Every once in a while the Lord will have me write something that Standers don’t want to hear, but need to hear. No one wants certain things about their personality to be addressed. And when our spouse attacks our character and spread lies, twist the truth or share half-truths to assassinate our character, some of us will face a tremendous battle when our pride rushes into the battle to defend our honor.
The higher a person thinks of themselves, the greater the battle. The more they think they don’t deserve the defamation of character, the harder in heart they will become to the person doing the damage.
I have seen many walk away from fighting for the marriage simply because their pride was too great and would not allow them to surrender in any way to the mistreatment that was coming at them.
First, let’s shed some light on the reasons why you may have a spouse that is acting out and attacking your character. The GREATER the reason, the bigger the effort they will put out to protect their excuse or heal their pain. If a spouse is defaming your character to protect their choices, the more guilt and conviction they feel, the more they will be vocal. Or, the deeper the pain and wounds, the more they will do what makes them feel better, which may be blaming you. Whatever the reason behind it, the GREATER they are pressed by what is bothering them, the more they will attack you. Some spouses are not vocal at all. Spreading no lies, sharing no details, just choosing to handle how they manage what they are going through differently. They may turn to drinking or other crutches instead of being vocal. Whatever way they choose, it brings great consequences, and eventually, a child of God will exhaust themselves because they are not dealing with the real issue, but covering it up with counterfeits. They may go off the rails for a long time and get worse and worse until they can’t handle this new version of themselves and try to fix themselves, but fail over and over until they have no choice but to face God and confess all the lies they have been holding onto to justify their rebellion. THIS is the place that we want them to get.
But the pain of being the object they use to deflect and not address their own issues can be beyond painful and too much to bear for some. Anyone with low self-esteem, rejection, or unworthiness issues will take a severe emotional beating, just as someone with high esteem, pride, and high regard for themselves will. Both will want to harden in heart against the pain. One will be tired of the spouse making them feel unworthy and will finally rebel, the other’s pride won’t be able to allow the lost spouse to continue to assassinate their character. Both will want to quit and walk away, and if they know they can’t, they may remain standing but in bitterness and resentments.
So what type of person can Stand firm while their spouse continues to assassinate their character? A person that knows how to quickly run to the refuge of the Lord and work out the pain and other emotions that come from the sting. Learning how to be quick to say “ forgive them Lord.” As they release and forgive them. Knowing that holding anger towards the unfair treatment is not going to help the situation. They also know that there is a much larger picture that is taking place that makes it not about them, but about a very lost person who is acting out from a place that makes them lie, lash out, rebel and even though all of that behavior is ugly, dark, wicked and extremely hard to turn the other cheek and overlook, they know that they have to let God be the one to change the lost spouse and He will be the one that restores and repays what was taken from you. Including your character.
This is extremely hard. Especially if there is a great deal of pride in your nature. You will spend your days battling your own pride and trying to get it to calm down as it rushes in to fix things, defend and get your honor back. The more you value your integrity and high standing, the more you will struggle and fight. Many will fight and blame the lost spouse for what they are saying when in truth they are fighting God because God wants that pride in them gone.
I spent a lot of time on my face, crying out for God to stop the things my spouse was saying about me when the whole time that was not really the issue. In hindsight, if I didn’t have the level of pride I had, it would not have bothered me as greatly as it did. He was lost, he was deceived. He was hurt, angry, and grasping at straws. He blamed a lot of things and it was only when he turned that blame to me that I got super upset. Why? Because I took it too personally and let my hurt pride take charge. I allowed what was being said to be blown out of proportion in my mind to the point that it was so great, there would be no coming back from it. That is what happens when we allow our pride to plan a path of healing. Pride says “I will never forget this and allow myself to trust this person again. Never allow this person to have access to me in this way.”
Pride is against restoration and reconciliation in every way. It loves having a hard, cold, untrusting heart and will present very convincing arguments.
5 clothe yourselves with humility toward one another [tie on the servant’s apron], for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD [the disdainful, the presumptuous, and He defeats them], BUT HE GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. 6Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God [set aside self-righteous pride], so that He may exalt you [to a place of honor in His service] at the appropriate time, 7casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully]. 1 Peter 5:5-7 Amp
God cares about your pain and your character being smeared all over the place. But He wants to offer you another way to heal and live through your spouse’s seasons of rebellion. He wants you to be wise, forgiving, and HUMBLE by trusting Him. He wants you to resist being proud just as He resists the proud. He knows that pride stops forgiveness, restoration, and healing.
But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. James 4:6 –
Work on yourself. Instead of being fixed on what is being said, work instead on what is making you care as deeply about it as you are. Ask God to help you work through the struggle that is making you want to withhold forgiveness and remain angry at them. Tell yourself that God can restore all that was take from you, but first you have to confess that you are too angry and may not want Him to, and that is because your pride is resisting. And then start to be honest and truthful about your pride to Him. Be as real as you can to get you to a place where you surrender. That is what it’s all about. You must surrender your right. Surrender your “I don’t deserve this. I deserve to be treated better and if You are not going to defend me God, I am going to do it myself.” That is the voice of pride that we must surrender. “God, I am giving you the right to defend me when and where You want. I surrender to You my desire to defend myself and will let You have all my rights.”
How many times will you have to make the choice to surrender? Over and over because your pride won’t go away easily. And why do we do this? Because your lost spouse needs you to! They are the lost, and yes, while they are acting out in very hurtful ways, they need you to be strong in the Lord.
with all humility [forsaking self-righteousness], and gentleness [maintaining self-control], with patience, bearing with one another in [unselfish] love. Ephesians 4:2
Standing with you,