Father Issues, God Issues, Husband Issues

Let me just say upfront … I have father issues.

Of course, that translates into issues with “men” as well, which might explain the title of this blog! But the fact is that my father issues create another drawback … my father issues affect my relationship with God.

Love and Trust - Father tosses his confident daughter into to air accompanied by screams of delight. 
I’ve done Bible studies, read books on the topic, and talked to counselors about the issue. All of those interventions have helped to heal my relationship with God, but I am still on a journey to find more growth in this area—more healing.

Recently MM was honored to have Dineen Miller guest write for us. Dineen writes on the subject of navigating a marriage to an unbeliever at her site Spiritually Unequal, and her topic got me to thinking …

Sometimes it’s the “believer’s” view of God that creates friction and distance in a marriage.

I’m not saying that the believer might not be a “good” Christian—whatever that means! Even though my issues with my earthly father have negatively impacted my relationship with my heavenly Father, that doesn’t mean I’m spiritually drifting, ambivalent, or running from God. I actually feel as if my relationship with God has grown deeper and closer throughout the years.

I just know that this one area—my view of my earthly father—has wounded me in my relationship with God and, therefore, with my husband.

So here’s what I’ve done that has been helpful in rebuilding my relationship with God, as my Father:
  • Made Him a Priority – I pray every day or as close to that as I can. That doesn’t mean I only pray once in the morning, but it does mean that I try to give Him my undivided attention in a focused prayer time each day.
  • Call Him by Father – For years I’ve addressed God as “Lord” in my prayers. Now, I’m not saying that’s wrong or bad, but for me it felt a bit impersonal and removed. So I’ve been practicing referring to God as “Father” in my prayer times and it’s creating a significant emotional shift for me.
  • Imagine Him Loving Me – At the beginning of my prayer time, I imagine coming into God’s presence. I imagine him welcoming me before his throne. I imagine that he’s glad to see me, inviting me to sit by him or even embracing me. Sometimes my imagination takes me to other places, like walking with Christ instead of the Father. But it’s always a moving experience and increases my sense of being loved by Him.
  • Meditate on His Love – I meditate on verses that remind me of God’s love for me. If you’d like access to some of the ones I use, click here. And if you have any new ones to add, please let me know!

Can you relate to what I’ve shared?

If so, let me know how your father issues have impacted your relationship to God and your spouse, and I promise to pray for you in this!

And, by the way, in a future post, I’ll explore just how this negative view of my father and my Heavenly Father has impacted my marriage.

Photo credit by mikebaird (Flickr)

Today’s Post is Linked to –


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  • Janae Maslowski

    I appreciate your journey through this difficult topic.
    My relationship with my dad has also affected my relationship with myself. I’ve had to learn to love and accept myself regardless of his ability to see and love me. It is complicated, but I suppose relationships always are.
    xo

  • My father comes to my hometown for vacation and doesn’t call me. He and my mother divorced when I was three and he has remained emotionally distant ever since. (My mother is bi-polar and an alchoholic). Because my parents never really owned the role, for some reason (His grace) I looked to God to be that which I never had, a father and mother. But I am sure that their distance and inability to parent properly has affected my realtionships. Sometimes I get a glimpse of how and pray for healing and redemption. I looked at Fathers Day cards yesterday and none of them describe a father who was absent. I usually have to pick one that has a generic sentiment and then I focus on my husband who is a wonderful father to our children. So thankful for that.

  • i love your practical steps…i think they are very helpful…in working in counseling i find that this happens quite often and it is very hard to accept god as a father but i think there is def something special when we can…

  • Meghan Carver

    My father was a paraplegic confined to a wheelchair, so it was difficult for him to show physical affection. He also suffered terribly from bouts of depression which seemed to limit his emotional involvement. So I also have experienced how a relationship with an earthly father can affect a relationship with the Heavenly Father. I decided a while back that I would call God “Father,” like you did, and it has helped me tremendously. I agree with Shelly on choosing cards also. Thanks for posting on difficult issues, Beth!

  • Solid – wise advice!

  • So glad you’re sharing this here. I had the opposite experience with my dad (wrote about him today in my post–which wasn’t the one I linked up)

    Even still, your steps to strengthening that bond would work well for me. Thank you!

