Someone recently shared a story with me, on how a woman talked about the bitterness growing in her heart towards her husband and how she feels she could kill him if pushed. She said her feelings are more dangerous than the venom of a snake. Well, I don’t believe she’s alone in these feelings because of the recent increase in spousal killing.
Bitterness is like a small crack in the windshield of your relationship. It might look insignificant on the surface, but left alone it branches out and continues to split until the glass shatters into a million pieces. So let’s look at this
What is the cause of bitterness in your Marriage?
Author Sabrina McDonald wrote, “In every marriage, a husband or wife does something that hurts the other. It’s bound to happen because none of us are perfect. And in some cases, a spouse has a habit of doing the same thing over and over again, even after the behavior is confronted.
Bitterness comes when you hold onto hurt and refuse to forgive the person who hurt you. Most of the time, this comes as a result of ongoing actions that had been complained about—
lack of understanding or display of affec, misuse of finances or poor financial decisions repeatedly, using harsh words on you, letting you down repeatedly,
unconcerned with your feelings…again, remained distant towards you…again, checked out on his/her role of a parent-
that build up over time. Each offense takes residence in the heart, and at some point there is no more room left. That’s when bitterness is manifested and causes the most damage.”
How to Spot Bitterness
Are you constantly disappointed in your spouse?
Frustrated with him or her?
Cold and closed off towards him or her?
Short, snappy, and nasty?
How to Be Set Free from Bitterness
Are you bitter about something hurtful your spouse has done over and over again in your relationship? Well, it is important for your spouse to hear you, see the error of their ways, ask for forgiveness for the part they played in hurting you, and then make a change in how they handle it in the future. But hear me on this—your spouse cannot take away your bitterness. Only you can address that.
Here are 4 things you can do to be set free from your bitterness.
1. Communicate your hurts to your spouse.
Your spouse can’t read your mind. And though you may be convinced that your hurt is obvious, there’s a chance your spouse is unaware of the way they’ve hurt you. So rather than emotionally shut down or give up on a change, choose to not distance yourself. One of the strongholds of bitterness is the secrecy of it. Once you voice your concerns, they can be addressed.
2. Approach your spouse with love.
While communicating your hurts to your spouse is important, it’s even more important that your motive for the conversation is to renew the love in your marriage. So keep focused on how you’re hurting. Address how you feel; don’t accuse your spouse. Accusation won’t get you very far. Also, be quick to own up to your mistakes and be ready to share in the exchange of apologies. Because the truth is that while bitterness may be evoked by your spouse, it is still your responsibility to let go of it.
3. Forgive your spouse and ask for forgiveness.
Seek peace with your spouse and have the grace to forgive. Giving forgiveness is critical. Also, you may not realize it, but you need to be forgiven as much as you need to forgive.
4. Vow to avoid the chains of bitterness in the future.
Once you’ve been set free from bitterness, don’t be enslaved by it any longer. Instead, once frustrations arise, deal with them immediately by…Forgiving, Letting go, Being gracious &merciful…
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you”. Ephesians 4:31,32
I hope these thoughts will help you to let bitterness go and enable you to embrace the sweetness that your marriage offers.
What are some of the ways bitterness has affected your marriage? What are you doing about it? You can leave a comment below… or just share your thoughts and questions …
It’s amazing the number of men and women (especially) going through a form of Sexual abuse in their marriages but rarely report it. Some because they have been conditioned to accept it while some are not even aware whats happening to them is an abuse.
How do we identify Sexual abuse in marriage? What makes a man or woman succum to sexual abuse or rape in marriage? What can be done about it? These are the questions I want to explore in this post and others…
Its really sad when something meant to give pleasure and enjoyment becomes a source of pain and distress. The main place across culture and race where sex is legalized and expected to be enjoyed most is in marriage but unfortunately for many it is the opposite. The enthusiasm in which many look forward into marriage turns into horror when sex is abused and turns out sour or violent.
Sexual abuse in marriage occurs when spouses make demands on their partners that are not based on love but selfishness, entitlement mentality or punishment. Most complaint of sexual abuse in marriage had been made by women.
According to Darby Strickland in her blog on Sex Abuse in Marriage (on CCEF site), she explained that, the men who abuses their wives are oftened troubled individuals, themselves. That they usually have deep-seated problems including a non-existence relationship with God (even though they often use the scriptures ie. 1 Corin. 7:4-5 to bring their wives into subjection) and an inflated sense of entitlement. They believe that other people (including their wives) exist for them—for their comfort and to meet their needs, including sexual ones. When their wives fail to respond as desired, it often results in a pattern of coercive and punishing behaviors designed to force their compliance.
