Responding to Toxic Treatment In Marriage
In my experience, there have been two ways to respond to the toxic treatment.
IN THE FLESH
It is very important to be seeking God first and foremost in our lives in general, and especially if we are in a toxic relationship or just around toxic people in general. Our strength in spirit only comes from being strengthened with might by the Holy Spirit—and our union with Christ is VITAL to this. We must be one with Him in spirit—– receiving our very life from Him alone.
But what happens when we DON’T, and we are in a toxic relationship?
In my experience, from the very beginning, I was not aware the I was being lied to about who I was, what was my problem and what were actually lies being fed to me by the devil through my husband. I did not even question whether what he was saying was true or not. I just took it for truth, and kept trying harder and harder to “not be like that”.
This sounds a lot like legalism, bondage, and oppression. That is what happens when we are living in the flesh. The devil is so subtle, isn’t he? He has mastered the art of getting the children of God entangled in a burdensome yoke once again, after receiving Christ by faith.
How does he do that?
He insists that we must do this, that, or the other thing, in order to be in right standing with God.
Living in a toxic marriage can feel exactly the same way. You feel as though you must do this, that, or the other thing in order to be in right standing with your spouse. That is legalism. That is of the devil.
When we consent to the lies that we are being fed by the devil through our husbands, we are unknowingly bowing down to our husbands as our master. We are accepting their words as truth, and we are giving full place to the devil to paralyze us spiritually, emotionally, and possibly physically!
At this point, we are operating out of the flesh—and we know that the mind of the flesh is sin and death!!
And when we are faced with toxic behavior/words, we are most likely bound to retaliate in the flesh, and come back at our husbands with our own venomous words and behaviors!
After we have sinned in such ways out of the flesh—-we are then shamed and made guilty by our husbands—-and we give in to the lie EVEN MORE that we are not truly changing, and what our husbands say about us is true…….. after all, look at how we just acted towards them!
The reaction from the flesh to our toxic marriage involves:
- Believing lies
- Cowering under oppression
- Trying/striving to be “better”
- Sinful retaliation
And what ends up happening, is we start falling away from God more and more, because we truly believe we are so horrible. We have proof that we are from the way we have sinned against our husbands. Their lies are reinforced by our own reactions, and we continue in this cycle until the Lord leads us into the truth!
If any sister finds herself in this description—-COME OUT! Break free from the lies—- seek GOD and His truth ALONE. Reject what has been said if it does not coincide with the Bible. We must reckon ourselves dead with Christ and Alive unto God through Him! We are NEW! OLD THINGS HAVE PASSED AWAY!!!
IN THE SPIRIT
In my experience, there have been glorious times when I have faced toxicity in the Spirit of God—and things had a much better turnout.
The times that I saw the lies for what they were, and saw how I was operating out of the flesh and believing my husband over God and His word—-and I repented of all that—– Christ came in such power in my life, I smile just remembering it!
After putting off the bondage, I found such freedom in Christ—– and the way to living in this freedom is by GOING AFTER THE LORD ALONE! In this time, God opened my eyes to the truth that Christ alone is to be my source of all life, peace, joy, and contentment. I found in Him ALL THINGS. I looked at Him, and Him alone. And I was filled to overflowing with joy!
When faced with toxic arrows—- I responded in love, in faith, in patience, and in kindness.
Example- When my husband quit the job back in May—- I responded in faith instead of fear—- I knew that God was in control, and that He had allowed this to happen for His own reasons. Even though I did not want my husband to do that, I did not tell him what to do, and I let him suffer his own consequences. Instead of reacting out of the flesh and believing we were now doomed (which usually was the pattern everytime my husband quit a job, he would get VERY negative…so toxically negative, I would fall under the doom and gloom and believe it was the end!), I responded from my solid Rock—Jesus Christ. I trusted Him, and I sought Him all the more—and everytime my husband vomited up some negative self-pity, or tried to play the blame game, I simply stood on my faith and on the ground that God is in control, and He alone is my provision and He will save me from the mistakes of my husband!
Not even a week later, I woke up to a letter written me by my husband telling me how much my faith inspired him to trust God, and how my peace and joy in the midst of his foolishness led him to seek God and to know that God is good. My husband got offered a job in that same week, and the lessons we learned in that time are truly priceless right now.
More examples of reacting in the Spirit:
- If I am being ripped apart by my husband for something over the phone—-I have learned to simply say “If you can’t speak kindly to me, then I don’t want to talk to you”. His reaction to this lately (I just started doing this recently) has been MAJOR improvement on his part and conscious effort to think about what he is going to say before he says it. If he didn’t care to think about it first, and he went on and on, I put him on “hold” while he was speaking over the phone and did not subject myself to one word of it, and then periodically checked in to see if he was still at it. After he was finished, I got off the phone and later told him I put him on hold and reminded him that I did not want to hear any toxic vomiting anymore. He apologized for not controlling himself.
- If I am being physically intimidated by my husband in any way if things are getting intense and he is out of self control, I have learned to literally stop talking, walk away, and even leave the house at that moment. It is no use staying in that situation. And until he calms down, I do not return. He apologizes either before or upon return. He also is aware that if he continues that type of physical intimidation in any way, I do not want to be around him. He is obligated to figure out a way to control himself, or lose my presence.
- If I get really upset/angry about something he has said/done and I lose control—— I have learned to go for a walk instead, to avoid further sin.
- If I am really upset/angry about something and I don’t freak out about it, I usually go in my room and write a prayer about it b/c I find that it is better to bring it to God first before losing my cool. I am still learning this way.
I have found that when I am no longer trying to please my husband, but instead I am out to please God alone, I am no longer afraid of losing my husband’s love/attention by standing up for the truth and not allowing myself to be subjected to any toxic treatment.
Setting boundaries on our own minds/life is the only way to keep ourselves from cowering under oppression of the enemy! We must guard our minds. We must guard our hearts!