Lately, it seems like God is dealing with me through all sorts of sources on the need to deal with old wounds that trigger me and my hubby in our marriage. It’s like everywhere I turn the subject turns to old wounds …
From my Men and Openness Survey results (see post here on how old wounds impact men ), to the many emails that my oldest son and I have been exchanging lately, to where I find myself studying in my personal Bible study times as well as small group times, to the upcoming marriage retreat that my church is holding this weekend that will be dealing with … you guessed it … old wounds. 🙁
You don’t have to hit a gal upside the head more than once to make me realize this is a subject I need to unpack and explore here at Messy Marriage! 😉
Like most couples, both my husband (Gary) and I came from homes where dysfunction was prevalent.
As for my husband: His parents divorced when he was just a tot. They divorced because his father was physically and emotionally abusive.
When Gary’s mother remarried, it was to a man who ended up being very emotionally withdrawn. Many years later that marriage ended in divorce after Gary’s mother discovered her husband had been unfaithful.
After Gary married me, his mother ventured out to marry again after several years as a single. This time she found a guy that has been an amazing husband to her, father to us, and grandfather to our boys.
I’m so grateful for the blessing that my father-in-law is to our family and I only regret that their example of a great marriage did not come during Gary’s formative years. Although it has still proved to be inspiring to us now.
As for me: My parents, who are both gone now, were married for 40+ years, but the majority of those were “messy marriage” years. Even though my dad was a pastor and quite good at that, he really did not know how to be a good husband and father. He was emotionally removed from us in many ways, giving exhaustively to his congregation and to the Lord.
I know that his own father was physically abusive to at least his mother when he was growing up, which I’m sure explained much of his lack of understanding on how to be a husband and father.
I think my mom felt very isolated and unloved by my father’s withdrawal and her way of dealing with this was to criticize, argue and sometimes rage at him—hoping to prod her hubby out of his emotional slumber.
So I witnessed many extremely hostile fights between my parents … or at least my mother taking every jab she could at his resolve to remain detached and composed.
She was also sometimes emotionally combative with me, because I had withdrawn in many ways during my later childhood and teen years very similar to my father’s withdrawal.
The reason I’m telling you all of this is because I think it paints a picture that many of you can relate to and recognize.
And the odd thing is …
That gives us the kindling, if you will, for the emotional triggers we feel in our marriages. I know it has in mine.
So in the weeks ahead, I will be unpacking more of the types of triggers that I’m prone to and perhaps one or two that my husband struggles with. I also will be discussing how you can identify your own triggers and leverage this newfound understanding in your marriage to knock down the walls that currently exist with your spouse.
Next week I’ll begin with some of the “triggers” I have and what they specifically relate to from my past. I hope you’ll join me!
What was your parent’s marriage(s) like? The good and bad?
How do you think the dysfunctions of their marriage negatively impact you and your marriage?
Joining with my friends at Giving Up on Perfect, Wifey Wednesday, A Little R & R Wednesdays, Mondays @ Soul Survival, Coffee and Conversation, Coffee for Your Heart, Sitting Among Friends, DanceWithJesusFriday and Wholehearted Wednesday.
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FYI – I want to give a shout out to my brave mother-in-law and hubby for granting me permission to share some of the unflattering details of their lives from years ago. And moving forward in this series, please know that any details I share from their lives will always only be shared if they give me their permission to do so. They are my biggest supporters for sure! 🙂