Identifying Sexual Abuse in Marriage
1. A husband insisting for or putting pressure on a wife for sex with a frequency that the wife is struggling to keep up with. It must always be when he wants it, regardless of if the woman wants it or is ready at that time. Here, a spouse uses various gimmicks to put pressure even blaming the wife for making him do pornography or have extra marital affair. The man here is a bully and would often use threats like threatening to leave, find another woman, withholding funds etc
2. Sometimes the situation and circumstances around a woman may make her decline sex i.e child-caring, illness, stress etc and when the husband insist on sex regardless of the wife’s feelings, then it’s an abuse. If the husband ignores the tears rolling or the extremely warm temperature of the wife’s body. Many women had learnt to just lay there and let him have his way…some for religious reasons or cultural teachings. They feel used and unhappy.
3. When one of the spouses (ie.wife) is uncomfortable with a particular sexual act, style or practise and the partner insists on engaging in it. When a wife is complaining of a hurt or pain during sexual acts and the husband acts unconcerned, insist on having his way or disregard her complain. In some cases she cannot or dare not voice her complaints.
4.The worst sexual violation is rape, but there are many types of violation. Among them are sexual acts performed while someone is sleeping or intoxicated, unwanted sexual touch, being forced to engage in an unwanted act to avoid another abuse, or a husband ignoring tears or other expressions of discomfort. Marital rape is attached majorly to an entitlement mindset, to show superiosity or punishment. It’s really sad how many, even law enforcement officers disregard marital rape.
Marriage does not equal sexual consent. It does not obligate spouses to participate in any sexual act at any time. But devastatingly, many women especially Christian women have come to believe that sex-on-demand is their “wifely duty.” Thus, they have a hard time separating being violated from what they have come to believe is their wifely-duty.
What really is God stand about all these?
Are we identifying these behaviors for what they are—abuse?
Read up more on Darby Strickland’s blog “Sexual Abuse in Marriage” from http://www.ccef.org
Drop you questions below
Till next post on why spouses endure sexual abuse…
I honor you
Do you know ‘Gender issue’ is less about sexuality but more of identity?
While ‘Sexuality is who I go to bed with’, ‘Gender is who I go to bed as’…
We all often struggle with some level of identity amnesia at one point or the other in our lives, thinking that ‘who we are is the sum total of all that we’ve experienced’. Nah, your experiences does not define you, it only compliment, inform or guide your person.
Gender is God’s creation and it is given for a purpose, I would suggest ‘procreation’. It is not created by man but given by God, so it is erroneous for anyone to think he can change it or claim any gender he or she wants. The early man and woman believed the lie of the devil that they can change their image or identity to be like God and lost the source and knowledge of their true identity. Breaking identity with God is breaking identity with yourself. God made us and only Him knows us all. To have knowledge of our identity, we ought to consult with Him.
Often now, it is not uncommon to hear someone say ‘gender is what’s between my ears and not what is between my legs’- this is simply against the notion of God giving us gender. He gave us and He use it to identify us as ‘Man’ and ‘Woman’, confirming that gender confusion has nothing to do with biological makeup but more with psychological issues.
A lady struggling with her sexual identity and preference spoke to me recently on her journey to recovery, she said “I realized now that how i saw myself then was a reflection of how far away from God I had moved, now that I am coming closer to Him, getting to know Him amazingly am getting to know myself much more and love this ME, this me is who I should have been, this is who I am- the image of God’.
You are probably where you are now because of your experiences, your feelings and your perspectives, they all do not define you, only God does.
Jesus took the form of our humanity so as to restore the whole of our humanity including our gender. People struggling with homosexual/ transgender issues assumes their identity is tied to their sexuality or gender, but Christ says you are more than your sexuality and gender and He is giving a new name and identity to as many as would want it.
4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” 5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”… Rev. 21: 4-5
‘Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it’. Rev.2:17
I honor you
For some days now, I have been teaching on how relevant is the pains and challenges we go through in life to our purpose and destinies… I am saying that our pain often might be for our benefits instead, if we are informed to change our perspectives.
Someone sent me this story today and I think it really buttress my point… We just need to look at the pain from another angle and we would see something else. Here is the story below…
A man was sleeping one night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light, and God appeared.
The Lord told the man He had work for him to do, and showed him a large rock. The Lord explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might.
So, this the man did, day after day. For many years he toiled from sun-up to sun-down, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the rock, pushing with all his might.
Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain. Since the man was showing discouragement, Satan decided to enter the picture by placing thoughts into the weary mind.
‘You have been pushing against that rock for a long time and it hasn’t moved.’
Thus, he gave the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure. These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man.
