This is part four in a series on Adult Bullying. You can find the other parts in that series: Emotional Blackmail, The Mob Mentality, and Getting Real about Forgiveness by clicking the links. Now let’s jump into how to protect your marriage from adult bullying.
A decade ago a rumor was being circulated about my husband and I during what was a very difficult season of our marriage.
- We were expecting our first child.
- Mr. Hubby had taken a new job a state away which he had started a month beforehand.
- I stayed behind finishing up work and preparing for the baby.
- He was commuting home on the weekends and staying with family during the work week.
- We have always hated to be apart from one another.
It was a very emotional time.
Once the baby arrived we had unexpected costs – and what we had been saving to help us move was quickly eaten up.
While we desperately wanted to be together, we were out of funds with very few immediate options.
There was not much that we could do, but wait and pray.
We were willing to wait this out as long as it took… and no matter what it looked like from the outside.
We were willing to wait on God because of the prayers we had been praying about our future, but others within our world were not as patient. Actually if I think about it there has not been much we have done that they have approved, applauded, or respected the timing of (too young to get married, too young to have children, even this new job was met with so much strife etc.)
It was an overwhelming time. Everybody had an opinion. Quite a few of those voices could not contain their anxiety and fear. What was a really difficult time for us became all about them.
Those voices added to the heartache – they added to the loneliness and fear of what lay ahead.
So I moved out of our house that was on the market and in with my parents to get away from the suffocating places. Mom and Dad have always been supportive and calm.
Right after the baby was born and it was time for Hubby to make the trip back for his work week, he handed his newborn daughter to my mom when it was time to go with these words, “You are going to need to take her because if you don’t I won’t be able to go.”
- They bore witness to our tears…
- They bore witness to our tearing apart every single Sunday…
- They watched him bawl as he drove away…
- They prayed over us every step of the way…
It was a terribly difficult time… because we didn’t know when it would all work out.
But we never really doubted one another’s intentions in this that it would all come together in the end.
WE didn’t doubt God’s intentions towards us even if we didn’t have all the pieces yet.
I think God had a few lessons to teach us and we were open, but it was difficult to think straight.
There were so many fear-filled voices swirling around our marriage and new family– not between us.
The only time we questioned what we were doing – the only time we have questioned our marriage has been when those ugly voices started whispering doubt again and again.
We knew that given time it would all be OK... we had faith in the God that helped Hubby be there for her birth, that heard our prayers when we asked for a way so that I could stay home – because neither one of us wanted anyone else watching our baby.
We had gotten to know the God who answered our private prayers – things these negative voices did not know:
- There were backstories that those Doubters were not privy to.
- There were conversations about what we wanted now that having a family was a reality that they didn’t know.
- There were hopes and dreams and a future that they had no clue about.
While they didn’t ask us many questions WOW did they have a lot to say about everything to everybody.
It was difficult to find a footing, to stand on God’s promises and the hope we felt in what was to come for our family in a new state and a new place.
It was difficult to stand strong on the answers that God was giving, the direction that He was leading when doubt and filth were being whispered behind our backs and to our faces.
How can you grow into maturity as a couple, in your faith, with so many people pushing and stabbing at your back, whispering fear and doubt into every ear they can find? It’s difficult.
The gossip swirled: that I had no intentions of following my husband to Maryland, that I would find a job and stay in Pennsylvania with the baby. That I would leave him alone, that I would abandon him. And that we would end up divorced.
The same thing had happened to a couple they knew….
It would be one thing if this was the first and last time that this type of discussion had swirled around and behind us about our marriage. It was/is not.
- From the beginning they have been waiting for me to get tired of him…
- for us to implode and walk away.
- They have been monitoring and watching waiting for us to fall into a deep, dark place
- like they will never be satisfied until they are proven right about us.
- Like they are rejoicing with those who stumble…
- and hoping for something awful.
What kind of people spread this stuff?
What monsters would believe I would abandon my husband?
What kind of crap do you have to be dealing in – to do this to a young married couple? A brand new family? During such a difficult time?
Do we understand how our words and actions seek to take out a marriage all because we lack faith and deal in fear?
What made them think that this stuff was OK? That there would be NO long-term consequences to cycling this kind of hate?
Because gossip and spreading false accusations is hate.
Perfect LOVE casts out fear. or as The Message version puts it: “There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.” (1 John 4:18)
While we may fear FOR those around us and the situations that they face – fear should never have the final say.
So after all that drama we did end up together in Maryland… a state away. Moving away saved our marriage. It taught us about God’s provision and man’s manipulation. We learned how to trust one another and how to guard what is most precious – our marriage, each other, our children, our family.
The truth is that it is wrong to review a book you have not read. That is one of my pet peeves. Don’t comment on what you haven’t read.
And you should be very careful about what you spread regarding someone’s marriage (that’s another pet peeve)… especially when you are operating only out of your fears and anxiety not out of any substantial truth or fact.
Just because you can’t see it, hear it, or feel it doesn’t mean that it does not exist. You can not know the conversations a couple has had, the choices they have made, what God is asking of them, the prayers they have prayed, or the dreams they have for a future… unless they share that with you.
Anything else is mere speculation and assumption and filling in the blank.
We should never allow our fears of WHAT COULD HAPPEN dictate how we respond to what IS HAPPENING in the present.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8 NASB
WHO was – He holds the past…
WHO IS – He holds the present…
WHO IS TO COME – He holds the future…
Getting REAL about Where fear comes from?
Who is the author of confusion? Who is the author and perfecter of our faith?
Hopefully you know the answers to those questions: 1. is Satan and 2. is God.
If the Enemy (meaning Satan) is not above accusing God’s children before the throne of God (see Job and “…he who accuses them before our God day and night” Revelation 12:10)…he certainly has no qualms making false accusations about others right in your ears.
“The Enemy will get others to do to you what he is trying to do to you” (John Eldredge).
- He’ll use your fears … to get to others.
- He’ll use your doubts… to get at others.
- He’ll use your own hidden struggles as a projection onto others…. to get to them.
- He will use your words… to speak filth and lies and condemnation right into the precious places (children, marriages, families).
He will use you to do damage to a marriage, to a family, to new life, to budding life, to movements forward, to struggles, to suffering, whatever.
Because every movement towards life will be opposed (Eldredge) – and the Enemy of your soul is an expert at using those close to you to harm you most.
It is difficult to discern the truth when the Enemy starts swirling stories.
That is why it is so important to make sure of the truth you are standing upon, making sure that your footing is solid rock and not sinking sand because life will swirl. And you will either be the voices speaking harm or be taken out by those voices speaking harm.
“Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” (Luke 14:27b)
We make a choice about what we let in.
We make a choice about what we let out.
Someone’s marriage is holy ground and we should treat it as such.
Take off your shoes. Tread lightly. Speak Gently. Be FOR them as God is For their marriage.
Be on the lookout for the fifth part of this series – Adult Bullying: How to Protect Your Children.
In the meantime you can find the rest of the series by clicking one of these links: