HEALING IN CHRISTIAN MARRIAGES
And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. 24 As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything. 25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. 27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. 28 In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. 29 No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. 30 And we are members of his body. 31 As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” 32 This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. 33 So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
1 Peter 3:1-7
In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives. 3 Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. 4 You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. 5 This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They trusted God and accepted the authority of their husbands. 6 For instance, Sarah obeyed her husband, Abraham, and called him her master. You are her daughters when you do what is right without fear of what your husbands might do.
7 In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.
To heal in marriage you must work at being connected emotionally to each other as well as spiritually to God and each other. Marriage is described as a picture of how God loves us. Just as God wants us to love Him with all our heart, which means all of our emotions, so must we love our spouses at the heart or emotional level.
HOW DO WE DO THIS? (LUVE)
- Understand what your partner is saying.
- Validate and affirm what your partner is saying before you say something in return
- Empathize with your partner. Make sure you feel emotionally what your partner is feeling. Then let your emotions tell you what to do next. Now you are emotionally connected. Now you can solve problems TOGETHER.
HEALING FROM DESTRUCTIVE PATTERNS OF CONFLICT
- Determine that you are both going to be equally loving, giving, and forgiving toward each other. The Scriptures above and elsewhere require this. Our love for our spouse is to be just like God’s love for us!
- Arguing and fighting stem from unmet emotional needs in each partner. This is common not shameful.
- The wife may protest in hurt and anger because she feels ignored or unimportant and she wants to be valued by a loving husband who connects to her emotional needs.
- The husband may withdraw or avoid her emotionally when she gets upset which upsets her more! It is good to talk about what you need from your partner. Avoid angry blaming or criticizing just state what your needs are in a way your spouse can respond to. If you feel hurt say you feel hurt. Do not react in anger
- The partner who is the one who gets more upset must SOFTEN her approach so the other partner can stay engaged in the conversation.
- The partner who emotionally withdraws must ENGAGE.
- For a more detailed description of emotional healing in marriage (and other close relationhips) read Chapter 8 in my book, Essentials of Christian Healing available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble websites.