Friday, 15 July 2011

Feeling Insecure?

Once again Mort Fertel (www.themarriagecounselingblog.com ) tackles a very real issue in many marriages, which is a feeling of insecurity. He writes:

Mort Fertel
Insecure people tend to seek constant reassurance. This can be difficult for the spouse. Sometimes verbal affirmations just don’t seem to be enough no matter how many times they are repeated. This can be stressful for a marriage.

Insecurities can come in several different forms. Sometimes people are self-conscious about their appearance. Imagine a woman who feels she is unattractive and constantly seeks approval from her husband. In the absence of a daily compliment she feels unloved and ugly. She worries her husband will find a more attractive woman. The husband in this case may feel frustrated that despite repeatedly telling his wife she is beautiful, she doesn’t seem to believe him. He may grow tired of constantly trying to convince her she is attractive.

Another example would be a man who worries he does not make enough money to make his wife happy. He works hard but she talks about wanting to buy more nice things. She talks about a new car her friend purchased and he feels bad that he cannot afford to purchase a car in the same price range. He worries she may find a man who makes more money and he has even started to check her phone to ensure she isn’t cheating on him.

In both of these examples, insecurities can create a wedge between couples. People who seek frequent reassurance sometimes end up driving their partner away, which makes their greatest fear become a self-fulfilling prophecy. It can be very difficult to try and reassure others when the reassurance only provides temporary relief.

If you feel insecure about yourself, take charge and try to work on the problem. Find ways to feel good about yourself without needing to depend on your spouse for continuous affirmation.

Here’s the real problem – when we look to other people or to our accomplishments to affirm us and make us feel secure we will always come up short. No person can provide us with enough accolades to fill the void that we are experiencing. No accomplishment will sustain us forever; there will need to be another mountain to climb.

The void that we are experiencing can only be filled by God. When as a Christian we are feeling insecure essentially we are saying that Christ is not enough. We are in effect saying we need Christ plus someone else’s approval or some other achievement to feel whole.

There is nothing wrong with wanting affirmation from the one you love but remember you have all that and more from the One who loves you. The next time you are thirsting for approval go to the Father in prayer and ask Him to fill you with the “Living Water” that can only come from Him.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Change the Dance

Sadly I am not a dancer as a few brave souls can attest. I say sadly because I envy (I know that is not a good thing to do) those whose movements are like poetry in motion. My movements are more like a bear trudging through mud. The thing about dancing is that the music usually establishes the steps that the couples will take. Because the couple is familiar with the particular dance they can follow their partner easily because they can anticipate where they will go next – unless of course you are dancing with me.

There is much similarity between dancing and arguing, particularly when the conflict is over a topic that has been a source of irritation for a while. Once the topic is introduced the couple knows what position each will take. They know what their partner is going to say and how they will respond to what you say. Most likely you both know how the conversation will end.

The question has been raised “Can a marriage get better if only one of the partners is willing to work at it? The answer is absolutely. One thing the willing partner needs to do is to change the dance. Instead of having a disagreement about the same topic in the same way, the willing partner needs to change how they respond. So instead of pushing back with their point of view they might instead say, “You raise some interesting points. Let me see if I understand what you are saying.” Then the willing partner should proceed to articulate the other person’s position as accurately as possible. Then say I will need to think about this more. This will stop what Emerson Eggerich calls the Crazy Cycle.

If you don’t like the way your spouse treats you, change how you respond. If you dislike your spouse’s behaviors, change your behaviors. If you feel like you argue too much, stop arguing. If you nag, stop. If you criticize, stop. Continuing to do what you normally do, will continue the problem. But mixing things up a bit can make a big difference.

The willing spouse has to stop doing those things that irritate, frustrate or otherwise add stress to the marriage. The hope is that the non-willing partner will notice such a difference that they too will begin to change.

Ephesians 5:33 says, “…husbands, you also must love your wife as you love yourself, and the wife must respect her husband.” If a marriage is struggling no doubt one or both partners are not dancing to the melody in Ephesians.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Hope - You Can Save Your Marriage



While I usually appreciate Dr. Fillmore’s perspective I often have the urge to say “Yes, but where does God fit into your advice?” To say that “Monogamy is not a natural state, and that we aren’t necessarily set up to stay with one person for the rest of our lives” seems to be a direct contradiction to God’s covenant view of marriage.

I also take issue with the notion that it is “normal” to fall in and out of love in a long term marriage. God tells the husband to love his wife in the same way that Christ loved the church. The church is the bride of Christ. At what time in our long term relationship has Christ fallen out of love with us?

I certainly don’t question her premise that when a marriage is struggling, hope can be the pathway to a more joy filled marriage. The question is “where does our hope come from?” Psalm 62:5 would say that our hope comes from the Lord. In fact all of Scripture is a book of hope. It is God’s love story, His redemptive plan for those He cherishes.

Dr. Fillmore says that “Hope is the first step on the path to a happy marriage”. I believe the first step is to put God at the center of your marriage. 1Corinthians 10:31 tells us that whatever we do we are to do it for the glory of God. If the couple’s focus becomes how we can best glorify God in all that we do, I guarantee you will have hope, joy and peace. You will not fall out of love.