Friday, 29 June 2012

Stepping on Toes

The following may sound a little harsh, if so, please don’t be offended and chalk up the comments to my sinful nature.  I realize that I have a bias, a block, a barrier when it comes to accepting how wounds from a person’s past continue to haunt that person some twenty, thirty years and more after the offenses have been committed.  More specifically I am talking about the number of people who come for counseling, who admittedly came from very dysfunctional family backgrounds, who want to “blame their woundedness for their current relational failures.  I told you this would sound harsh.

Now I fully understand that physical abuse is in a category all of its own.  I can’t even begin to imagine what scars that can leave.  But scars must be allowed to heal or the wound will remain infected.

When talking about woundedness, Tim Keller says, There are many reasons we can’t see our own self- centeredness.  A major contributing factor could be our own history of mistreatment from parents, lovers, former spouses, etc.  These experiences can make it difficult to trust others and at the same time filling you with doubts about your own judgment and character. Woundedness is compounded self-doubt and guilt, resentment and disillusionment…thus woundedness makes us self-absorbed…Self-centeredness is a natural condition and not the product of mistreatment.  No major religion in the world actually teaches that self-centeredness is a product of mistreatment.  (The Meaning of Marriage) 

Everyone wants to feel accepted and loved unconditionally.  We all want to be affirmed, encouraged, and supported. Unfortunately those who grew up in homes where there was a deficiency of love look to their spouse to provide what they so desperately wanted while growing up.  First of all that is not the role of a spouse, they are not your father or your mother.  Secondly, they too may have come from a home deficient in some life affirming behaviors.  Lastly most spouses are incapable of providing anywhere near enough love to fill the void left in you, only God can do that.

All too often our woundedness becomes our identity.   I’m not affectionate because I never received any affection growing up.  I’m a perfectionist because my parents only complemented me for my performance.  I crave touch because I never received any growing up.  Etc.  Today many people get married expecting the other person to complete them, make them happy, and allow them to achieve some form of self-actualization.  This is referred to as the “Me Marriage”. It is all about me – my needs, my desires and my expectations.

The basic problem is that the Creator of the institution of marriage said that we are to be other-centered, to reflect the relationship between Christ and His bride the church. 

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