Sunday, February 03, 2008

Why marriages Fail .... Why do churches truly address this?

Posted by Hannah at 11:15 AM

Why Marriages Fail Link

I found an interesting article recently about a study that was done about couples starting even before they married, and then followed up with them a number of times within the years of the relationship.

If first spoke about Escalation, and how disagreements are handled.

You may be thinking, "we don't fight like cats and dogs." And while that may be true, your marriage may still have this risk factor. Damaging escalation is not always dramatic. Voices do not have to be raised for couples to get into a cycle of returning negative for negative. Conflict over paying the rent, taking out the garbage, running errands that result in muttering to oneself, rolling your eyes, or throwing up your hands can also be examples of escalation.

Couples who escalate arguments must control their emotions and control their tongues. James writes, "If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless" (James 1:26). Couples who want a strong marriage must learn to counteract the tendency to escalate as a couple. The key to a strong and stable marriage is learning to control your emotions and learning how to keep a rein on your tongue.

I think alot of people downplay the power of the tongue, and also the mention of the body languange that the author speaks of. Its often returned with, 'what did you do to make that this happen?" Scripture doesn't push this idea, but humans often do. We tend to focus to much on this, and not enough on how neither party should be doing this.....and if they do it needs to be addressed. The returned statement of, "We only have heard one side" is another excuse NOT to deal!

Its so strange to me when you see a wife or husband coming to the church with concerns about escalation, and them standing back in shock and not truly knowing WHAT to do....and the responses they get! Maybe they didn't feel honored or loved enough because something you did in the past! Maybe it was the WAY you said it! Did you request this in the right tone? Its as if people can't grasp that people can just DO THIS without motive and intent! There must have been SOMETHING you did to push the buttons!

On the one hand you have them dealing with someone that can't fight fair (for lack of a better word), and you have the church questioning what you may have DONE to allow this to happen!

Invalidation is another factor.

Jesus taught that attacks on the character of another person are sinful and harmful. "But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell" (Matt. 5:22). Calling a person worthless or empty-headed (which is what the Aramaic term raca means) is not what a Christian should do.

Invalidation can also be much more subtle. It may involve an argument where contempt for the other partner is not so obvious. One partner may merely be putting the other partner down for his or her feelings. The message conveyed is that your feelings do not matter. A husband may put his wife down because she is more emotional or because she is more easily hurt by comments. A husband may invalidate a wife's fears about the children's safety. A wife may invalidate a husband's desire to succeed in the company, saying that it really doesn't matter if he becomes district manager. Ultimately the partner receiving these comments begins to share less and less so that the intimate level of sharing evaporates. When this happens, oneness is lost.

Alot of advice that people are given when victims of this type of behavior also invalidates their feelings. GIVE IT TO THE LORD, and don't worry about them! You need to concentrate on you, because you can't change the person. All kinds of things are said to NOT face the fact that their actions, deeds and words are sinful. Mininizing people's experiences, and basically telling them to "get over it" in a nutshell.

They are invalidated from both arenas - from the home and the church. People refuse to grasp why that sends people reeling! If it causes a rift within the relationship, and the support system also refusing to acknowledge it...and when we know that is damaging....I mean WOW!

Negative Interpretations

Another kind of negative interpretation is mind reading. "Mind reading occurs when you assume you know what your partner is thinking or why he or she did something." Nearly everyone is guilty of mind reading at some time or other. And when you mind read positively, it does not tend to do much harm. But when you mind read on the negative side, it can spell trouble for a marriage.

Paul warned against attempting to judge the thoughts and motives of others (1 Cor. 4:5). And Jesus asked, "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" (Luke 6:41).
Negative interpretations are hard to detect and counteract. Research shows that in distressed marriages there is a tendency for partners to discount the positive things they see, attributing them to causes such as chance rather than to positive characteristics of the partner. That is why negative interpretations do not change easily

I think almost anyone can be guilty of this at one time or another, but its when do this as a habit is when you get yourself into trouble.

Most people are asked to STOP doing whatever it is that bothers their partner so much so they don't HAVE these negative thoughts - doesn't matter if it is unrealistic or even irrational! Do what you can to counteract this, and maybe dont' go out with your friends if you partner gets jeolous! Normally, abusers that have unrealistic views and also use this concept to keep the partner down. The church tells them to do without, and again never really addresses the core. Partner tells them do this as a control tactic.

Supporters can be enablers in other words. Enablers of bad behavior.

Withdrawal and Avoidance

Escalation, invalidation, and negative interpretations are three of the four negative risk factors identified by researchers at the University of Denver. The last of these has two descriptors: withdrawal and avoidance. These are two different manifestations of the problem wherein a partner is unwilling to get in or stay in a discussion that is too threatening.

"Withdrawal can be as obvious as getting up and leaving the room or as subtle as 'turning off' or 'shutting down' during an argument. The withdrawer often tends to get quiet during an argument, look away, or agree quickly to a partner's suggestion just to end the conversation, with no real intention of following through."{4}

"Avoidance reflects the same reluctance to get into certain discussions, with more emphasis on the attempt to not let the conversation happen in the first place. A person prone to avoidance would prefer that the topic not come up and, if it does, may manifest the signs of withdrawal just described."{5}

In the article the author used an example of a man that withdraws from a conflict with his wife, because basically she is unsafe to continue with.

This is true for everyone in life - whether it be a boss, coworker, friend, family member, child or spouse.

I have seen signs of this in dicussion with others, and they were basically told WHY don't you just go to them, and TELL them how you feel! WHen they do and are raged upon, and then they are then asked if they requested this in a proper manner. The deal is most people that act like this are doing it for a purpose! They want the person to HUSH, and can find ways of making this happen very well. Sadly, on the other hand tell the partner they have communications issues because they never talk to them. LOL When the partner says that the supporters say - SEE THEY ARE TRYING! don't be so demanding!

The conclusion:

Each of these four risk factors (escalation, invalidation, negative interpretations, and withdrawal and avoidance) can build barriers in a marriage leading ultimately to loneliness and isolation. The research shows that couples that want a good marriage need to eliminate these risk factors from their marriage, or else the negative factors will overwhelm the positive aspects of the marriage. It is never too late to put your marriage back on track.

I think we can all agree that would awesome! The problem is that most people don't want to address any of these factors in any real way. They pussyfoot around them with "What ifs" from the party that is hurting. The strange part I find is YES I do agree with alot of what the article states, but when hurting parties come to their church for help........the church basically does this again to them - I also see them doing the characteristics of this article. Tell them they might fight wrong, make to make conclusions, must have a communication issue, and YES please mininize the damage from their words! TAKE IT TO THE LORD, and allow him to handle things!

Now if we can find ways of addressing things that are proven in the research then maybe we can make some headway in healing marriages. That would mean people need to take their heads of the sand, and be direct like Jesus was. NOT continue to find ways of blaming the person that is asking for help. Nothing wrong with looking towards yourself, and being more Christlike okay? When you place MOST of the load on the hurting party....well that is where the trouble gets started once again.

Its a good read and I recommend you read it in its entire form! The link is at the top of the article!

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