The Old Rocky Movies
For a moment, let’s consider a scene from an old Rocky movie. Rocky, in the ring is battered and bloody, and wondering how he got into this mess and how can he go on. Looking around for some kind of relief and direction he spots Adrien. Their eyes meet and she calls out, “I love you.”
In that moment he knows that she loves him not because he is winning- he obviously is not, but she loves him because she knows and remembers who he is – a fighter. Win or lose he is a fighter, and some fights can only be won if her strength becomes his.
This transfer of strength happens through her love as their eyes meet. In that instant he knows that she loves him. It’s not because of where he is in the fight but because he knows that she knows – and now he remembers – who he is. Then it happens-EYE OF THE TIGER- and just seconds later the enemy is crushed.
There is zero chance of defeating Rocky when there is Adrian. God knew this! “It is not good for man to be alone…” because without woman, man’s strength is insufficient to win. Some women have come to know or just remember that part of their purpose for being here is to help men defeat the real enemy – Satan. This definitely does not excuse the man from his role to preside, provide and protect, but her strength will enhance his abilities to fulfill these duties.
You may be thinking, “That’s just a silly movie. The fight is REAL, especially between my spouse and I.”
If you struggle wondering how you can support your spouse when you don’t feel supported, think about this simple story that has been shared with many of my clients.
Imagine this scenario. Your spouse is going outside to bring the garbage can off the road and back to the house. You are looking out of a window and see two men in hoodies walking down the street towards your husband. Then with no warning, they start running and shove your husband to the ground where they proceed to kick him repeatedly.
How does that make you feel? What would you want to do?
Some women jokingly said, “Oh, I would want to join the men kicking my husband!” One petite woman said, “I would feel awful and a bit afraid, but would want to run outside and somehow chase the men away.” And typically, most women after joking about joining the fight admit that they would want to help save their spouse from that type of pain and suffering.
But sometimes we forget that spiritual battles are just as real, and many of us join the fight against those we love instead of being in their corner and supporting them through their toughest battles.
Rocky brought up his strength through warrior chemistry and won the fight after he felt Adrian’s support and love in the boxing ring. Many women would feel some warrior chemistry if they saw their spouse being beat up and would want to somehow help rescue them.
If you are still not sure about fighting for your spouse, think of what you might do if someone grabbed your baby out of your arms and ran away with it (or imagine what that would be like if you don’t have a child.) That feeling to want to save, protect, and nurture that baby is warrior chemistry.
Remember that anytime your spouse is struggling with bad habits, weaknesses, or even addictions, it’s because the master manipulator – Satan – is attacking him and winning that battle.
But what if I feel like I’m being attacked?
“Yes, I would like to help him fight, but sometimes I feel like I’m being attacked by him,” some women might say.
It’s true that in a marriage you might both feel attacked by each other because the challenges you face might be overwhelming at times. Satan uses this to his advantage to destroy relationships.
There is an excellent analogy about burn victims from therapist, Maurice W. Harker, in his book “I’m Not OK. You’re Not OK. And That’s OK.”
“Imagine two people who care about each other getting caught in a house fire. Both receive third degree burns over a high percentage of their bodies. After being rushed to the emergency room, they find themselves in the same hospital room, wrapped tightly in bandages, awaiting the time it takes to heal.
Usually there are hospital staff members there to care for their needs, but in this short-handed hospital, there are times when each starts to experience needs. For instance, let’s pretend she starts experiencing significant thirst. She assesses her situation and concludes that she does not have what it takes to get a glass of water for herself.
She does not see the extent of her husband’s burns, so she asks him to get a glass of water for her. He loves her and wants to do things for her, so he tries the best he can to get a glass of water for her.
With bandaged hands, he fills a cup with water and takes it to her. As he gets close, he accidentally bumps her wounds and she screams out in pain, smacking his bandaged hands, and knocking the cup of water to the ground. He retreats back to his hospital bed and comes to the conclusion that she is ungrateful; “See if I ever help her again.” This pattern can go the other way as well.”
Steps to Overcome and Heal
In order to overcome the double burn victim scenario, it helps to look at the steps a doctor would take to help the two people in this analogy:
(1) Neither really knows how much pain or trauma the other is experiencing. To recover, each needs to acknowledge that the other person may have wounds that are deeper and wider than
(2) Each has to assume that the other person is doing the best they can. Nobody likes to stay in pain.
(3) Each has to do all they can to heal and recover without the help of the other. In a hospital you go to the doctor to help you recover from burns, not to the spouse. With psychological and emotional trauma, go to a professional, books, and/or God. Don’t ask for help from your partner until they offer it (see #4). Assume that if they are not offering help it is because they are still too traumatized.
(4) If you start feeling better and stronger, offer assistance to the other. Proceed with caution; you don’t want to re-injure your loved one on accident. You don’t want to get hurt when you are trying to be helpful. Before proceeding, remember you could accidently “bump” an old wound
and if you do, they will probably react (scream). If you can’t handle the reaction without getting upset yourself, then it may be best not to reach out and offer help yet.
Would you like ideas of how to strengthen and heal your marriage? Remember, you must do all you can to heal yourself before you can effectively help your spouse. This valuable E-book is a great place to start!
Maurice W. Harker, the head therapist at Life Changing Services, teaches about healthy relationships and the double burn victim story in his book “I’m not OK. You’re Not OK. And That’s OK.” available here for download: FREE BOOK