Marital Insecurity

What causes one to feel secure or insecure within a marital or committed relationship? Security or insecurity could be based upon the quality of the relationship and individual issues such as mental health, medical, or relationship issues. Adults, like children thrive better when they feel secure and can somewhat predict their daily routine, and response to their emotional needs. When thinking about security, the quality of the relationship is also important.  Security could be based upon individual issues that each of us carry inside.  Like security, insecurity, could also be relationship based. Insecurity could be the result of mistreatment in the relationship.

Ideally, when we enter into relationships we want, crave, and expect to feel secure with our significant other. But holding our significant others accountable for our total security could be dangerous and a difficult task for them to accomplish.  Such things like infidelity, abuse, and personal baggage could promote insecurity.  Also, those who do not have a connection to God, may feel less secure.

Examine yourself within the context of your relationship, and ask yourself whether or not you feel secure.  Regardless of the answer, next ask yourself why do you feel secure or insecure.  What could you do to promote security in your relationship? What major factors lead to insecurity in relationships? The following list may be helpful,

Ways to promote Security:

  • Being open and honest
  • Being loving to your spouse
  • Being trustworthy to your spouse
  • Having a significant relationship with God
  • Taking responsibility for your own happiness

Signs of Insecurity:

  • Chronic unhappiness
  • Chronic neediness
  • Inability to control emotions
  • Low self-esteem
  • Constant critical words toward others

No Longer On The List

Who do you have on your friendship list? How did that person make it to the list? How are individuals removed from the list? Your friendship list should be sacred, only a select few allowed. Those that exemplify love, compassion, support, and time when interacting with you should be allowed into the friendship circle. There is no room in the circle for jealously, envy, and those who do not practice reciprocity (returning phone calls and texts and love). In relationships distance is sometimes needed to protect your heart and conserve your time.

What does it look like when someone is no longer on the list?

  1. No longer given priority in relation to time.
  2. No longer going the extra mile to inquire about their day.
  3. In the words of Martin Lawrence “I will see you when I see you”
  4. No longer make the first contact, they should know how to find you, if they want to.
  5. No longer put their concerns before yours.

Misguided Hatred

Quite often, the saying “hate is a wasted emotion” is used, perhaps there is some truth to this saying. Hate usually leaves the individual feeling angry and unhappy.  Dictionary.com  describes hatred as “the feeling of one who hates, intense dislike or extreme aversion or hostility.” Usually when the term hatred is used it is directed toward a specific person, place, or thing. Unfortunately, I think it is highly misused against people.  What does it really mean to hate someone? Does one have to know an individual personally in order to hate them? You would think so, but think of the numerous celebrities that are hated by the general public, most likely for unjust reasons, but yet still hated. I say unjust because how does one hate someone they do not know? The hip hop culture often use the term “he hatin on me” which carries the connotation that someone is disliked or the victim of someone else’s jealous feelings without justification.

What about unjustified hate toward a friend or family member? I often wonder how does someone claim friendship and yet hate the person at the same time?  When the term hate is so loosely used, we forget that sometime the thing that makes us so envious of others could very well be the talent or blessing that God has placed upon them. If you compare yourself to your friend, or become angry or enraged when they acquire material possessions, a new spouse, have a special talent, a raise a work etc., then be careful, because you may be hating a blessing from God. So it’s not really the person you are hating, maybe it’s the blessing, and if it’s the blessing then you run the risk of hating God.

Maybe you should take a personal inventory and examine the next time you feel hate towards someone. Ask yourself, why am I so annoyed by this person, why do I dislike this person?  Think of how unfair it is for the other person who considers you a friend. They spend time with you and share their hopes and dreams, just to have you speak ill behind their backs and to betray their confidence. How unfair for the person who looks at you as a friend, how hurtful. Maybe if you cannot be a true friend without hate or envy then you should let the friendship dissolve. What are you gaining by pretending, every time your friend comes around you feel annoyed or angry; this is your issue not your friend’s. If someone is your friend you should be able to cheer for them and all their successes and help them in times of their failure. Practicing the art of “Fake  Friendship” is a waste of time and is hurtful to the other person.  Just as hate is also a waste of time, because it usually accomplishes nothing.

