Sep 4, 2013

Surviving a "Mid-Wife" Crisis #3: Five Ways to Make it WORSE

Marriage is like the ocean, there are high tides and low tides, good times and bad times, times where you feel completely connected to your spouse and times where you don't even want to try.   While the goal is to be working together, and minimizing the drift apart, some-days you might just be floating.

If you are struggling with a mid-wife crisis, you aren't just floating, you are in the midst of a storm, your boats that were once lashed securely together have started to come apart, the ropes are fraying, the bonds are stretched.  Not every marriage has to get to this point, but if you find yourself in this situation, first you must STOP the drift.  Next, you should do what you can to keep it from getting WORSE.

Why would you do that?  I am not completely sure, but I know I did it.  It was turmoil inside of me and it resulted in me pushing my husband away, even as I wanted to bring him closer.  Maybe it's like an injured animal, who bites the hand who is trying to help.  Maybe once you get set on a path of destruction, it's very hard to turn it around.  Here they are:

Marriage struggles?  Want to make it worse?  No... then don't do these 5 things:

Wage war on your husband - try to remember HE is not the enemy.  The Bible (in Ephesians 6:12) says that our struggle is not against flesh and blood.  It's not against your husband.  It might feel like it is, but in reality you should be fighting alongside your husband against the real enemy.  John 10:10 tells us that the Thief (Satan) seeks to "steal and kill and destroy", that is your enemy. So when you make your husband the enemy when talking to family or friends you are waging war against the wrong enemy.  When a wife is openly critical about  her husband to friends or family, she is showing an incredible amount of disrespect, not to mention potentially harming her husband's relationship with those people.  You can never take back those words, and long after you have worked out your feelings for him, and maybe have fallen back in love with him, those family members won't be able to forget what you said.
Only communicating your feelings when you are upset or angry - It's hard to listen to someone when they are yelling at us, even if they aren't raising their voice.  Try to find a calm and quiet time to discuss your issues without attacking him.  Blaming and criticizing your husband won't give you much credibility.  If you have a serious issue in your marriage (like feeling disconnected), ask for some time to talk and calmly and rationally spell it out for him.  Tell him what you are willing to do, ask him what he is willing to do, make sure you are honest about how you are feeling without over-stating your position (don't threaten to divorce him unless that is really what you want).
Remain in Toxic Relationships - What type of friends do you
hang out with?  Are they negative and spend time bashing their husbands?  Do you have friends who regularly brag about what an AMAZING husband they have and how he is perfect?  Negative people will bring you down, as will people who aren't being honest.  No one has a perfect marriage, and remembering that is key to finding contentment in your own marriage.  Remove yourself from toxic relationships that feed upon your vulnerability.   The other potentially dangerous relationship you should avoid is any friendship with a man.  A "harmless" guy at work is a potential stumbling block if you allow yourself to get "too close".
Starve the intimacy in your marriage - Intimacy can be difficult to achieve under good circumstances, but avoid these intimacy killers: separate beds or bedtimes (this doesn't destroy every marriage, but it's a dangerous habit to get into), lying, or not being completely honest, being disrespectful, not listening when he talks, trying to change your spouse, not showing your spouse acceptance, refusing to be vulnerable (sharing your heart-hurts), and being self-centered.  To read more about intimacy, check out my Intimacy in Marriage series, or at least my wrap up "What being one really means".
Engage in destructive, immoral or dangerous behaviors - Sometimes you are so frustrated you begin to self-destruct, either because you don't have the energy or courage to deal with your husband face-to-face, or you have lost all hope.  Some of these behaviors include : excessive partying with "the girls" (either to escape from your pain or to blow off steam),  seeking out ex-boyfriends on Facebook (just DON'T go there), or actively seeking or engaging in an affair - nothing messes up an attempt at reconciliation like being caught in an affair.

Come back tomorrow when we look at the "good" reasons to leave your spouse, and some other things to think about if you are seriously considering separation or divorce.

Lord, reveal to me how I undermine my marriage.  Help me to see the areas where I am destructive or the blind spots I have that may be hurting my marriage.  Protect my marriage, allow me to approach my spouse and help us to work together to begin to rebuild what is broken.  If my marriage is healthy, Lord I pray that I will be always aware of these things that can potentially damage what is going well.  AMEN.

The whole series:
#1 - Three warning signs your marriage could be in trouble {Monday}
#2 - Four ways to STOP it in it's Tracks {Tuesday}
#3 - Five Ways to Make it WORSE {Wednesday}
#4 - Six Thoughts on Leaving {Thursday}
#5 - Seven ways to turn your marriage around {Friday}

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