Your Spouse Is In Your Life To Hurt/Help You
Written By: Mark Smith
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In my 27 years as a therapist, I have come across an incredibly profound truth that has saved literally hundreds of marriages in our practice. With every couple that I work with, my goal is the same: to get this one truth deeply embedded into the heart, mind and soul of both the husband and the wife. So, here goes – the marriage saving, life-changing truth is this: there are absolutely, positively no victims in marriage—ever. That is a shocking statement to the ears of the spouse who comes to therapy because they feel extremely victimized by their partner's infidelity, neglect, abuse, rage, abandonment, irresponsibilities, etc. Surely I'm not saying that spouses who have been cheated on or raged upon have not been victimized? Actually that is exactly what I am saying; and what is more, if you have an open mind, I think that I can prove it to you. If you get this insight, it very well could change everything; it could turn a negative, bitter, powerless, miserable situation into a positive, team-building, marriage-healing project.
There are no victims in marriage because you not only chose your spouse, you actually knew exactly who they were and what they were all about before you married them. We are all equipped with an unconscious and infallible radar system that causes us to be attracted to absolutely the perfect person in the entire world for us to marry. The reason we are attracted to them is that, unknown to us, they possess the combined worst attributes of our parents. They are qualified because they are uniquely wired psychologically to be able to hurt us the most deeply, the most effectively, and the most completely. I believe that God has created a very wonderful and terrible system for reaching our walled off hearts; it is called marriage.
Basically, we are attracted to people who fit a certain psychological profile; they are the physical incarnation of our unresolved issues with our parents, people who are all about giving us the very same type and quality of love that we received as children. The mating process is driven by an instinctive drive on our part to both connect with and heal our core childhood scars. You say that you don't have any childhood issues or scars? Yes you do, or your marriage would not be in shambles at this point.
Remember I said that I would prove it to you? Here we go. Take a sheet of paper and write down the first ten or so descriptive words each that come to your mind about your father, your mother, any step-parent, any long-term serious dating relationship, previous spouses, and your current spouse. This will only work if you are able to be open and honest with yourself. Now, compare your lists. Isn't that a kicker? Most people are too close to their situations to ever see it before they see it in black and white. That controlling, critical, irresponsible, raging husband has actually just been standing in for your father of the very same qualities. If you didn't pick this spouse who hurt you in this way, you most certainly would have selected someone just like him or her. Be careful in discarding this spouse. If you don't fix your issues, you will pick the same person all over again; they'll just have a different name and a different face.
When we first meet our spouses, we are intrigued with them and attracted to them in very powerful ways. Look at your list again. That is not a coincidence. That is an immutable law of nature at work, potentially for our own good and benefit. They might look like your enemy, but your "offending" spouse is actually your best friend. They are in your life to help you to grow and heal and mature. With help you can learn to embrace the healing and the lessons that your "teacher/spouse" has for you. If people knew about this life-changing truth, the divorce rate would be drastically reduced immediately. Your spouse has not done a thing to you that you did not sign on for and cooperate with. Nobody made you select that individual and put him or her solely in charge of loving you. Of all the men or women on the planet, you picked them. That was your choice. Nobody ever married the wrong person. We create and design our lives and our marriages. In our hearts we know exactly what we are bargaining for. If both you and your spouse can make the needed changes (with the help of a skilled therapist) there is no one on the planet with whom you will be happier than with your current spouse. You had chemistry with them, you have history with them, you have children with them, and they are not your problem.
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