  • I absolutely think father issues have impacted my relationships–positively. There were some guys I could have married that would have led to tough marriages, but because of my father, I held out for a great guy. I don’t think I would have had the wisdom to choose well without the example. This is an important issue and I am so glad you are highlighting it.

  • messymarriage

    Yes, that’s another aspect of this issue. It does and has affected my self-image. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing a bit about your own struggle, Janae. I appreciate your support!

  • messymarriage

    I’m so sorry to hear that, Shelly. His rejection must have had a profound impact on you. I’m so glad that you have a loving husband who is also a great father to your children as well. That, in itself, can be a healing gift from God.

    My father is dead now and when he was alive I worked on our relationship to the point that it felt fairly healthy near the end. But the negative effects have still continued to impact my marriage and my relationship with God to this day. I feel like dealing with the spiritual is one of the last frontiers for me to face and find healing. Thanks so much for coming by and sharing with such vulnerability!

  • messymarriage

    Yes, I see it all the time with my clients, so it’s a chord that I can strike with many of them. But these measures were purely born out of a need in my own life to connect with God in a deeper way. I’m so glad you think they are helpful, Brian. I LOVE resourcing others!

  • messymarriage

    I agree, Meghan. Even if our fathers never give us what we want, it’s important to show them love like Christ loved us unconditionally. My father passed away a few years ago and, thankfully, I was able to develop a fairly healthy relationship with him near the end of his life. But I still struggle with the lingering effects of the distant relationship we had earlier in my life. Thanks so much for coming by and sharing with such transparency!

  • messymarriage

    Thanks so much for coming by and encouraging me! 🙂

  • messymarriage

    I’m so glad that you had a great relationship with your dad, Nikki. And I’m also glad you found something helpful in the steps I outlined. Thanks for coming by to encourage! 🙂

  • messymarriage

    What a wonderful blessing you have in your life, Ashley–a great relationship with your father. I can truthfully say that I don’t envy you because God has taught me “so much” through my losses–as he’s been and is becoming more and more “My Father.” But it’s always great to hear of those who made wise choices in life and marriage because of the blessing of a good dad. Thanks so much for coming by and encouraging me!

  • DeanneMoore

    Somehow when my parents marriage broke, I replaced my often absent dad with my very present heavenly Father. I don’t know how that happened as a kid. But I didn’t take that childlike love for my Father into my adulthood. The marriage brokenness was an issue in my life until about 12 years ago. I crossed over from brokenness into Grace. 40 years I have known Jesus as Savior, 26 years married to a loving, faithful man.

    Bravo for keeping on keeping on, you will find Him when you search for Him with all your heart…

  • I think there is so much truth here that I had not considered before. My father was by no means a bad father, but it’s only been in the last two years that he’s made any effort to show and share his affections and love. I think it’s hard for him…flows down from his OWN father. I never really thought about how this could have affected my walk with my Heavenly Father. Thanks for sharing your heart and struggles. I like how you’ve replaced Lord with Father. That was a helpful tip!

  • soulstops

    thank you for sharing how you have drawn closer to God…I can relate to your journey…just last night, God was reminding me that He is better than even the best most loving earthly father…He has been most gentle and kind to me on my journey (Psalm 27:10)….much blessing to you, Beth 🙂

  • yes, these earthly relationships bind us from experiencing holy ones sometimes don’t they? love your look into this and your willingness to be open and share and to encourage others to do the same.

  • HopeUnbroken

    great write! it is so hard to not place what has been before us, what is tangible, on His character. to take Him at His word. to trust that He is Who He says He is. love how you put this in to daily, practical practice.
    and i have a feeling i could write a post, too, on how this has affected my marriage. . . how many times has my husband had to say to me, “i’m not your dad”?
    looking forward to hearing more!
    steph

  • Thanks for sharing your take on this. I too have father issues. But different I was always daddys girl until I got older and married someone that he did not approve of. Now that husband passed away, I am remarried have a beautiful set of twins and he still refuses to be a part of their life because I did not marrywho he thought I should 15 years ago. Thank God my heavenly Father is not at all like that. I am learning of his new grace everyday, and learning he will NEVER turn his back on me or my family. It is great to be “Daddy’s Girl” again! My Father is king, I am his princess and I AM THE APPLE OF HIS EYE!!

