This is part four in a series on Adult Bullying. You can find the other parts in this series: Emotional Blackmail, The Mob Mentality, and Getting Real about Forgiveness by clicking the links. Adult Bullying 101 Protecting Your Marriage originally appeared on the Jezamama blog September 11, 2013.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.
- I stayed behind finishing up work and preparing for the baby.
- He was commuting home on the weekends and staying with family close to his new job 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 because of the prayers we had been praying and the plans we had been making, and the dreams we had been dreaming about our future, but others within our world were not as patient and understanding or even kind.
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
- TOO many children
- Allowing us the distance and separateness couples and growing families need
- even this new job opportunity was met with a whole lot of opinion and strife.
The fear of what it all looked like and how it would all work out and what other people might think of us – did NOT matter to us too much,
but it mattered to the negativity mongers watching… it mattered because of how it made them look and what it said about them and what people might think.
It really didn’t matter what this was doing to us or what it meant FOR US.
That is what Life Suckers will do to your life – they will make your good places and your low places ALL ABOUT THEMSELVES. They feed off of them.
We were carrying the burden of their anxiety and fears and doubts.
Sometimes other peoples fears – can try to jump on us and ruin our lives. Don’t let it. Their anxiety does not have to be yours. Their doubts may not even be true.
Adult Bullying 101 Protecting Your Marriage
It was an overwhelming time. Everyone 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.
Their voices – added to the doubt that shouted it would never be right and we would never be good enough.
So I moved out of our house that was on the market in that town that was suffocating the life out of us and I moved in with my parents to get away.
My parents were the safe place we needed beyond the swirling mess.
Every marriage needs safe places and safe people.
Right after the baby was born and it was time for Hubby to leave for the week, he handed his newborn daughter to my mom saying, “You have to take her because if you don’t I won’t be able to go.”
- My parents bore witness to our tears.
- They bore witness to our tearing apart every single Sunday.
- They watched him bawl as he drove away.
- They covered us in prayer.
- They did not smear their DOUBT or their FEAR over us.
It was a terribly difficult time because we didn’t know when it would all work out.
Aren’t those the hardest times?
These are also the times when we are the most vulnerable to negativity and sources of despair.
We didn’t know how this was going to go. Or when it would end.
We never really doubted our intentions towards one another or that it would all come together in the end.
I think we had a few lessons learn and we were open to whatever came, but it was difficult to think straight.
There were so many fear-filled voices swirling around our marriage and new family.
We weren’t afraid – we just wanted to be together.
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/cynicism again and again.
We knew that given time it would all be OK...
We knew each other, what we wanted for our marriage and the family we were becoming.
There were things these negative voices did not know:
- There were back-stories that those Doubters were not privy to.
- There were conversations they did not know about what we wanted for our marriage and our children.
- There were hopes and dreams and a future that they had no clue about.
While these negative influencers did not ask the right questions to our face… they sure did have a bunch to say to anyone who would listen – behind our back. (Isn’t that how the negative voices tend to operate?)
It was difficult to find a footing, to stand on the promises we believed for our marriage 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 we were being giving, the direction that we were being lead… when doubt and filth were being whispered behind our backs and snide remarks were being made in our presence and to people we held in common.
How can you grow into maturity as a couple 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 my husband 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.
Later in our marriage once we wised up and grew up and figured out it was OK to let people go… I would step back from the shame spreaders, and the fear mongering voices and wonder: what kind of people spread this stuff?
- What monsters would believe I would abandon my husband? And take his child from him?
- What kind of crap do you have to be dealing in – to do spread this kind of shit about 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?
- Do we understand how our fear-mongering and violent words can threaten the young in our midst simply because we haven’t grownup enough to get over ourselves?
What made them think that this stuff was OK?
That there would be NO long-term consequences to cycling this kind of violence, anger, gossip, and ultimately resentful 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 from the angry, controlling voices saved our marriage.
We honestly do not know if we would still be together if we had stayed surrounded by the swirling toxic yuck.
It taught us how to discern when people are being manipulative and coercive.
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.
What I have learned is that this swirling yuck that the negative voices spread about you – says a lot about the people talking.
Oftentimes that YUCK is not even about you.
You can not change people.
- You can not force them to treat you differently.
- You can not make them see you differently.
- You can not change how they approach you.
- You can not change what they say about you or what they think about you.
- You can not change any of it.
The only part you are responsible for is you – how you react, whether you choose to continue to engage or release them from your life.
You do have a choose.
You do not have to allow people to disrespect your marriage.
You do not have to allow them to bring toxicity into your life.
In the meantime you can find the rest of the series by clicking one of these links: