Ever think, “I just need to work on myself and get myself healthy right now”? In some cases that’s true. But in others, too much introspection can be a really, really bad thing.

We’ve been talking this week about suffering in marriage–when it’s good and when it’s bad. We’ve been talking about how to have those awkward conversations, and how to walk through a marriage with a spouse who’s depressed. (Of course, we also talked about how to bring sexy back! Woo hoo!).

Many of us just have rough roads in marriage.

And a few weeks ago I wrote my marriage moment on how it’s important to take care of yourself, because if you don’t do that, you can’t take care of anyone else.

But there’s another side to it, and in today’s Marriage Moment–my short thought I leave you with for the weekend every Friday–I’d like to offer a cautionary tale.

Sheila’s Marriage Moment: Why Too Much Introspection is a Bad Thing

Too much introspection is not necessarily a healthy thing!

One of the conundrums of the psychotherapy industry is that the longer people are in therapy, the more the depth of their pain often is.

Incidentally, that’s why counseling that focuses on coping with a specific problem tends to be far more effective than weekly sessions to “know yourself.”

We get healthy, you see, not by looking at ourselves but by looking at God.

Certainly true healing can only come when we allow ourselves to see the depth of our pain, our grief, or our exhaustion. If we’re not honest about our pain, we can’t receive healing for it. But the way we look at that pain matters. Do you look only at the pain? Or do you allow God to shine His light on it, and see it in that light–the light of a God who wants to heal you, to call you to Himself, to use you for His purposes?

I have known far too many women who have said, “I’ve spent my life looking after other people, and I’m hurt. And now it’s time to work on myself.” And so they step back from their bewildered kids and their heartbroken husbands and they embark on this quest to “know themselves.”

Let’s stop it. Who are we supposed to look at?

Jesus.

Hebrews 12:1-2: the only way to get over pain is to look to Jesus, not ourselves.

Yes, you look at your pain, but without looking at it through Jesus’ eyes you don’t heal it–you stoke it.

Working on yourself involves giving your body healthy rest, giving your soul healthy relationships, and giving your heart the opportunity to heal. But sometimes we think “working on ourselves” means that we get to ignore others, abandon our responsibilities, and nurse our hurts. That’s not true! Yes, there sometimes is a time that we must step back from responsibilities because we can’t emotionally handle them. But I know far too many women who have said, “I need to work on myself because my husband hurt me so much and was such a bad father”–and then have withdrawn from family life and let that supposedly horrible man raise those kids by himself.

Working on yourself does not give you license to be selfish. In fact, if done properly, working on yourself should help you become more gracious, more confident, and more at peace, because 2 Timothy 1:7 is real in your life now:

For God did not give you the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

See yourself and your pain through God’s eyes, and the hurt will grow less, the power of God will grow more in your life, and your capacity to love others will expand. See your pain only through your own eyes, and you will become self-absorbed and incapable of loving others.

For the sake of your family and your children, please choose the right focus.

Friday Roundup on To Love, Honor and Vacuum


What’s #1 at To Love, Honor and Vacuum?

Marriage is hard work.  Sometimes bad things can happen.  Sometimes it can be difficult to find the intimacy in your relationship.  Sometimes you just don’t remember that your spouse needs to be reminded that you love them.  Check out all of what this week’s top posts have to offer for you below!

Sometimes emotional abuse is caused by a personality disorder like narcissism. But other times it's just because you've developed really bad habits of interaction. In the latter case, you CAN get through it! Here's one woman's story.#1 NEW Post on the Blog: How One Couple Worked Through Emotional Abuse
#1 on the Blog Overall: Top 10 Tips For Initiating Sex With Your Husband 
#1 from Facebook: 25 Quick Ways To Show Your Husband Love
#2 from Pinterest: Why Do Teenagers Rebel?

Katie Has a New Video Out! See Her in the Shower

…and it’s not remotely X-rated. Though it is kinda funny:

I Made Keith talk about the time he struggled with his faith…and how I didn’t particularly help

It was for our podcast for my patrons–the people who support this site for as little as $5 a month. You get all kinds of different cool benefits as a supporter! And this weekend I’m recording a special podcast with my daughter Rebecca when I’m in Ottawa helping her with her book on why she didn’t rebel.

Check out how you can get more access to behind the scenes stuff by becoming a patron!

Have a great weekend, everybody!

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