Defining Emotional Abuse: An Assault on Identity, Worth, and Value

Emotional abuse is rampant in our culture of entitlement and autonomy. It is an element in almost every divorce. Here at the Marriage Recovery Center, our working definition of emotional abuse is an ongoing pattern of defensive behaviors used to gain and maintain power and control in a relationship.  At its core, emotional abuse is an assault against one’s personhood. The assault is multi-faceted: targeting identity, worth and value; twisting perception of reality; disregarding emotions and lacking empathy; and using anger  as weaponry. This blog is part of a series that covers each of those aspects. I will be focusing
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How God Wants to Transform Us

Most people assume they have clear thinking. They believe their thoughts are logical. Therefore, when people disagree with them, they think it is everyone else who is wrong. But can we, ourselves, really be the source of authority for everything? Of course not. We all have thinking errors that are destructive to our life and relationships.
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Cultural Narcissism in the US

As with all things evil, the origin can be found at the fall of Eden. We see there our father and mother, Adam and Eve, deciding to take what they believed they deserved instead of trusting God to provide. COVID-19 has only exposed this problem. It turns out that the virus among us isn’t simply biological; it’s a virus of the spirit and heart as well.
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What it Means to Be a Real Man

Growing up in the United States, I learned that a “real man” was supposed to be tough, self-sufficient, strong, smart, rich, and desired by women. “Real men” don’t lose fights or sporting events. The Old West portrayed men as not needing much for themselves, but willing to die for justice and truth. Good guys were never bad and bad guys, in the end, always lost. On the other end of the spectrum, our present-day culture portrays a very different view of men. Men are often viewed as selfish, sexually charged, uncaring, stoic, and controlling. At the same time, they are
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Is It a Mid-Life Crisis?

It was Socrates who famously said that the “unexamined life is not worth living”. Many of us get to a season in life where we begin to struggle and question everything—who we are, why we’re here, and how to create a life worth living. And while some people think that mood and perspective are all a choice, perhaps sometimes we are at the mercy of life’s natural phases and chapters that are, believe it or not, seemingly hard-wired into our biology. During certain times, we are almost forced to go deeper to find our truth in order to move on
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The Mirror in Your Marriage

Want to grow? Try marriage. No, seriously. Marriage is the absolutely best place to grow. I know some of you may think I’ve lost my mind. “Marriage,” you say, “is the last place I grow. It’s the place I cope, struggle, work to recover from.” I understand that. But let’s begin with a quiz. Just give the first answer that comes to your mind. Who knows you better than anyone else? Who has seen you at your absolute worst? Who knows your darkest secrets? Who knows your worst character traits? Who has the greatest power to help you heal from
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Changing Your Course with an Intervention

The couples that come to us for help have often landed in a random, dysfunctional, unhealthy place. Frequently, one of them believes the best hope for change is an intervention. They’re at their wits’ end, having repeated a million times in ineffective ways what they are unhappy about. But they’re also not yet ready to walk away from the relationship. If only their spouse could be awakened to the harm and pain and dysfunction! That’s the desperate plea behind the desire to do an intervention. And it’s true that an intervention can be effective in bringing such an awakening. It’s
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The Attack on Marriage in the Fall of Eden

Directly after sinning against God by entertaining and agreeing with Satan’s accusation against Him, Adam and Eve got straight on to sinning against one another and against their marriage. The result has echoed throughout the ages. There is a principle in scripture that the older and more original a thing is, the more power it has. What this means for us is that the sin that Adam and Eve committed against one another and against their marriage tends to be a powerful stronghold present in many marriages today. Genesis 3: 9-12 records that as the snake engaged Eve in conversation,
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When Sleeping Dogs Won’t Lie

People often have anxiety about getting help for their marriages. That anxiety can have many sources. For example, concern about what others will think—will they assume our marriage is in trouble? Sometimes the anxiety is that talking about the marriage with someone else will stir up problems and “awaken sleeping dogs.” We tend to work hard at sweeping things under the rug, stuffing away our feelings and learning to live with the way things are. Looking at the truth of our feelings and relationships can be intimidating and frightening.
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