Monday, May 3, 2010

Is Change Possible?

In dealing with my issues in my marriage, I've had to face the fact that all of my marriage problems were NOT my husband's fault. It was a mixture of things that were a) his fault, b) my fault, and c) life happening to us. Part of my problem is the lack of appropriate boundaries in my life. I've been like a city without walls. People could just run in and out and trample over me and I would lay there and take it.

So how did I get that way? I didn't have terrible parents. They weren't perfect, but they did the best they could. I believe that the church environment I grew up in is the culprit. I learned at an early age that men were to be feared and women silent. Any woman who was outspoken was labeled "rebellious". Differing opinions weren't welcomed but, rather, strongly discouraged. My mom never had many friends by choice. She is just not the type that needs a lot of social connecting. I do. I've always felt guilty for wanting friends. The back-biting and back-stabbing that went on among "friends" was a crisis of epic proportions. It wasn't exactly a place where kids could learn healthy ways of confronting bad behavior. When you add to that the mindset that it was "us against the world", it is no wonder that so many people end up in bad marriages.

Not only does it set some women up to be the victim, but it is also the perfect breeding ground for controlling men. Thus, the cycle of abuse is set up by default. No one calls it abuse, just submission..

The question I've been asking myself is "Is change possible"? Is it possible for a weak, dominated woman to recover and start to stand up for herself without going to the other extreme and become a man-hater? Is it possible for a controlling man to stop lording over his wife with a superior attitude without becoming a sissy?

Society would say that change is only possible when both people are willing to change. Both have to be committed to changing. Sometimes it starts with one person, sometimes both. Usually, it starts with the wife. I would say that the only way to lasting change is for both people to totally commit themselves to the Lord and seek to learn his plan for marriage, not what they've learned from those around them.

This requires gut-wrenching work. Sometimes people aren't willing to do the hard work of learning new ways to react to stress.

I'm not sure which it will be in my case. I hope that God will restore my marriage. I'm praying God's will in all of this. The hard thing in this is that some friends will not understand. I feel bad that I may lose some friendships because they don't understand why I would want to work things out, if it's God's will. Some have said and done damaging things to my husband and it would be impossible for him to feel comfortable around them. I will leave that up to God.

My prayer is that I will continue to stand up for myself while still leaving room in my heart for the possibility that God may want to work it out in the long run.

I would appreciate the prayers for me and my husband. It's not easy for either of us to learn new ways of doing things that have been ingrained since childhood.

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