Knowing When to Relinquish a Relationship

How do you know when it is time to release yourself from a relationship? When I say relationship I mean all relationships, romantic, friendship, business, and family relationships.  When do you call it quits? When is relinquishing a relationship for the best, and when is it considered being a quitter because it’s too hard? It may be a good idea to end a relationship, if you have tried to make things better by communicating with the other person, you tried being flexible and compromising, you have humbled yourself and did not allow your pride to rule your decision-making. Perhaps you are not producing or receiving anything good from the relationship, maybe the relationship is one-sided, you give and the other person takes.  Eventually you will grow tired of giving that you become depleted. How many times must you apologize, choose to quiet your voice, or overlook hurtful words or actions.  

Why would one choose to stay in such a relationship state? Perhaps it is something that you learned early on in life, maybe this is the sort of relationship that you had with your parents or siblings, and you think that this is how relationships are supposed to be.  Maybe, you don’t think you deserve better. You think love or relationships consist of you pursuing and the other party or individual running and mistreating you.  Somewhere on your relationship DNA you were fooled into thinking that this sort of one-sided relationship is good, but deep down you know it is not right.  At what point do you value yourself enough to relinquish the past and walk toward something new and rewarding?

Perhaps, it is time to stop making excuses, and start making healthy choices that will allow you to prosper and grow as an individual. Perhaps, it is time to receive some of the love that you constantly share with others. Maybe, just maybe, every relationship is not worth saving. So, how do you know when it is time to move on to new endeavors and relationships? Here are some helpful hints:

  1. If you are in a one-sided relationship, constantly giving but never receiving.
  2. If your relationship is not producing any income, mutual learning, or emotional connection.
  3. If you are constantly second guessing yourself, trying to figure out how to make the other person happy, but in reality there is no making them happy, because they could care less about you.
  4. If you are being physically, emotionally, or verbally abused or financially depleted/manipulated.
  5. If you are not being appreciated.
  6. If you are dispensable to the other person, they really don’t care if you live or die, show up or cancel, call or don’t call.
  7. If you have given a good faith effort, and still there has been no change.
  8. If you are emotionally, financially, or intellectually depleted (there is simply nothing left).
  9. If you are not learning, prospering, or changing for the better.
  10. If the current relationship is hindering you from new relationships and opportunities.

Moving On After Infidelity

Infidelity is often a touchy subject, unfortunately a common factor in marital relationships.  Many couples seek counseling after an incident of infidelity, which is very helpful for couples looking for clarity, guidance, and coping skills.  After the act of infidelity has been committed, the question becomes how does one move past the hurt and anger if the decision has been  made to continue the relationship.  

If the decision has been made to continue the relationship, then certain rules should be implemented and certain actions taken. 

  1. A qualified professional counselor or marriage and family therapist should be sought out to assist with developing communication skills and to act as a mediator.
  2. Couples should re-establish relationship rules and expectations, such as the importance of fidelity and deal breakers in the relationship.
  3. Clarify whether the infidelity was a one time incident or whether it was part of a pattern of questionable and negative behaviors.  If there is a pattern of infidelity, then one should be cautious because patterns demonstrate serious character flaws, that may require intense psychotherapy and spiritual guidance.
  4. The individual who committed the infidelity has to become transparent and willing to share openly such things as emails, text messages etc. for a limited time until the other party in the relationship feels as though nothing is being hidden (people who have nothing to hide will not object or complain about privacy violations).
  5. The art and act of forgiveness has to be practiced and implemented, it is not fair to continue a relationship and use past infidelity to berate and torture your spouse on a daily basis.
  6. When working with the professional counselor or marriage and family therapist the couple should explore what acts or behaviors led to the infidelity: in other words, did both parties work hard at providing a loving and caring environment, full of sex, dating, caring actions, quality time, and special moments?. Usually there was some sort of lack in one of the above areas that possibly led to the infidelity, both parties have to take responsibility for not taking care of the relationship, unless one member of the party is a chronic adulterer which again leads to ingrained character flaws that should be addressed with long-term psychotherapy.
  7. The couple should seek medical attention to check for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI), and should begin practicing safe sex until trust has been re-established and both parties are STI free. 
  8. Prayer and spiritual guidance is imperative, the couple should consult their pastor or other spiritual advisor and use bible based scriptures to learn and implement God’s idea of marriage and love.
  9. Boundary making should be implemented into the relationship, careful consideration should be given in establishing appropriate boundaries, the couple should be careful that outsiders are not allowed into the relationship.  This includes family and friends who could compromise the integrity of the relationship by offering negative advice and unwanted interference. 

