To Have and To Hold: A Broken Marriage
Dear one, this is for you.
Looking back over the years, maybe decades, you observe the rubble that was your marriage. You are searching for the treasure, but all you see are broken pieces of what could have been beautiful.
To have and to hold, to love and to cherish. You promised these things, and you did them. Now you are seeing that he didn’t, and you are seeing that he didn’t even intend to do them. He was bargaining for a wife, someone to make his meals and clean his home and attend to his needs. You don’t know whether to feel humiliated or furious. You will have times of both. Hang onto your anger for a time; you will need it.
All that I write is for you. I have been where you are and it is an awful place, but now I see that there was light and grace there too. There is light in the truth.
As a starting point, I have written 10 ways to move towards healing after the realization of a marriage destroyed by abuse:
- Your marriage is over. It is completely and utterly broken from the inside out, shattered beyond repair. If you decide to rebuild with him, you will need a new marriage, one based on mutuality and freedom.
- There is nothing you did or didn’t do to cause him to treat you this way. If you would have been perfect, he still would have abused you.
- You have been neglecting your true thoughts, feelings and needs for a very long time. Your work will be to start getting to know yourself again. Be kind to the woman inside you; she has been through a lot.
- You cannot save or fix anybody else. No matter how much you love or sacrifice for someone, their recovery is their responsibility.
- There is no great tally board in heaven where you get points for being mistreated. God is not calling you to be abused, and His heart is for you and your freedom and peace.
- The abuse is intentional. It is no accident that his behavior is only targeted at you or that you have explained this to him over and over with no change. He doesn’t stop abusing because he doesn’t want to. People do what they want to do.
- I know you have stayed for a long time because you love him and want his good. The best way to help him is to set boundaries and follow through on consequences so he can experience some losses. Right now, his awful behavior is working for him. He needs to experience the consequences of his choices so he will have motivation to do something different.
- Safety first. It is always valid to seek safety (physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially) for you and your children. It is almost impossible to heal without safety.
- There are people that want you to believe that you don’t have options. But you do. You do have options, and your safety and sanity are worth looking into those options.
- You are worthy. You are worthy to occupy space in this life. When you are your best self, we all are blessed by the change you make in this world.
If you are wondering if you are experiencing emotional abuse in your relationship, here is a great video describing abuse.
Please share your story in the comments for others to hear. We heal through telling our story and lifting up others. Please subscribe to my blog, and you will get an email when I have a new post. (No spam, I promise)