A New Year, A New You

For many people, January is a time of renewed hope and a fresh start. Marking a new year often means closing one chapter and viewing the next with new purpose and expectation. But this is not the case for those stuck in emotionally abusive relationships. Their vision is obscured by the trauma of their experience, which feeds two big lies to them: 1) Everything is a threat, and nothing is to be trusted and 2) I have no power to effect the change needed to free or protect myself. It may be that you’re not feeling hopeful or confident that
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Defining Emotional Abuse, Part 2: 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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Cultural Narcissism in the US Today

As with all things evil, the origin of narcissism 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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How To Navigate a Mid-Life Crisis Properly

It was Socrates who famously said that the “unexamined life is not worth living”. So is a mid-life crisis just bound to happen to everyone at some point in their lives?  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. 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,
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Growing Marriage: Take A Look In The Mirror

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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