes, it will not be because you repaired his relationships, found a spiritual path for him, or learned the inner workings of his psyche. When — if — he changes, it will be because he did these things himself. You can lay out your requirements or even outline resources for him, but then you must step away.

— Lundy Bancroft, Should I Stay or Should I Go?

The Popeye Defense

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

What’s fascinating about the Popeye defense [“I yam what I yam.”] is that when it’s used, it comes across as some healthy self-acceptance that everyone needs to adopt. “I can accept me for me — why can’t she?” On the surface, in our pop-psychology-riddled society, this may have the appearance of wisdom. But dig deeper, and this attitude is not only unwise, it’s actually harmful to both you and your marriage. And it certainly cannot stand up to our understanding of “I love you” and “I do.”

Just think about it for a moment. You want your spouse to accept you for who you are? Really? Even if you’re lazy? Even if you totally let your body go and become weak, fat, and unhealthy? Even if you drink too much or watch too much TV or read too many romance novels? Even if you neglect your kids, spend without discretion, complain about your spouse to your friends instead of addressing the issue directly? Your spouse is just supposed to sit back and accept all these behaviors as the honest, unchanging you he/she is stuck with forever?…

Now, if your answer is yes, that you believe your spouse should just accept you fully, warts and all, then I want you to listen carefully. Your problem is not your spouse’s efforts to change you. Your problem is that you don’t respect yourself — at all. You don’t even like yourself. Anyone who respects herself is going to actively work to improve herself, rarely sitting back and remaining satisfied. Anyone who even likes himself is going to nurture his God-given desire to grow in wisdom, and build on his skills and abilities. Instead, you’re wallowing in atrophy, using your emotional muscles only to defend yourself against your spouse’s efforts to change you. And you’re wondering why even the good things in life just don’t seem to be as pleasurable as they once were. That’s because you’ve “accepted” yourself and demanded that your spouse do the same.

— Hal Edward Runkel, ScreamFree Marriage, p. 229-230

Showing Yourself

Monday, August 8th, 2011

This self-representation is the answer to every problem in marriage. It stops needless finger pointing arguments because you’re first pointing fingers at yourself. It starts great discussions because great discussions are only possible when each side is being truthful — and encouraging the other to do the same. Self-representation makes for remarkable connection because it ensures that the two trying to connect are at least trying to be authentic and truthful. Finally, self-representation eradicates the villain of marital boredom, because the risk-filled journey of showing your cards never ends. As you continue to age and grow and change, so will your desires, your preferences, and your dreams. And no matter how long you live with one person, you can never fully eliminate the risk of having no guarantee how your spouse will respond when you take an I-step. Never. That’s awfully good news for those of us wanting to retain the mystery, the excitement, and yes, the intimacy of a deeper, lifelong, connection.

— Hal Edward Runkel, LMFT, ScreamFree Marriage, p. 220


Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

If you get out of someone’s way, they will fight and they will kick, but eventually, there’s nothing they can do but look at themselves and get real. Very, very real. Or totally self-combust in a life of lies. Or that dear opiate, denial….

All abuse is just bait. To get you to be the one who freaks out. So the other person doesn’t have to deal. Doesn’t have to take responsibility. Oh look — she’s the one with the black eye. She’s the one crying in the corner. She’s the one leaving. What a bitch.

But I stay silent and practice not taking the bait — not being resentful. Letting it wash over me. Because when I stay here, I am powerful. Very, very powerful. Take note of this. Let him have the middle-aged tantrum. Just be sure to duck!

— Laura Munson, This Is Not the Story You Think It Is. . . : A Season of Unlikely Happiness, p. 233-235

Truths to Remember

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

When things get hard in a marriage, it can feel like the foundations of your life are giving way. It is good to remember that our foundation is firm, based on the finished work of Jesus Christ for us. There are some things that remain true, at all times and for all of God’s children no matter what. It’s good to let your mind and your heart rest in these truths. Read these aloud. Remember:

I am loved.
I am secure.
I am forgiven.
God is with me.

… For the storms will come, beloved. The wind will howl and the waters will rise. And Jesus, who calmed the storm, who is indeed able to calm all storms, is now and ever will be your help in times of trouble.

— John and Stasi Eldredge, Love and War, p. 174

One Sure Love

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

If all the pain of the world were gathered together, and sorted by cause into great basins, the vast majority of tears would fill an ocean entitled “Unloved.” Because love is the deepest longing of the human heart — however hard we might try to pretend otherwise. When things get painful in our marriage, the arrows that pierce our hearts carry some message of You are not loved. The arrows might be Rejection, or Anger, or Betrayal, or Blaming, or even Silence. But the message is the same: You are no longer loved; you never really have been. We have got to anchor our heart in the one sure Love. You are now, you always have been, and you will forever be loved. It might help to say that to yourself, every day. Maybe every hour. This is the boat that carries your heart right across that ocean of pain to the safe haven of God.

— John and Stasi Eldredge, Love and War, p. 172

Hearing God’s Voice, Together

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

The secret of the Christian life — and the Christian marriage — is that you don’t have to figure it out. You don’t have to figure life out, you don’t have to figure each other out, you don’t have to figure parenting out, or money or family. You have a counselor, you have a guide — you have God. What a relief that we don’t have to figure it all out! We get to walk with God. That is the beauty of Christian spirituality. This is not about mastering principles; it’s about an actual relationship with an actual person who happens to be the wisest, kindest, and, okay, wildest person you will ever know.

— John and Stasi Eldredge, Love and War, p. 130-131

“It’s Your Responsibility to Keep Things Civil and Nice.”

Saturday, November 7th, 2009

You’re feeling confused, baffled, and wondering who belongs in the asylum. How could he be saying that it’s your responsibility to keep things civil and nice? He’s the one who was unfaithful, who broke his vows to you, who has inflicted hurt on you and your children. He just acted most uncivil and really, really not nice.

You think, “Isn’t it mostly his responsibility to be civil and nice?” Everything you’ve learned since childhood is that the one who committed the crime is the one who has the responsibility to right the wrong, to make up to those he harmed. You’ve learned that this is true whether the crime is murder or the crime is seven-year-old Adam stepping on his playmate Eric’s toy and breaking it. If the crime is murder, the best the perpetrator can do is to ask for forgiveness and serve time in jail. If it’s breaking the toy, we expect Adam to apologize and to do his best to fix or replace the toy.

Based on all the values, beliefs, and expectations you’ve lived by your entire life, what he’s saying doesn’t make any sense.

— Elizabeth Landers and Vicky Mainzer, The Script: The 100% Absolutely Predictable Things Men Do When They Cheat, p. 130

Happiness in Marriage

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

The most potent predictor of being happily married is being happy before you marry. Marriage does not make you happy, although the prospect of sharing life with a loved one can provide motivation to make yourself happy. What marriage certainly offers is someone on whom to blame your unhappiness.

— Steven Stosny,