Is she leaving a healthy relationship?
I do what I do because the thought of more women continuing to believe they are having routine marriage problems when they are not is crushing to me.
My one goal is to offer clarity to that individual who believes her hard is a typical day of marriage and to support those who acted upon the real truth and paid the price for it (because many churches prefer abuse to divorce.)
Some of my goals are somewhat problematic to some who feel that in the process of encouraging suffering spouses, I (and other anti-abuse and pro-healthy-relationship advocates) will discourage people undergoing normal marriage issues, and they’ll give just up. Read Are My Relationship Problems Normal? 11 Signs They Are Not
My thought process might seem on the extreme, but it is where I am at: if a woman leaves her overall decent guy because they are experiencing normal-but-complex marriage issues, 1) that’s not the worst thing that can happen to a person: a worse thing would be the opposite – staying in a harmful marriage, thinking it’s normal 2) if you leave an overall goodhearted person who is struggling with solvable issues, the chances are that your exit will not be hell in terms of your future hopes and safety.
What I’m saying is that it’s growing on me to not be terrified by the idea that someone who just needs a few skills to work through things will instead give up because of something I wrote rather than work it out with their spouse.
I’m okay with that because I care more about peace and safety, and wholeness.
I’m fine because, if I have to choose, I’d rather someone in a stressful but normal marriage give up (sad and painful, not diminishing that) than someone in a stressful and abnormal marriage stays with zero clarity, no options, no support, no awareness they are loved and have options.
At the end of the day, and even though I absolutely love marriage (I’m married to a great guy), I don’t see marriage as the be-all and end-all. It’s beautiful and life-giving and amazing when it’s healthy. But it’s not everything.
If someone leaves a marriage they shouldn’t have left, it’s sad. Truly. But it’s not the end of the world. If someone stays (or lacks clarity) in a marriage that’s sucking the life out of them; it might be the end of the world for them. Emotionally, mentally, socially, spiritually, physically, financially.
To me, the latter is more dire.
I don’t have all the answers. And I get it wrong sometimes (I got it wrong for a long time), but on this side of things, I’m doing my best to be more clear in my communication, so there’s less confusion.
But there’s still a chance individuals experiencing normal marriage issues, who are married to overall decent human beings who need skill and equipping to work through interpersonal growth-related issues, (Vs. oppressive, entitled, manipulative, irresponsible, character patterns) will feel disheartened and label their marriage too far gone when it’s healable. They might have a poor assessment of their relationship and struggle to put in the work.
Is She Leaving a Healthy Relationship?
Here’s the thing, though.
I don’t think many Christian women will run out of healthy marriages experiencing normal marriage issues. Divorce is not the first thing women think about. However long the issues last, many spouse-honoring, God-fearing mates stick it out.
And the hope is that as the overall decent couple get the skills they need, as they strategize and execute, and as they mature and grow, they begin to see some positive momentum.
But also, all the stirring of the marriage nest is causing women who are experiencing normal-not-necessarily-acceptable-marriage issues to quit accepting stuff the church told them they must accept.
Christian wives are embracing the truth that God loves them as much as He loves their husbands.
They are starting to believe (or being affirmed in the belief) that marriage shouldn’t signal the ending or diminishing of dignity, honor, respect, or joy. Marriage should not strip anyone of voice or agency.
Women are embracing the fact that they are loved by God, and marriage does not change their identity in Him. They are not subordinates or “little helpers” to men. They are sinking into the truth that a husband has not been appointed by God to call all the shots and receive unilateral “respect” (He’s not “the head,” btw.)
Women are getting the clarity that they are neither moms nor saviors to their spouses. That they are partners and that submission thing? It goes both ways.
So I’m going to continue erring on the side of safety, maturity, and growth. I’m going to continue adding my voice to the chorus of women (and some good men) who have been speaking about this for years.
And as our collective voices vibrate through this generation, we’re uprooting and unhinging some things in the Christian marriage world and making a better world for the coming generation.
No more settling. No more playing second. Just elevating mutual, loving, happy, respectful, honoring marriages and calling out marriages that are opposite of that. It’s not too much to expect, if you ask me.
Leaving a Healthy Relationship:
Ps: My goal isn’t to get wives to leave marriage. (That’s not even a viable option for many.) My hope is to educate on what a good healthy marriage is and is not. I want spouses to know they have options. And I want people of goodwill to escape the trap I was in and become avid supporters of the wounded and require more from harmful people.
Unholy Fruit | Your WILD Guide to Discerning Toxic Character | Workshop
Are you in a chronically problematic marriage? Or perhaps you know someone who is and you desire to support them. In this Workshop and Checklist (affiliate link), abuse recovery coach Sarah McDugal empowers your ability to discern the Fruit of an UNholy spirit.If you have felt confused by the dissonance between someone’s pious words and their exploitative actions, this workshop offers clarity and some possible next steps in your healing journey. Access Now.