Dare #2 of The Respect Dare …

How childhood may be messing with our marriage ...

Research shows that our childhood may be messing with our marriage – and Dare #2 of The Respect Dare: 40 days to a deeper connection with God and our husband brings this to life for us all. 

Given that the divorce rate is as high as it is, and most women are dissatisfied in their marriages, we should consider doing the work that helps us heal.

What’s also cool is that this then can help our children heal – because our lack of awareness on this issue can also mess them up!

I saw this clearly in our family.

Upon returning from a parenting conference, my husband and I sat down with our kids, and asked them about things we had done that had caused them to feel abandoned, unloved, or betrayed by us.

It was part of the homework.

My son, a seven-year-old at the time we asked the question, relayed an incident when he was six. He broke his leg, and he felt like he wasn’t cared for well during the incident. He felt like he wasn’t loved.

I remembered it well. Hearing his little voice say how he felt back then nearly split my heart in half. Of course he was loved, of course we cared for him – but perceptions create reality for those experiencing them.  And the enemy is really good at manipulating the thoughts of all of us, especially little kids.

Truth is, I didn’t know at first that he had broken his leg. I wasn’t sure what had happened, and it took a while to get to the bottom of things with the five and seven-year-olds involved in the incident. They had run back to their house, and I had to talk with them to get the information about what had happened. It turned out he had a compression fracture, which doesn’t look like a break on the outside – but after a little time had passed and he was still in a ton of pain, we knew he needed to go to the hospital.

It was the first time one of my kids was injured or sick and I wasn’t the one who took him to the doctor.

He ended up at Children’s Hospital ER, with his dad, because I had to go to work. I taught classes at night, and I couldn’t  find someone to cover for me. Canceling class was not an option, according to policy, and so I called my husband, held my son while we waited for Daddy to come home, and then through tears, I went to work while Jim took our little boy to the hospital.

And a year later, somewhere inside, he was filtering reality through the lie that I didn’t love him.

He’s much older now, and he knows the truth. I’m thankful that we had the opportunity to work through that incident and shed the light of truth on it. He saw me cut back in the number of hours I worked, even though his dad was the one who watched him while I taught, and now, if you ask him, he will tell you he feels loved by me.

Thing is, we ALL buy lies in our childhood that impact how we do life today. A good friend of mine is a psychologist and family therapist.  When her kids all graduated from college, she spent a full day with each of them, and had them write down all the ways they could remember that she had hurt them as they grew up. She then listened to their versions of the incidents, and apologized to them for the hurt they suffered. They were interested in her version of some of the incidents and they learned some truth, but they also felt heard and were able to heal from some of the pain they suffered as children. I think this is a marvelous idea, and have done this with my boys. I need to do it still with my daughter.

When I look at my kids’ childhoods, they aren’t perfect. I don’t know any parent who can honestly say they haven’t hurt their kids, even though we’re all out here doing our best.

No one gets up in the morning intending to scar their kids for life.

Point is, that it happens anyway.  When one of my boys raised his arms, asking me to carry him, and I told him I couldn’t pick him up because I was too sore and pregnant (combination of being 9 months along and having a connective tissue disorder).  But he believed that I didn’t love him anymore in THAT moment.

He told me later that he literally heard a voice telling him that the new baby was going to take his place in my heart, that I didn’t have enough love for them both. I remember that moment well, too.

I did everything “according to the books.” I squatted down, made eye contact with him, and told him how much I loved him and how much I wanted to carry him, but I just couldn’t because I was super sore from the baby… and that when the baby finally came out, I’d be able to carry him around again. And I hugged him.

And he still believed otherwise.

He was 3 years old.

I can’t control that junk.

But I can work on the now. And I can walk side by side with the man I married as he encounters his junk from childhood, too.  We all have it. It’s worth sorting through, painful as it is, with those who love us and those we love.

What about you? What childhood junk is spilling over into your now? Dare you to join us in asking Him to reveal the Truth, and to walk the road toward healing, no matter how hard it is.

Love to you,

Nina

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