Marital Storytelling

Relationships are built on emotional connection that comes through understanding of each other’s hopes, and dreams, and sources of deep brokenness. Most couples only get two out of three right. 

Marital Storytelling

As married couples we all have a story to tell, our love story – when, how, where we met and all the fascinating details and circumstances surrounding us becoming a couple in love and eventually united in marriage. But before that wonderful story we had long-lived as a young adult, student, teenager, young child and baby in the home of our parents or guardians.

How does that story play into our new-found love story? How were we shaped by our upbringing to be the people we are today, particularly as two unique individuals with a past coming together in holy matrimony?

Dating Scene
Remember the dating scene, or perhaps you’re living through it, when there’s the excitement of getting to know another person, their history, background, likes and dislikes? There’s an enhanced attraction when one encounters another with whom he or she can share openly and easily one’s hopes, dreams, ideas and plans, as well as tales of family and upbringing. There’s a certain degree of comfort and safety and true emotional connection when we tell and share our personal stories.

This is how hearts bond and get sealed. Love blossoms from roots of emotional connection.

But there’s often a missing element to emerging relationships. There’s often continued lagging well into the engagement period and even early years of marriage. Sometimes well into a marriage relationship.

That missing element, beyond the happy hopes and dreams, can derail or enhance the health of a relationship. What am I talking about?

It’s Your Wounding
I’m talking about your wound, that particular wounding of your heart and mind often buried in your past. It’s your deeply personal, heartfelt hurt that we all possess but only few actually identify or effectively address. It’s the origin of your real pain, fear and dark place of insecurity. It’s an area of substance that many people have not dealt with, let alone understand, and which gets stuffed beneath coverings and facades of false personas or masks that hide underlying truth.

There are 3 types of major wounds we may experience early in our childhood:

  1. The Father Wound – John Eldredge, in his book Wild at Heart, deals with the predominant Father Wound. Dr. Robert Lewis identifies this as well in his Men’s Fraternity/Quest for Authentic Manhood series. This is the wounding inflicted, often unintentionally, by a father upon his son or daughter. It is caused when there is a lack of heart connection, or companionship, or substantive direction, support or acknowledgement of value from Dad. The results can be anger, pain, bottled up feelings, and an inner sense of lostness, insecurity or incompleteness. Unhealthy behavior can result such as addictions, obsessions, drugs, pornography, alcohol, and over- or under-performance. The discussion of the positive and negative impact of one’s father on their childhood can be the basis for profound understanding between a bonding couple.
  2. The Mother Wound – The Mother Wound can be just as devastating, particularly for men. Lewis calls out an unhealthy, emotional relationship with an over-attentive Mom that causes a son to either be threatened by the influence of women later on in life or to over-identify and become submissive to the influence of women. In reaction men either drift to one of two extremes: dominant male (controlling) or soft male (passive). This wound is compounded by an absent or distant father.
  3. The All-Alone Wound – The All-Alone Wound comes from the tendency to live outside character shaping relationships. Dr. Lewis highlights this primarily as a male wound, however many woman also are hurt by the social, emotional and psychological loss caused by the lack of healthy friendships. A distorted sense of self, even self-deceit comes from being disconnected and isolated. People need feedback from trusted friends or companions. Poor choices, lower standards, and careless living can result from loneliness, as well as discouragement and depression. Both men and woman need wise mentors and even protegés to model and encourage in addressing the all-alone wound.

Some wounds are very obvious; some wounds are more subtle. But all men and women are wounded at some level. The Father Wound is most pronounced and impacting as it speaks directly to our sense of identity and our longing for the answer to the question for men: Do I have what it takes? and women: Am I desirable? These questions not answered well by a father to his young child will haunt and create havoc in a person’s life.

It even impacts our relationship with God. Why do you think many people have a problem with accepting the love of a Heavenly Father?

Overcoming the Wound and Sharing the Story
To overcome the wound we first have to identify our brokenness. Then we need to forgive the source of the pain and wounding. Big step, but necessary, even if the source is no longer living. Then we need to take it to the source of all forgiveness: God, our good and perfect Father. We need to release the pain, the hurt, and destruction that may have resulted from the wounding, and know that God forgives us and loves us in spite of any of our sinful past, present and future.

We have been set free to a renewed life – to be whole, healthy and restored.

Sharing your wound story and your Godly recovery, or experiencing Godly recovery together, is where true emotional connection can be solidified and relational growth can soar. Certainly your own love story will be greatly enhanced.

Have you shared your wounding story with your spouse? Have you been healed?
“Not that I have already attained this – that is, I have not already been perfected – but I strive to lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus also laid hold of me. Brothers and sisters…instead I am single-minded. Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead.” – Philippians 3:12-13

Categories: Fathering, Forgiveness, Manhood, Marriage

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