Today’s question is related to that process. A woman asks:
Today’s Question: How do I stay healthy in an abusive marriage when no one will speak into my husband’s life?
Answer: This is an important question and I want you to listen very carefully. First, it is very difficult to stay healthy in a destructive marriage if you don’t take specific action steps. Second, you will never get healthy or stay healthy if you are dependent or waiting until your husband changes.
Don’t misunderstand me. I’m all for someone speaking into your husband’s life. It would be much easier if he would change and then you could feel better. But that’s not under your control. And, truthfully, it’s very likely that if someone did speak into your husband’s life, he still might choose not to change.
What is under your control is your own safety and sanity and for that, you must take full responsibility (Part of CORE strength).
This truth became so clear to me when I kept waiting and wanting my mother to change so that I would not feel so horrible inside. If only she would “see” the destructiveness of her behavior, then she could get healthier and I would feel closer to her, or be able to forgive her. If only she would stop drinking, then we could maybe have a decent conversation that wouldn’t deteriorate into hateful accusations. I continually linked my own sanity and growth to her sanity and growth, which kept me totally stuck because she wasn’t the least bit interested in changing her ways.
It was only when I let go of my need to have her change and decided to pursue my own healing that was I free to become the person God called me to become, whether my mother ever “got it” or not. I realized that my whole life was lived as a reactor to my mother. If she was nice to me, I felt good. If she was mean to me, I became devastated. My internal well-being was dependent on whether or not she loved me, valued me, heard me, respected my thoughts, wanted me as her daughter, or not. Do you see how unhealthy that becomes? It makes me the continual victim of my mother.
Instead of staying a victim who simply reacted to her abuser, I learned to become an owner. I made a life altering decision! This is my life now, and how did I want to be? What kind of person did I want to become, even if my mother never knew, approved, or liked it? Who was the person God called me to be, even if my mother never changed? That is the first step to getting healthy, choosing to move from victim mindset and simply reacting to life’s circumstances and other people, to an owner mindset and taking charge of my own sanity and well-being.
Therefore, if you want to get healthy, even while still in an abusive marriage you will need to make a similar shift. Your husband is not the final authority on who you are, God is. God gave you your beautiful and precious life, body, emotions and mind, to steward and care for (tweet that).
Don’t allow him to dictate who you are or how to steward your mental, physical and emotional well-being.
Your husband may continue in his destructive ways, but how would a healthy, God-centered woman deal with it? She might speak up, set boundaries or implement consequences. She might ignore his remarks. She might call the police if he’s being physically scary or abusive. She might go back to school to get some training to get a job so that she is better prepared to leave the marriage. She has lots of options and in wisdom, she takes action steps to walk through them with truth and grace. None of these actions are dependent on her husband changing. Yet, she is strong, courageous, resourceful, and wise. She is a healthy woman dealing with a toxic situation in a healthy way.
In other words, she is an “owner” of the person she wants to be. She partners with God in the creation of her best self. She learns to make decisions out of her CORE, and not simply react out of her hurt, anger, or fearful emotions. That is what Jesus modeled for us when he dealt with destructive people and he teaches us to do likewise.
Please don’t wait for someone to speak into your husband’s life for you to get healthy. That would be a tragedy.
Friend, how have you learned to be an owner who responds instead of a victim who reacts?