“The Marital Misconception”

Often I hear individuals and couples state that they are not happy in their relationships, and divorce becomes a quick remedy to problems that are often deep seeded. I’m starting to think that the idea of marriage is entered into under a misconception. There are many valid reasons for divorce such as abuse and addiction, but, my concern is that marriages cannot survive a minimum of five years in many cases. Where are the communication and problem solving skills that were once used to maintain long-lasting marriages? What sort of happiness are those who have short-lived marriages looking for? I am a firm believer that your spouse cannot be the source of your happiness. Perhaps more time should be spent creating happiness before marriage, and developing a relationship with God; which is where I believe true happiness originates.

The misconception comes from the idea that everyday spent married will be full of happiness and joy, and there will never be any conflict or sorrow. Wrong, marriage is a 24/7 job responsibility, it takes a considerable amount of work. There are many cycles in marriage such as adding children, growing older, children leaving the home, retiring, and loosing parents to illness and other reasons. The Family Cycle requires understanding, maturity, dedication, a relationship with God, and a certain level of selflessness.

What misconceptions have you created in your marriage? How have these misconceptions affected your marriage?

Past Baggage

It should have been the happiest day of her life, she had just met a man who she really cared for and she felt cared for her. He had taken on the responsibility of not only becoming a husband but also a step-father. She just couldn’t understand why she was not feeling what her friends had described, her happiness didn’t seem to last very long for, the feeling of being on top of the world and having stars in her eyes because she had just said those two magical words “I Do”

For some reason there seemed to be more sad times than happy, how could that be, she was a newlywed, he seemed kind and loving, but that wasn’t enough. All she could think about was the fear that she was living in because of the pain, abuse, and betrayal she had experienced in past relationships. This time was different, she was not going to let another man mistreat or hurt her, in her mind she would strike first before allowing him to inflict new pain into her already hurting heart. She knew that she was in love, but it just seemed to good to be true, when he was talking to his friends on the phone or Facebook, was it really his friends or was it past girlfriends, potential girlfriends, or someone he was fooling around with? She fought with the voices in her own head that constantly told her that all men are dogs, he will hurt you or leave you just like your ex and just like your good for nothing father. The sound of his cell phone sent her into a fury of anger and jealously, “I know he is up to something” but with who, and why, I thought he loved me.

Because of the paranoia she was experiencing she began to withdraw, accuse her husband of infidelity, engaged in destructive conflict, and spent may hours waddling in anger and pain.

Why was she so angry? This is a common scenario, that consist of insecurity, past abuse, mental health issues, and broken family of origin ties. It is difficult to trust and forgive those who have caused pain, but at some point every individual has to decide to choose life or choose death. Meaning that if the individual chooses to wallow in the pain of the past then they are not choosing growth, happiness, and healing. Choosing life means working through past abuse and pain, whether it be with a spiritual advisor or with a mental health professional. The goal is to live life to the fullest, to embrace its challenges and all the love that is offered. Living in the past breeds more pain, insecurity, and negativity. The term baggage is often used to described the above scenario which is the inability to move past prior hurt, abuse, and betrayal. The reality is that living in the past robs not only the victim of the abuse, but also their spouse and children of the incredible person that God has created, past baggage weighs heavy on individual shoulders.

