“I just need time to heal”

September 14, 2010

in Marriage Killer, Series

Our wounds make us selfish. This is understandable – when we are physically wounded, we become self-centred so we can heal. That is not only reasonable, it’s necessary, especially with major wounds. The problem with mental, emotional, and relational wounds is that many don’t heal properly if just left alone. It would be like not setting a broken arm or leg – when it did eventually heal “on its own” it would not be right, and would not work right. Once that happens, the only way to fix it is to re-break it and set it properly. Or, it could be like ignoring gangrene – which results in it spreading and killing more and more of the body.

Healing from serious physical wounds take more than just time – it also requires cleaning, disinfecting, setting, stitching, or some other action to be preformed. Many mental, emotional, and relational wounds are the same way – time alone will not result in a proper healing. Ignoring it, or favouring it because it hurts, might feel better, but it does not bring healing. Healing comes when the wound is acknowledged and appropriate steps are taken to do what is required for healing.

In a marriage, couples repeatedly hit their partner’s wounds, causing pain, anger, withdrawal, and so on. As I see it, it’s cruel to keep doing something that hits an old wound, HOWEVER I also see it as very wrong to refuse to deal with one’s wounds. I would not be angry at my bride if her leg was broken, and she would have a right to be upset with me if I expected her to do things that can’t be done on a broken leg. On the other hand, I would have a right to be upset if my bride refused to get her leg taken care of, and kept using it as an “excuse” to not do things that one can’t do on a broken leg. Her refusal to get her leg healed would hurt and limit her, and would limit what I could do with her. That means her choice to not heal would be harming our relationship.

When we marry, we make a commitment to be the best we can, to be healthy and functional. Refusing to get healing, of any kind, is a violation of this commitment. In my mind, it’s wrong, selfish and unloving.

If you are refusing to deal with past injuries, you are cheating your bride – STOP IT! Get serious about healing, and work diligently at it. Seek third party help as needed.

If your bride is refusing to deal with past injuries, don’t let her think that is an acceptable choice. Make it clear you think she needs to work on her injuries, just as you are working on yours. That said, you cannot dictate the speed or direction of her healing. If she is working on it, and if you do see changes for the good from time to time, praise her along the way, and realise that part your frustration with her wounds is probably a result of your own wounds. Work on your stuff while she works on her stuff.

Finally, realise that emotional, mental and relational healing take a good deal of energy. Just as healing from a physical injury happens fast when you rest, the healing of internal wounds goes better when one is not busy and stressed.  If you don’t give yourself, or your bride, enough time and room, the healing will be slow at best and very possibly won’t happen at all. If you bride’s life is already too busy, expecting her to heal is unfair. If she has significant issues to deal with, she will need the time to do it. If it’s really important to you that she get healed, you will do whatever it takes to give her the time and space required for that healing. If you won’t do that for her, then her healing must not be very important to you – no matter what you may say.

Bottom line: Needing time to heal is valid, using that as an excuse when one is not working on healing is not valid, and not supporting a spouse who is working on healing is working against the healing.

4 comments
The Generous Husband
The Generous Husband

@ Take Two - I think men are also very wounded, but because of how we are made, and how we are trained, we hid it better. It tends to make us seem healthier on the surface, but it also makes it more difficult to deal with our injuries because we deny them, and even if we admit them they are so buried we have trouble getting to them. I often see a couple where her wounds are clear to all, while his are better hidden. In such a situation the guy is often complaining about her and how she is hurting him or limiting the marraige. He is not wrong, but he is making it all or mostly about her when he is doing the same things. As to self inflicted, that's not as black and white as you might think. A lot of women who "give it up willingly" are not as willing as it seems. They feel forced by society. Even in many Christian circles the reality is those women who don't "put out" don't get many dates, and don't get repeat dates. A lot of women come to think that having sex before marriage is a necessary price to pay to get married. With many men this is reality. To me this is like a man who steals food because his family is starving and he sees no other choice. He knows it's wrong, he suffers for doing it, but he feels trapped.

Take Two
Take Two

Great topic and insight. I imagine there is much healing that needs to happen for men, but in truth, this is more relevent to women ( for those listening). They are the more fragile sex. Hopefully some people will get it. I may have said ths before, but I think the issue of self-inflicted wounds needs to be addressed specifically. We seem to understand when people are raped, or abused, since the wounds are quite obvious. It seems that many more people give their bodies up, by their own accord, and reap similar, albeit generally smaller, affects. Speaking from experience, these people are the ones who need to seek healing and not force wounds on others. These are by far the most numorous wounds and therefore need the most healing.

Eleutheros
Eleutheros

Very succinct Paul; very well said. I thought it thoughtful when John Eldridge pointed out in one of his books that Jesus asked two blind men, the same ones who cried out "Have mercy on us Son of David!"(an acknowledgement that he was the Messiah): "What do you want me to do for you?" Duh. Do you thnk Jesus was finding out if they rellly wanteed to be healed by making them ask Him for it? 'Cause before you can be healed you gotta want to be healed Let's face it, many humans like thier wounds. Oh, they will complain about them, but their wounds provide an excellent excuse for bad behaviour... including unforgiveness... and they know it. Let's be real: It's fun to hate. You can excuse a lot of unpleaseant things you do because, through hate, those many things you do can be justified by that most pernicious of all our sinful bugaboos, fairness. So, it is an act of love to seek healing from your wounds so that you can get past your past and be healthy and complete. And your right, it is selfishness to not want to be healed. And detrimental to your body and your soul, both in this age and in the age to come; for the spirit you are making in yourself now is what you will take with you into your ressurection. Therefore, be good, just as you were created to be!

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