Satan said, ‘Why kill yourself over this? Just put in your time, giving just the minimum effort; and that will be good enough.’
That’s what the weary man planned to do, but decided to make it a matter of prayer and to take his troubled thoughts to the Lord.
‘Lord,’ he said, ‘I have labored long and hard in Your Service, putting all my strength to do that which You have asked. Yet, after all this time, I have not even budged that rock by half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?’
The Lord responded compassionately, ‘My friend, when I asked you to serve Me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all of your strength, which you have done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push. And now you come to Me with your strength spent, thinking that you have failed.
‘But, is that really so? Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, your back shiny and brown; your hands are callused from constant pressure, your legs have become massive and hard.
‘Through opposition you have grown much, and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have. True, you haven’t moved the rock. But your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise your Faith and trust in My Wisdom. That you have done.
‘Now I, my friend, will move the rock.’
At times, when we hear a word from God, we tend to use our own intellect to decipher what He wants, when actually what God wants is just simple obedience and faith in Him.
By all means, exercise the faith that moves mountains, but know that it is still God who moves the mountains.
And remember to PUSH:
P = Pray
U = Until
S = Something
H = Happens
I love and honor you…
Recently, I was in a discussion with one of my mentors on Healthy Lifestyle and at some point I told her my concerns with the guilt I feel sometimes when I do not give my kids ‘sweet food’…or allow them go to several ‘kids party’ or ‘fun places’…or those things that are referred to as the ‘best of life’
I struggle with the thoughts that ‘hope I am not depriving them of things they should be exposed to eat or visit that would make them feel confident amongst other Kid’s and build their esteem…
And then she asked me for a list of food I give them… Observing my list she said ‘these are healthy food, what else were you thinking you should be adding to their meal to build their sense of esteem?’
With a self-convicting smile, I mentioned ‘regular ice-cream, Meat/chicken pie, French fries, chinese restaurant, overseas trips etc’
She looked at me and asked, ‘So what if they eat all these foods and visit the best of fun places? What happens if they confidently sing out the names of these assorted foods and places yet the kids lack the skill to know when or whether to eat and not too? When or whether to react or not to? Should their esteem be determined by what they can have or what they chose to have?…
It was an eye opener for me…self control is a mother to self esteem. That is even as I focus to build the esteems of my little ones, my ultimate goal is to take them to the place of self control. No matter how much esteem or self confidence you have, you might be shocked at yourself on something you need to let go and you just couldn’t, at the way you respond to stimulants that you weren’t trained to manage..to manage self-excesses and to know when to say NO to SELF.
“All things are lawful but not all things are helpful, all things are permissible but not all things builds up” 1Corin 10:23
A great man is the one who had learnt to know and control him/her SELF.
I honor you
On Christ the solid rock, I stand… All other ground is sinking sand…all other ground is sinking sand.
I have been away to a week long conference in the UK studying the relevance of God and our struggles in life. The various challenges and blows life throws at us. The addictions, the little secrets we cannot let out to the open… Where is God in all of it?
After, this whole week of learning, I have realized again and again that God is right here, in it with us. He is very much aware of it all…our fears and insecurities are just plain before Him. He is ever present…waiting for us to acknowledge His presence and handing over all to Him at the foot of the cross.
He is God… He is still God… He is our present help in time of need…Our hopes … Our comforter… Our advocate….He is the solid ground on which we stand.
He loves you and I love you too.
I know pain so well, I had master its shapes and ways…and I can tell you, its all in the mind.
The mind is a parachute, a tool to safety and death…to development and destruction…to gain and pain…remember the mind works based on the principles of association? whatever you call a feeling is what it is..as what is coming out of you has nothing to do with what is outside of you. It is what is inside.. ‘as a man thinketh in his heart so is he’
If you think Pain…you see Pain…and you feel Pain.
When hurt, what do you think? what do you feel? what thoughts came through your mind?
Allow your mind to progress from the level of association to COMTEMPLATION…that is the state in which you are curious and seeks to blow boundaries…a state of asking questions when things associated with particular incidents or thoughts occurs. Asking questions…is stepping out of the box.
Ask; What am I pretending not to know for me to continually feel this pain?
What would happen if I decide to change the meaning I give this pain?
What would not happen?
Your brain will dissociate from the situation to be able to answer this questions as you can only go as high as you go deep…Pain is an ally not an enemy, it is a unique reminder of your human nature, it is an indicator that you can still live life fully.
Always look outward, do not focus on your immediate thoughts and feelings of pain…go deeper in questioning the source and purpose of that feeling. No delusions…see the gain in that situation, beyond the appearances and limitations.
Never forget your mind is a powerful servant but a terrible master. You need to learn to rise above your mind… above your hurt…above your pain.
