Why You Need to Face the Hard Truth in Marriage
- Dr. David B. Hawkins The Marriage Recovery Center
- 2017 31 Jan
Karla spoke nervously as she shared about her husband’s latest inappropriate email exchange with a co-worker.
“I can’t believe he keeps talking to women when I’ve caught him so many times,” she said. “He can’t seem to stop himself.”
“Do you really believe he can’t stop himself from having these relationships?” I asked.
“I know I can stop myself from doing all the inappropriate things he does,” she continued. “But he sure doesn’t seem to be able to stop himself. He’s so immature. He needs their attention.”
“He needs their attention? I’m sure he enjoys it, but don’t believe he needs it. Are you saying you will put up with his relationships that lead to affairs?” I asked.
“I don’t think he’s having an affair with this one,” she responded defensively.
“But you’ve told me about half a dozen other affairs over the past 10 years, Karla,” I said. “What makes you think his cheating will stop?”
She paused and looked anxiously at me. I sensed she was not fully ready to face truth.
“I’m just hoping he cares more about me than about this other woman,” she said. “I know he cares about me and our two sons.”
“Yes, I’m sure he does,” I said. “But has he faced the truth of his patterns of cheating? Are you sure he is telling you the truth? If he doesn’t face the truth and if you don’t face the truth, nothing is going to change.”
“I’m getting close to putting my foot down about all of this,” she said. “I know I’m putting up with too much. I’m not sure why I tolerate such bad behavior.”
Karla was putting up with far too much. “We teach people how to treat us,” and Karla was teaching her husband that he could continue to live with poor boundaries and participate in self-destructive behavior that also harmed his wife and family.
Karla is similar to many women I speak with frequently. They are victimized by their mate’s behavior and yet for a variety of reasons, usually rooted in fear, they avoid facing hard truths. They pretend their situation is not the way it is; they hope their situation is not the way it really is and then deny that the situation is not the way it really is. Not only does this keep them trapped, enabling bad behavior, but saps their energy that could be used for change.
Likewise, their mate refuses to face hard truths. Their mate engages in destructive behavior partially because they can, because they have been enabled to do so. This, incidentally, is no excuse for their hurtful behavior. However, when both collude to not face harsh realities, bad behavior continues.
Scripture tells us the truth will set us free, yet I’m constantly amazed at how reluctant we are to actually face truth. While the truth will indeed set us free, we must first face it and deal with the realities of it. Facing truth often requires action that is painful before we can experience the freedom that follows.
Let’s consider some of the steps necessary for discovering and experiencing the freedom promised by this Scripture.
First, write out a history of the problem. While this is often a painful exercise, considering and writing out a history of your relationship and the problems in it helps face problems. Prayerfully consider your situation and be honest as you write and rewrite specifics of the problems that are difficult to face.
Second, share with a trusted friend the specifics of your situation. Sharing specifics of our situation with a trusted friend also amplifies our truths and reality. Coming out of hiding about our troubles helps us to face truth. Discuss your situation with someone who will speak truth into your life and situation. Share with your small group exactly what is going on in your life and experience their support and caring.
Third, define the truth. Utilize these friendships to clearly define your problem. What exactly is the problem? What part of the problem is yours and what part belongs to your mate? What aspect of the problem have you been avoiding? What steps are necessary to fully face truth and the changes needed?
Fourth, admit and discuss your fears of facing truth. Fear typically is the culprit leading us to pretend, hope and deny the severity of our situation. Fear—False Evidence Appearing Real (FEAR)-- often causes us to minimize the problem, sanitize the severity of it and resist making hard changes. Again, write out and discuss your fears and notice them shrink as you face them. What we fear most rarely occurs.
Finally, prepare to implement actions based upon these truths. Facing and defining truth is the first part of the battle. Being honest with yourself regarding your fears, as opposed to complaining about your mate’s actions, is another significant step to be taken. The final and most powerful step is determining the action required after facing truth. The truth alone rarely sets us free—it is acknowledging the problem and the steps needed for the solution that is powerful.
Are you ready to face hard truths? God will give you wisdom and courage to face hard truths. Once you do you will find freedom that has been locked in fear. You will be ready to use energy to solve a problem rather than avoid it. You will be well on a path toward change and new freedom.
Do you feel stuck? Would you like help in defining and facing problems? If you would like further help, we are here for you. Please send responses to me at email@example.com and also read more about The Marriage Recovery Center on our website and learn about our Personal and Marriage Intensives.
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: January 31, 2017