There’s a new Disney movie coming out called, “Tangled.” It’s based on the story of Rapunzel who was exiled to a high tower where no one could rescue her except a persistent and resourceful prince.
I feel like many times when we find ourselves in a messy marriage we become very much like Rapunzel. However, it is not an evil queen who has exiled us to a solitary fate. It is our anger and resentment that we have allowed to accumulate like bricks spiraling up into a tower of alienation and escape.
I know that is how I operated. Every time Gary, my husband, would say something to me that I felt was hurtful, I walled him out. He could feel this, and in turn, he would try to bust down my wall. But this only made me want to build my wall higher and higher.
So what do you do with the anger that you feel toward your spouse? Obviously, you cannot or should not withdraw into your tower . . . or bedroom or shopping or work or drinking or pornography. Need I go on?
And you cannot blast away at the walls either, like my husband tried to do. If either partner are aggressive about their anger, it only builds the walls higher.
Instead, you must begin by grieving the hurts that your spouse has committed against you, if you ever hope to release them. This does not, however, mean throwing yourself a pity party.
It does mean, being very much like a doctor when he looks at a wound. A doctor doesn’t just slap a bandage on it and hand you a bill. He checks to see what you were wounded with in order to understand what he’s dealing with. He then inspects the type of damage that was done. He cleans the wound. He applies the right kind of medications, then and only then, would he apply a bandage.
Consider the hurts you’ve experienced. Like the doctor, take time to assess the damage done to you. Begin by prayerfully writing out your answers to the following questions:
- What are the specific hurtful words and deeds my spouse has committed against me?
- What are the painful and negative consequences I’ve experienced due to the hurt?
Find a private time and place to fully engage with the pain of each offense that was committed against you. Don’t hold back the tears. Let the wave of grief crash over you. Seek God’s comfort during this time.
Imagine your offender and the offenses he/she committed against you, then lift that person and those offenses up to God. Place them on the “altar” of your heart. Surrender the hurts. Surrender your offender. And even, surrender your attempts to fix or fight your offender to God. Trust God to be your defender and thank him for his protection and care.
Once you’ve grieved the pain and released it to God, there’s more work to be done. I will be sharing more about that process in posts to come. So stay tuned!
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