🚫 Why we reject good from our mate

Dec 11, 2020 9:29 pm

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Reading Time: 2 mins, 50 secs



It's so weird.


We can hope and pray for the longest time that our spouse will make a change we need and/or desire.


While we're waiting, we develop a certain way of being to cope with the situation.


Slowly (or suddenly), our mate makes the desired change, and we find that our way of being no longer works. In fact, we discover that it's directly opposed to what we truly want.


For example, maybe you've been wanting your spouse to be more affectionate, but each time you pursue him/her, you're met with resistance. As far as you're concerned, it feels like flat out rejection.


To cope, your new way of being is to prohibit yourself from pursuing your mate. You figure if you don't pursue, you can't be rejected. At the same time, you develop a resistance to anything that looks, smells, or feels like pursuit from your mate.


But, what happens when your mate hears and starts acting on your request for affection? What happens when he/she is intentional about a new way of being and begins responding to your needs and/or desires?


Amazingly, your new way of being actually sabotages your mate's efforts.


The resistance you used as a coping mechanism to block pain becomes the number one reason for your mate to go back to his/her old way of being. Understandably, your mate doesn't want to feel rejected, so the pursuit stops.


Like I said at the beginning, it's weird.


So, how in the world do you get out of this mess?


There's work to be done on both sides.


For the spouse putting forth the effort:


  • Feel GREAT about hearing and responding to your spouse's needs and desires.


  • Recognize that the resistance you feel from your mate is part of his/her defense system. While your mate may have initially resisted your pursuit intentionally, the resistance may now be on autopilot. It may simply be an involuntary, yet destructive, way of being.


  • Understand the dynamics of the cycle. If you fall prey to the cycle rather than overcoming it, you'll go back to your old way of being, which is to not meet your mate's needs and/or desires.


  • Be honest with your mate how his/her resistance to your attempts feels (share this email with him/her).


  • Decide to not be held captive to the brokenness you've had to overcome to make new strides.


  • Continue in your new way of being, and let your spouse know you're being intentional and authentic in your attempts.



  • Don't lose sight of why you're doing good in the first place: to make your marriage better. It's not easy, and it's the road less traveled. But, it's worth it.


  • If necessary, see a counselor or therapist for help.



For the spouse resisting the new effort:


  • Recognize that your mate is doing exactly what you've been praying and asking: seeking to meet your needs and/or desires.


  • Recognize that the same rejection you felt in the past is what your mate will feel/feels as a result of you resisting his/her attempts.


  • Understand the dynamics of the cycle. If you fall prey to the cycle rather than overcoming it, you'll cause your mate to go back to his/her old way of being, which means your needs/desires will not be met. This will in turn encourage you to strengthen your defense and coping mechanisms.


  • Let your mate know that you appreciate his/her attempts, and you're not blocking them just to be difficult (share this email with him/her).


  • Decide that you'd rather pursue the discomfort and newness of freedom than to stay in the shackles and comfort of the brokenness you've known.


  • Develop and practice a new way of being. Let your spouse know while you may struggle to receive his/her attempts, you're going to intentionally try to let him/her into the place of hurt you've guarded for so long.


  • Ask God to heal your brokenness so that you can receive his -- and your mate's -- love.


  • Don't lose sight of why your mate is making attempts. He/she is doing it from love, and wants to make your marriage better.


  • If necessary, see a counselor or therapist for help.


If you're either spouse in this scenario, I'm praying for you.


I can also relate.


I write this email as the spouse who is unintentionally resisting his mate's attempts.


God will help us.


Kevin


ps - Thanks for trying, Cetelia. I love you, and I'm praying for God to heal my brokenness so I can receive your love.


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