We have witnessed horrible brokenness in marriage over the years. In our full day Marriage Intensive, we sit with a couple as they share their brokenness.
Most of the time, we are unable to deal with the brokenness that brings them into our office until we work through some of the brokenness from the past. The affair, financial mistrust, lack of passion and love, and hurtful language and actions are frequently the results of some wounding much earlier in life that has been carried into the marriage.
It is usually not difficult to find. As the story of how they got into the mess they are in is told, we will witness strong emotional responses. And in those moments, we help the individual spouse discover and name what the meaning is for them behind the emotion. Frequently the wounded places end up with a message like:
- I don’t matter.
- I’m not good enough.
- I don’t love well.
- I’m unworthy.
- I’m defective.
- I’m unlovable.
- I’m not desirable.
- I don’t have what it takes.
If we follow their feeling of that meaning back in time, we are usually able to find a “scene” of an original wounding. In other words, we are able to learn where they first felt that specific feeling and picked up that specific meaning. We believe that in that wounding place, usually given unintentionally by a parent, authority figure, older sibling, peers or abuser, that Satan has given them a lie about who they are. As they experience life, they believe the lie and interpret life events around it.
Turning Wounds Into Scars
Imagine receiving a flesh wound in your thigh that missed all the major veins and arteries. It would hurt if you stuck your finger in it. But touching your lower leg or hip probably would not carry much pain, if any at all.
If you did not tend to it, it is likely that in the coming months it might become infected. It would hurt if you stuck your finger in it. And it would also hurt if you touched your lower leg or hip because it is highly likely the infection would spread.
In order to stop the infection, eliminate the pain and heal it up, it will take enduring pain for a little while. In fact, the wound management professionals will tell you that sometimes they have to take some of the good live cells in order to make sure they get all the wounded infected cells out of out bodies.
When it is healed up, what is left is a scar. The scar reminds us that it happened, but scars don’t hurt when we touch them (except if there has been nerve damage and the pain is mild compared to the original pain). And it no longer hurts when someone touches around the scar.
The Emotional Wound Parallel
Likewise, old emotional wounds, left untended, will usually get infected. When someone gets close to that old wound, it hurts. Sometimes it hurts with all the intensity of the original wound. Over time, events that happen that do not appear to be anywhere close to that old wound turn out to be painful.
In a marriage, we blame our spouse who is the person who has the greatest opportunities to accidentally and unintentionally touch our wounded places. We believe our spouse doesn’t love us, doesn’t respect us, thinks we are of no value, etc. when in fact it is our old wound (the lie from Satan) that is tainting our interpretation of the situation.
In order to get that old emotional wound cleaned out, it usually involves some really hard and painful work back at “the scene of the crime” where the wound was originally given.
Healing Old Wounds Is Vital For Your Marriage
The more wounds we carry into our marriage, the greater the opportunities for our spouse to “touch” our wounded places and cause us pain. Most of the time, our spouses learn about our wounds accidentally and unintentionally when they hurt us.
If we want to create a lifelong marriage, one of the most important things we can do is to work on our wounds. Get with a minister, Christian counselor or coach and do your important individual healing so that you can bring a full and complete, whole self to your marriage relationship. If you work on it and get healing, you will notice that your spouse hurts you less and that you have less emotional pain in your marriage.
What Do You Have To Say?
We always love to hear from our readers. Do you find the emotional wound analogy to be true for you and most people you know? If you had a friend who needed to get some healing in an emotional place in their life, who would you send them to?
This article was written by Roy and Devra Wooten, authors of “The Secret to a Lifetime Love”. Learn more at www.LifeTogetherForever.com © Roy and Devra Wooten 2015. All Rights Reserved. You may replicate this article as long as it is provided free to recipients and includes appropriate attribution. Written permission for other use may be obtained at Secret@LifeTogetherForever.com.