Sep 052018 2 Responses

When Spouses Become Enemies

At the altar, bride and groom promise to love one another. It’s the formation of a unique relationship where a couple vows to become friends, partners, and lovers. At it’s best, marriage is the gift of knowing someone will always walk by your side, have your back, and see you eye to eye. It’s a great gift.

But just as I often stand before couples as they are making these vows, I sit before couples who are on the brink of divorce. They aren’t friends because they have drifted from each other’s side. They aren’t partners who have each other’s back because they are too worried the other might stab them in the back. They aren’t lovers who fully see one another but choose to love anyway.

They are enemies.

With some, the opposition is obvious. Couples yell and scream at one another, speak poorly about each other, and let everyone know of their contempt for their spouse. (See: Are You Being Used and Not Loved?)

In other relationships, the division is much more subtle. To outsiders, the relationship looks healthy, but each spouse knows the other is not for them. They don’t have their best interest at heart. They might appear loving in public, but they are cold at home. They might be a great conversationalist at the party, but they are silent around the dinner table. They might be willing to serve everyone, but they will not serve their spouse. Trust is lost and despite good appearances, the spouses are enemies.

In both scenarios, the two who are supposed to be each other’s greatest support is seen as their greatest threat. There are few things in marriage as comforting as knowing your spouse has your back. It frees you to ignore some problems or not feel pressured to seek some opportunities because if something arises, your spouse will take care of it. Life is easier because your spouse is for you. Yet there is nothing more exhausting than fearing that the one who is supposed to protect you, might exploit you. When your spouse becomes your enemy, it’s a double whammy–not only do you lack the peace and rest that comes from having someone watching out for you, but also you have to expend more energy watching out for them, making sure they don’t do you harm.

A Simple Test

Is your spouse for you?

If you cannot quickly and confidently answer that question, you have a major problem. It may not be immediately fatal, but at a minimum, it is a growing cancer on your relationship. Without outside intervention, the lack of trust will likely end your marriage. Without question, the absence of trust is having negative consequences on your present interaction.

Most individuals fail to positively answer the question for one of two reasons:

1. Their spouse can’t say they are for them. For some, there are no questions. Both parties know that they are not for each other. There is no pretending. They are about themselves and nothing else. If the well-being of the other person happens to run parallel with personal well-being then that’s a bonus, but generally, one spouse uses the other for personal gain.

2. Their spouse’s actions do not prove that they are for them. In some relationships, there is a question. The husband or wife might say they are for their spouse, but their actions don’t back up their words. The reality is that if a person’s actions do not continually prove they are for you, it doesn’t matter what they say. Actions prove the reality of words. If your spouse doesn’t act in your best interest, they are not for you.

Are You For Your Spouse?

It’s easy to know if we feel our spouse has our back or not. But we shouldn’t be so quick to assume our husband or wife knows that we are for them. (See: Why You Should Pray For Your Spouse)

Are you for your spouse?

  • Do you want your spouse’s success maybe even more than they desire it?
  • Can you celebrate their wins without any semblance of jealousy?
  • Does it bring you even more joy when someone compliments them even compared to when they compliment you?
  • Do you have to hold back bragging about your spouse to others because you already speak so highly of them?
  • Do you regularly watch out for them trying to compensate for their weaknesses without them noticing?
  • Do you ask them on a daily basis “what is one thing I can take off your plate today?”

While it’s important to know that our spouse is for us, the first step to a good marriage is making sure we are for our spouse.

2 Responses to When Spouses Become Enemies
  1. Marcie Reply

    Great article and easy to consider the questions. It is so sad when you realize your spouse is your most stressful part of your life. Thank you for this.

    • Mercy Reply

      Unfortunately I totally agree with you; it’s extremely painful. My husband and I are separated at this point in time, and he is not for me and the rest of our family and hasn’t been for a while now. Marry a Partner Not a Child spoke volumes, but we are married – now what. I am changing my ways; I can only hope he is changing for the better as well.

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