Why does our spouse NEED to paint an ugly picture of us to family and friends?

It’s actually quite simple; they must find justification for the sins they are committing. They must get the guilt and blame shifted off their shoulders and onto yours. YOU must become the “Bad Guy” so they can be the “Righteous Victim.”  If they don’t do this, they can’t live with themselves. They can no longer enjoy the sin they are in, nor find any sort of relief for their guilt.

The need to be at peace within drives our lost spouses to lie, exaggerate, distort, and twist the truth.  If a new relationship is formed and the truth will put it at risk, then a strong desire to protect this new relationship will overshadow ALL logic. This is why the urge to lie is so strong; why there are so many fabrications and exaggerations made; why there is so much outright denying of truth that happens.

What our spouses once believed in or hated seems to be totally forgotten as they embrace these things now with pleasure.  “How do they live with themselves?”  They NEED a reason, and using you as a scapegoat to free them from blame seems like the thing the enemy likes to do the most.  He hands them a paintbrush and canvas and points to you as the muse!

However, our lost beloveds are not the ONLY ones that paint ugly pictures of their spouses–Standers do it too.  We do it to ease the hurt and pain of rejection. We cry on shoulders and share our hearts and burdens because it is SO hard to bear it alone.

These paintings come with GREAT consequences!

We don’t realize the damage our words are doing to these confidants as we pour out our hearts to them.  We don’t realize the ugly portrait of our spouses these words paint in their hearts and minds.  

“What you say can preserve life or destroy it; so you must accept the consequences of your words.” (‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭18:21‬ ‭Good News Translation]

The dangerous part about these portraits is how firmly they are held on to.  They aren’t easily erased. Your confidants naturally want to protect you and often will not be in agreement with you Standing for your marriage as long as this ugly portrait is glaring at them.  When it’s time for restoration, family and friends are often not willing to take those portraits down; not so willing to forgive and forget. Some of them will outright refuse to give up the bad portrait. This will hinder their love, help, and advice. It brings out manipulation and control and has caused so many to lose their way because of doubts and confusion.

These portraits are damaging and the leading cause of BAD COUNSEL! 

When the spouse thinks about coming home, all these portraits come to mind. How many of them are now hung on walls, and what are they going to do about them? How are they going to remove them without looking like the fool? The need to return home MUST outshine the spouses’ fear of being seen as a fool.

Standers understand this too when they share that they are STANDING for their marriage, despite the ugly portrait they have painted of their spouse. Those with these paintings don’t see what we see, they don’t understand what lies beneath the paint; the beauty that is truly in the eye of the beholder!


There is HOPE! Because as much as our Father cares about marriage restoration, He cares deeply about FAMILY RESTORATION!  So even though the ugly painting was created to influence family and close friends, it is not permanent. God can remove the work of the enemy off these portraits and do His OWN PAINTING!

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11‬ ‭New King James Version)

God can set things right and undo the damage these paintings have caused! He can heal damaged reputations and division. He can clear up the lies and removing the shame; break through pride and help to usher in humility!

“Receive good news, for the LORD has freed you this day from the hand of all those who rose up against you.” (2 Samuel 18:31)

“He delivered me from my strong enemy, And from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me.” (Psalm 18:17)

God wants full restoration, not just marriage, but families. 

Standing with you!

Sheila Hollinger



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(~Marriage Revealed Ministries Inc. is committed to helping bring healing and restoration to couples who are struggling in their marriage. We do this through the revelation of Who God is and His heart and design for marriage which never intends abuse in any form. If you suspect abuse in your relationship, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or visit them online at thehotline.org~