  • I completely relate!

  • messymarriage

    I’ve too have looked to God to fill the void that my father left, but alongside that I’ve had skewed views and feelings about God due to my distant relationship with my dad. I didn’t realize it until adulthood and I certainly didn’t realize how much it impacted my relationship to my husband until the last 10 years or so. Thanks so much, Deanne for your kind words, and for sharing a bit about your story!

  • messymarriage

    My father was the same way–not very affectionate, not very involved but not a “Bad” or abusive father. And like yours, I think he got that from his father too. We do what was done to us. In fact, that brings up another facet about this–I feel like it has negatively impacted my parenting as well. I’ve struggled to overcome this, but it has been passed on by “me” as well. I’m so glad you found some new insights here, Leigh Ann. I hope the tips are helpful to you! Thanks for coming by and weighing in!

  • messymarriage

    Yes, I hear those loving whispers from God as well, Dolly. So glad that He made that known to you even just last night! And you’re so right–He is better than the most loving father. We are blessed to have Him! Thanks for stopping by and encouraging me!

  • messymarriage

    They are inextricably linked. But thankfully God redeems all the hurt. Thanks so much for coming by and encouraging me, Tara!

  • messymarriage

    Ooh, I bet those words from your husband cut you to the quick, but truth can reveal and heal. Thanks so much for sharing your struggles, Steph. You’ve encouraged me!

  • messymarriage

    It must have been so painful to experience that rejection after being so close. But it sounds as if your relationship with God, your Father, has healed and is healing those wounds. I will definitely pray for your continued healing!

  • Jen

    Oh how Father issues reflect God issues…and husband issues as you have mentioned. But when our eyes are on Him….love seems to leak into all those other relationships so well…and all that abounds is Him. What a precious gift to have Him as our Father this Father’s Day. Yes, my friend!? 🙂

  • Thank you for this. I found you from Imperfect Prose. I had/have father issues. Abusive step father, non-existent father. My husband is a wonderful man, but our marriage is struggling and we’re still trying to figure it out. My father issues DEEPLY impact how I see God. I’ve been working through this for years now and am still a work in progress. I’m just trying to not repeat the same mistakes with my own children. This is great, thank you!

  • MoraTulia

    Thank you for sharing, I can completely relate, I had father issues and this really impacted my new marriage almost driving us into destruction. By God’s love I am stronger and growing everyday. I recently began to write a weekly email several weeks ago named ” You Are A Princess” focusing on God’s Love, and I know that he is healing me and making me whole. If anyone is interested in receiving a weekly email, please email me at jaramillo.tulia@yahoo.com

  • Alecia Simersky

    I’m not sure that I necessarily have daddy issues, but there are some things that I imagine God like as it pertains to my dad. Some good and bad…or just not so good.
    I love the visuals of your quiet time I could almost see you doing it. I too have moved from calling God, God to Father, it makes it more personal for me.

  • messymarriage

    I totally agree, Jen. We are so blessed to have the Father who loves us completely and can fill those gaps that our earthly fathers leave behind. Thanks so much for weighing and stopping by!

  • messymarriage

    I’m so glad that you found it helpful, Amber. I will certainly pray for you that God continues to heal and draw you close to Him as the perfect and loving Father that He is!

  • messymarriage

    Yes, it is such an honor to be “princesses,” daughters of the King! Thanks for weighing in and sharing about your writing too. 🙂

  • messymarriage

    Your kind words encourage me, Alecia! Thanks so much for sharing how you’ve been impacted and how you’ve dealt with the pain as well. Thanks so much for coming by! 🙂

  • Emily Wierenga

    this is such an important topic. i love how you imagine God loving you. i do that too. and realizing my father was once a little boy, with his own hurts and dreams and un-met needs, helps me too. to understand, and love him more. “take the child-you to Jesus,” a counselor told me once.

  • messymarriage

    It’s obvious that you’ve done the hard work of forgiving and sorting through the pain of your past, Emily. I’m so glad you have because I know, from your story, that you have found healing and are now passing that healing on to others. For that, I am so thankful!