What Do I Do When I Have Done Everything?
I thought I was finished blogging today but after reading and responding to another writers blog on this very subject, I wanted so share my perspective.
I hope this perspective will help some of you who are wondering what to do next if you are in a difficult if not abusive relationship.
Although I would be cautious in advising divorce except in the case of abuse of any kind, verbal, physical, emotional or sexual, problems that lead to divorce can just not simply be swept under the rug nor does telling people to “pray for them and stick with it” work 100% of the time either.
I will put this plainly, we (men or women) don’t deserve a jerk, particularly if we have done everything in our power to be loving and helpful. In other words, we don’t deserve that abuse and many times that is exactly what it is.
Being a jerk is something someone wants to do and staying with a jerk is a choice. There is also a thing called boundaries and there are healthy ones and unhealthy ones. Continually putting up with an unkind person because you are afraid to leave, feel like you need to be sweet all the time, or being co-dependent on them is not the way to live, trust me, I lived that way with my late husband for more than a year. It didn’t work. Yes I loved him but he didn’t want to change and he was abusive. I did everything I could to change him and guess what, I couldn't change him, I could only change myself.
In the end, I learned he was very ill and could only do what he could do. He eventually committed suicide. I don’t hold that against him and I have forgiven him. What I learned from this life experience is simply this, I wasn’t responsible for his decisions or actions, only my own. Nor was I responsible for his happiness or wholeness. I believe many times when someone acts this way (like a jerk or abusive), they believe that someone else is responsible for them – their happiness, their security, everything.
The fact of the matter is what I have mentioned above won't work in a marriage. A marriage won’t survive this type of person if they won’t change and let God help them, trust me I lived with such a person and I finally for my sanity and safety I had to leave. There are times you have to make a decision for your sanity and for your children’s sake if you have them – after all what children see dad or mom do they will think is normal for their future relationships as well. No doubt my husband saw such behavior modeled to him as a child.
The bottom line is it takes two to make something work and if one is unwilling to do that and/or unwilling to let God work on them well then you hit a stale mat. At this point, you have to choose with much prayer and wisdom, what is best for you (and your children if you have them), not best for the abusive partner. It’s not easy and it hurts, However, it’s better than being with someone who seriously hurts you over and over again and is not sorry nor repenting for what they do.
I am praying about marriage again but I will be honest, I am not in a hurry. I hope you see where I come from and where so many men and women come from as well. A great marriage or a relationship is a blessing and should not be taken lightly and I am thankful for all of you who have great God-centered marriages. I hope to have one in the future myself.
Just being real,
*I discuss more of my experience in my book, The Road Less Traveled: A Story of Love, Hope, Pain and Everything In Between. You can find it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes and Audible.com and Kobo.com or the Kobo app.
*If you want a good discussion on boundaries, please see the Boundaries series by Dr. John Townsend and Dr. Henry Cloud – they are both practical and Biblical and offer sound advice on relationships of all kinds. I have learned much from them.