How to Kill a Marriage…
A few short days ago, as I listened to a couple begin what Emerson Eggerich calls, “The Crazy Cycle,” I marveled at how common and similar our destructive behaviors are within relationships. I’m not a marriage counselor, but in the last year, I’ve been led to walk next to a few couples as they struggle with repairing damage to their marriage or parent/child relationships.
The similarities between these conflict-ridden opportunities would bring pause to even the most seasoned Army general.
Standing outside the forest of their interpersonal strife, I am blessed with a unique perspective of the whole and the parts – I can see which trees are blocking out the sun. Or should I say, “blocking out the Son…”
The common destructive behaviors indicate a lack of the Holy Spirit’s influence in these key relationships.
And they all have the same root – our protection of “self” aka, PRIDE.
Something I’m all too familiar with as well. L
The thing that fills me with compassion is that THESE are the relationships that have the greatest potential, and through which, God intends to bless us by bringing the most joy.
This morning, in reviewing Proverbs 18 (dare you to read the verses – there’s power there), God revealed a “Top Ten Paths of Destruction via Poor Communication Behaviors” for our marriages and parenting relationships. There are more, I’m sure, but those of us who claim to be Christian need to stop sinning and get this right – especially with those who are the toughest to deal with in our lives.
What kind of testimony do our lives give if our marriages and our relationships with our kids are a wreck? Why would anyone else want to follow Him? What difference does it make?
If the world evaluated the existence of God and Jesus Christ by our marriage or relationship with our kids – what would it see?
And as a reminder…
19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not )inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Yes, I know we are human – but I know families who are so filled with the Spirit that His fruit is more evident than their flesh. It’s obvious that there’s something different about them.
And what’s different is really Good.
Anyway, here goes…
Top Ten Paths of Destruction via Poor Communication Behaviors (from Proverbs 18)
- Stop being “friendly” and demand others serve you (no common courtesies like “please,” and “thank you”) (v1)
- Don’t try to understand his/her perspective by asking questions, that might build relationship – why do that when you can lecture and communicate a condescending attitude instead? (v2)
- Be nasty and mean in the words you say, being sure you fail to recognize the other as precious to God (v3)
- Be disrespectful or sarcastic with your words (v4, 6, and 7)
- Don’t share your struggles with a trusted advisor to get some help, but rather let other people know how horrible he/she is instead (v8)
- Be lazy in your efforts at home – make the other person bear the burden of the relationship work, or the house work – whatever you do, don’t help(v9)
- Don’t pray (v10)
- Lean on your “stuff” and your own abilities, instead of God (v11)
- Think you are better/smarter/holier than him or her (v12)
- Be sure to interrupt and talk over your spouse or child even though it is rude – they should know what they have to say doesn’t matter and you really don’t care anyway (v13)
- Tear the other down, instead of paying attention to small steps of progress, or whatever is right because that is what motivates them to keep trying to grow (v14)
- Don’t apologize for how you have hurt the other, and especially don’t change your behavior (repentance) (v19)
Yes, I know there are 12.
There’s actually more, but the gist of the passage can be summed up here, in verse 21: “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
What’s also interesting is that secular psychology brings light to the above behaviors as destructive as well.
Bottom line: Our communication behaviors (both verbal and non-verbal) either bring life or death into our relationships.
What are you bringing into your relationships today?
Dare you to read Proverbs 18 along with the list above, and see what He shows you.
Double dog dare you to ask forgiveness and change your behavior, bringing life into your marriage and your relationships with your kids.
Triple dog dare you to join us in this journey and subscribe to the blog via email in the box above and/or comment. J
Glad to be learning and growing with you…
I love the THINK acronym – I wrote in on the door of our computer desk. I often forget to say please when speaking to my husband or kids. Thanks for the list, Nina!
God is so very good, isn’t He? 🙂 And He made ALL of us precious to Him – I just love that thought – and when I remember it when in conflict, it helps me treat others with honor, love, respect, as the treasures they are to Him.
Not perfect, BTW, but working on His ways in His Spirit!
PS: Christian folks who “kill” their marriage do so because they buy the lie of the enemy and harden their hearts – “Moses permitted divorce because of the hardness of your hearts. But from the beginning it was not so.” I think the Son of God knows more about this than we claim to. Jesus said it, I believe it and that settles it. How about you?
I fully concur. The case for divorce is O. God hates it. That’s Scriptural.
Nina – was in Proverbs 18 this morning too. Verse 1 is more aptly put – shutting yourself in and shutting out the Lord, your spouse and your children will lead you to rage against sound wisdom (meaning your heart will grow hard, your ears won’t be able to hear and the light will grow dim). Think it means “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30). Dare you to meditate on this. Double Dog dare you to practice what it preaches. Triple Dog Dare you to keep walking this journey with me. Love you girlfriend – it’s only distance that physcially seperates us – but the Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirits that we are children of God. : )
Thanks so much Tona! Great thoughts, sister! 🙂
heh-* partner is way more patient* I meant, obviously. My cut-and-paste skills are lacking.
T Is it true?
H Is it helpful?
I Is it intelligent? (for me= not emotional)
N Is it necessary?
K Is it Kind?
I am grateful my way more partner is patient patient patient than I am, imo.
I just love this! 🙂 Thanks so much, Autumn!
Thank you so much for this post. Every time I lose my temper, no matter how justifiable, it is bound to be a mistake, and certainly doesn’t please the Lord! Must learn to count to ten (or ten thousand!:) and then speak words of life, not exhaustion and irritation. J.
Brilliant, Julia! And you are right, it’s always a mistake to lose our tempers! I have a rule for myself and my kids – Never engage in conflict when upset. When I have emotional control, then I give myself permission to talk through something. 🙂 The first time I did this, thankfully years and years ago, it was a full week before I could speak to it. 😛 Now, it is much shorter, and I’m seldom even angry. Hang in there – I’m living proof of what God can do with a pliable heart! 🙂
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