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UNLEASHING THE K.I.S.S. MARRIAGE- Fighting Without Shame or Blame

Posted: September 6, 2014


Our family has a zany sense of humor and any time we need a good belly laugh we pull up a Brian Regan YouTube video. One of our favorite videos always starts with the sentence:  “I just want to get through life without looking stupid. So far it’s not working.” In light of this marriage topic, I would like to change that sentence to: “I just want to get through life without feeling shame or blame…so far it’s not working.”

God designed “good marriages” by putting together two imperfect, vulnerable, insecure people and shaping them into the beautiful image of Jesus Christ.  Nothing “sandpapers, cuts, moulds and shapes” people better than when they are living in close proximity and intimacy with each other.

But sometimes the shaping of this good marriage can be so painful at times that all we want to do is run. Nothing makes us run faster and harder than when we feel shame or blame,

I believe we inherently know all of our own insecurities, vulnerabilities, mistakes and failures and when someone deliberately hits our shame button, we want to run, hide or retaliate. Especially when we are in the middle of a fight!  Just like in a war, in order for the enemy to annihilate the offenders, the enemy pulls out its most lethal weapon.  In a marriage fight, in order to be heard, to win or crush the other spouse, one of the most lethal weapons is shame and blame.

I also believe that we are in a spiritual warfare, and our enemy Satan will use his most valuable weapon to separate us from God and from each other.  For Satan, that most powerful weapon will be our greatest weakness and vulnerability; shame and blame. He knows he can cut us off at the knees and destroy our marriage if we allow this insidious enemy of shame to invade our marriages.

So how do we learn to fight without shame or blame?

  1. Realize we all see life from a different perspective. If you stand two people back to back in a room and have them describe what they see, they will both see different things. Each one of will be right they will just be different. So don’t fight to win. Winning is over-rated. Fight to resolve and find a mutually satisfying solution.
  2. We must understand the destructive power of shame.Shame is universal and is not race or gender specific. We might fall into the category of: We never feel beautiful enough, smart enough or good enough.
  • Shame is not making the promotion.
  • Shame is screaming at your children.
  • Shame is bankruptcy.
  • Shame is infertility, having a DUI, having someone in prison, losing your job, making a mistake, getting caught.
  • Women: Nothing makes us more shamed than when we don’t feel heard or validated.  (i.e. “What is wrong with you?  You’re gaining weight again, you’re just like your mother”).To push back we will resort to criticizing and shaming back. Men have to realize we have a photographic memory of every wrong deed or word that was done to us and which caused us to feel shame.  I work with mostly men and I am so grateful that most men can just let go of hurtful words and get on with life. Women’s can do it so easily.  We hang onto hurtful words; we nurture them and wait for an opportune time.
  • Men:  Men feel shame when they are criticized or made to feel inadequate. They either shut down or come back in anger.

Shame makes us start to unravel. Our response is mostly to run and hide from it and we do this by:

  • Working 60 hours a week.
  • Having an affair
  • Go into dark places with pleasurable addictions
  • Go to the fridge for more food
  • Disengage – begin to live separate lives

Shame separates and divides, but empathy, understanding and vulnerability heals and restores. In order to have healthy fights, we need to have a healthy understanding of shame.

My first marriage began to unravel after nine years and the divorce word came up. We did not know how to fight properly and so we used shame and blame. They were our strongest weapons to be heard, to get even and to win.  Next week I will tell you more about the destructive power of shame in our marriages, and then I will guide you into finding hope and tools for fighting fair.



Posted in: Beauty from the Inside Out, Communication, companionship, Finding Truth, Good Marriage, Harmony, Hope, Intimacy, love, messes, Overcoming Struggles, Uncategorized, Understanding each other

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