In marriage especially, past baggage may cause destruction because the idea of marriage is built upon trust. Carrying baggage from the past may make it difficult to engage in a relationship based on trust. In the scenario above, the wife is choosing a destructive path that may result in divorce, separation, or a life of pain. How can you help someone who is living with baggage from the past?

Tips for loving someone with past baggage:

1. God has to be first in the relationship, prayer is often useful in learning how to remain in peace during life’s trials. Dealing with someone in pain takes patience and love.

2. Abandonment cannot be an option, set boundaries with your mate regarding conflict.

3. There should be established rules for fighting (not in front of children, time limited, no name calling) in other words learn how to fight constructively.

4. Consult a professional counselor to process problems or your local pastor. Be careful that you don’t break the covenant by consulting with non professionals. If your mate is unwilling to participate in couples counseling, seeking individual therapy for yourself may be helpful as well. A good therapist can assist an individual clients from a couples/family perspective.

 

Tips for those carrying past relationship baggage:

1. Awareness that your mate’s patience may eventually run out and your lack of emotional control could lead to isolation or divorce.

2. Consult a Professional Counselor to work out problems in individual therapy.

3. Choose words carefully, don’t accuse, don’t intentionally start arguments.

4. Take responsibility for your own behaviors and emotions, acknowledge that your behaviors are unhealthy and choose LIFE by seeking help from qualified professionals.

5. Develop a relationship with GOD, not religion just a relationship, meditate on healing scriptures. Your bible should become your best friend. If you have children, remember that they are watching your behavior; this should be your motivation for change.

 

What baggage are you carrying from the past to your present relationships? Share your thoughts!

The Two Handed Circle

Marriage is a sacred entity that should be led by the husband and wife, solely. It is my experience that couples should only consult outside sources rarely and only in dire situations when experiencing conflict. Some of the most common mistakes that married couples make is allowing others to enter the marital covenant that they have created with God. For instance, wives often consult their mothers and friends about their marital difficulty or concerns. This is not a good idea and it breaks the covenant between the couple and God. The covenant is a contract between three parties husband, wife, and God. When couples open the door they allow others opinions, past baggage and gossip to interfere in their relationships.

Couples must realize that when they vent to friends and family about their spouse, they risk damaging the relationship between their spouse and others. For example, if a couple has a fight and the husband confides in his mother, disclosing all the intimate details of the fight, the mother in-law may now harbor resentment toward the wife because she feels the need to protect her son. Couples have to remember the very idea of marriage is that adults leave their parents and cleave to their spouse, this cannot be accomplished if the covenant is constantly broken. In the above example, what usually happens is that the husband and wife resolve their conflict, but the mother in-law does not know that the conflict has been resolved and continue to harbor ill feelings. Couples will experience many fights and many make up sessions as well; therefore consulting outside sources becomes pointless.

So, how do you prevent others from entering your marital covenant? Here are some helpful tips:

1. Communication: have early conversations with your mate before marriage about the importance of the  covenant

2. Plan: establish a neutral party such as a pastor or Marriage and Family Therapist to consult when  times are difficult. Participate in Pre-Marital Counseling

3. Consequences: process and plan for the consequences of allowing others into the covenant, like  weakening the relationship between your spouse and your parents, if personal information is shared  regarding the marital relationship such as fiances, sex, employment difficulties, or fidelity problems

4. Skills: develop coping skills for handling conflict

5. Advice: only listen to advice from couples in healthy long lasting relationships, listen to advice without  disclosing personal information about your relationship

Consequences of Breaking the Covenant:

1. Couples lack the ability to develop their own coping skills

2. Somebody in the relationship feels betrayed

3. Couples diminish their authority and role as self sufficient adults when dealing with parents

Share you thoughts on ways you can keep your marital covenant protected.