I honor you
Today, I had come in to work looking forward to a bright day, but alas as I sat at my desk with my laptop, with a wide grin on my face I inserted my USB flash into the drive and…
My flash drive holds all my documents and precious works, both official and personal information are stored in my USB- my books, my projects, my on-going assignments, my Master thesis. I have had this flash drive for more than 5 years now, no virus, no corruption, no damage.
I can remember the last use of my USB was just yesterday, when I needed to show a group of girls an abortion slide, my laptop battery was dead and I had used their school’s laptop to project my flash content. No alarm, no indication, no damage as I retrieved my USB till now when I had put in my USB flash drive to access my Master’s project thesis and phew…my flash is wiped off. Yes, cleaned out! I mean, my USB flash was empty. I could feel the blood rushing to my brains and back to my veins, I could feel my throat tightening as fear gripes me. Where are my documents? When and where did I catch a virus? Have I lost it all?
Immediately it crossed my mind, ‘I have not backed up recently’ I could feel my emotions welling up, my blood pumping fast and I could feel sweat on my face although the air conditioner was on the highest. Fear, anxiety, panic…I felt it all at once.
Then I told myself to calm down and think, instead of breaking down. Think of what could have happened, think of ways to get some of my documents back, think…instead of allowing my emotions control me. Easier said..hunnn.
Few hours later at home-my sons asked for my phone to play a game, I looked into my bag, my car, my luggage then I realized I have also lost my phone. We searched everywhere, to no avail. This is too much for me in just ONE day…I lost all documents in my USB and also lost my phone. I couldn’t stop the wave of thoughts that started gushing into my mind, …”I just failed, I am too careless, I am infested with ill-luck, the world is against me, this is too much for me, someone corrupted my flash, someone took my phone…” As the self-condemnatory and blaming-others thoughts flooded my mind, the more I lose control of my emotions. I screamed at my kids, I was edgy and touchy , I refused to make dinner and would rather be all alone. My emotions had taken over.
Our thoughts determines our reactions, our reaction births our emotional display per time. So what are you thinking? what are you reacting too? what emotions seems to be beyond you? Trace it, identify it and master it!
I struggled to keep my emotions together as I thought about how much I had lost in one day, until my husband sent me this message… “God’s eye runs to and fro, all over the earth to show Himself strong on behalf of those who put their trust in Him. lets praise Him. Do not be sad, rejoice” As I read through his message, I could feel a surge of energy sipping through my veins, I decided to deliberately focus my thoughts on the good things that had happened in the last few days and to do my dance therapy.
Yeah…Dance. Dance is a therapeutic means to control your emotions. Force your body to move in a rhythm and the mind registers it as positive…it also gives you few minutes to clear your thoughts and input more positive thoughts into the situation. Then you are in charge.
Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praise worthy- think about such things. Phil 4:8
I honor you
Its has been said that ‘you can chose how you feel’
… my question , How easy is that?
One thing common to many of us is the desire to be in control of our lives…to be in control of the things that seems to control us…to be in control of our emotions.
Does the comment of Oscar Wide resonate with you? Do you also desire not to be at the mercy of your emotions anymore?…
I really do not like to be at the mercies of my emotions either, however many times, it seems this decision is beyond me. Until I began to pay it some attention. Then I understood that ’emotions’ are not really consciously controlled, they operate at the level of the mind, a state of ‘unconscious competence’- this is a state where in an individual do not need to think before displaying an action or behaviour. The individual had gained a competence, they are not even aware of.
Anger, boredom, confusion, embarrassment, fear, guilt, hate, hurt, jealousy, loneliness, regret are some of the emotions that had been unconsciously mastered as a response to different situation and circumstances.
I have learnt these emotions do not just occur …they are linked to memories and experiences. When something happens, the brain quickly does a rewind to somewhere, sometimes in the past when something like it has happened before and informs the mind to act as it had in that previous incident.
Self-pity, Self- guilt and Self-condemnation are at the root of most emotions. Psychologists had explained that the brain remembers a situation in the past and sends a message–‘a thought’ that triggers a sensation in the body leading to a reaction and that reaction is the behavioural display of emotion.
Past Memory/Experience + Thought + Sensations= Emotions
In all, emotions are neither good nor bad, it is how we respond to it that determines its value. So then how do we manage these surge of feelings that comes voluntarily?
To understand your emotions, I would suggest you focus on
-knowing your self better, personality assessments can help here.
-know your dominant emotional display
-know your emotion triggers
I often ask myself;
- How do I feel?
- How do I know how I fee?
- What thoughts crossed my mind?
To be continued….
I honor you