Sunday, June 2, 2013

Dealing With Emotional Baggage

We have addressed "gender differences", so now are moving on to "Emotional Baggage in Marriage".

Counseling scenario often = 1) typical marital issues, or 2) personal/emotional issues - brought into marriage

Marital Issues = problems caused by or inherent to  a marriage relationship.
ie:  problems that didn't exist until the union

Examples:  money management by 2 people, sexual compatibility, child discipline, dealing with in laws
Maybe gender differences, personal preference, issues of teamwork and cooperation

Marital Issues are:  common (are some in all marriages)
Therefore:  relatively easy to diagnose and address

Emotional Issues - Emotional Baggage - not problems caused by the union, but rather - unresolved issues brought into the union
Examples:  passion --> frigidity (many times because of childhood sexual abuse)
                 lying and deceitfulness - (formed in foster system/survival)
                 Vow of "no woman will control me" - (because of domineering mother)

So..........Emotional Issues/Emotional Baggage - on one hand causes problems in the marriage
But, is not caused By the marriage.
Princess Attitude
Entitlement Attitude
Helpless Victim Attitude/Defeatist Attitude
Better than others Attitude - extreme pride
Inferior to others Attitude - low self-esteem/insecurity
Suspicious of others Attitude
 Chauvinism/feminism/sexism/racism ---> "all women are deceitful"/"all men are domineering"
(Therefore:  suspicion of spouse!!)
Control issues - no woman/man/______ will tell me what to do!!!!

Fear of bonding - (if get close people will use you/hurt you...)
Fear of sex - (duty, vulgar, nasty, harmful) (painful!)

Whatever the cause, it's created issues like:
Contempt for others - contempt for rich/poor/jocks/cowboys
Stubbornness/hard heartedness/Pigheadedness
Social withdrawal -->socially inept
Being overly sensitive - and showing it or hiding it.

Creates:  insecurity, anger, bitterness, hatred, envy, jealousy!  unwilling to see/admit a problem.
Creates inner vows - "I'll show them" w/money/accomplishments/guns/bomb!!

"My parents made me go to church.... and I'll never....." etc., etc., etc.


1)  Baggage - because brought it with you (unpacked in the relationship)

2)  Personal - because it's yours, belongs to you
Causes problems for spouse, but NOT the spouse's problem - it's YOURS!!!

3)  Emotional - because it's deep-seated/solidly rooted feelings!!
"I'm a decent person and feel strongly about this so it must be right!!!

4)  Mental - because affects how you think/see/perceive - (world view)
AND how you think and feel leads to how you act/react/respond

5)  Unresolved - because problem is not past experience(s)
The problem is past experience(s) not having been resolved/dealt with/cleared up

6)  Issues/Problems - because = problem!!! - and creates more problems.
Your feelings/conclusions are contrary to God's will for you.... so
A) hinder growth/maturity  and B) hinder your ability to give and receive love.

may be inherited, learned, environmental, introduced (by trauma), these are Real causes,
BUT, may even be perceived/an imagined cause

POINT: = these (any) unresolved emotional issues =
1)  Contrary to God's will and intent for you
2)  Hinder your growth/maturity
3)  Hinder your ability to give and received in a relationship.  Christianity is about relationships.

In summary:  1)  it's sin/wrong/detrimental!!!
and               2)  you  have to be the one to deal with emotions!

1.  We all have emotional baggage - everybody has some!
Because - we are sinners - raised by sinners - in a sinful world

2.  Emotional baggage comes in all levels of intensity
          Some = minor - prejudice against little dogs
          Some = major - prejudice against little boys/girls!!!
Most issues and not big but compare to a thorn in yr. shoe!! - may not be terrible but can change the way you walk, etc. till it's removed.

3.   The emotional health of a marriage cannot exceed the emotional health of the individuals within the marriage.  A ___________ marriage is made of __________ people.  Fill in the blanks.

4.   The emotional health of one cannot (fully) compensate/offset the emotional baggage of the other.
Can make a difference/ can help, but cannot make the relationship what it should be.

5.   Emotional issues in one tend to create emotional issues in the other. - Example:  abusive alcoholic --> wife=???

6.   Emotional issues in parents tend to create emotional issues in the children.
Example:  who is more likely to be physically abusive???
                                                     sexually abusive??
                                                     Domineering???  etc

NOTE:  most of the illustrations are radical for the sake of illustration.
But, remember, emotional issues come in small doses more often than in large doses.
Example:  termites destroy more homes in a year's time than do tornadoes, so why isn't the news media all over that????

Application:  Note - the message = dealing with emotional baggage in marriage.

How Not to Deal With It
Denial   Indifference    Stonewalling    Blame Transfer   Defeatism (helpless victim)


#1.  Admit generally - Rom. 3:23 - you are a sinner/raised by sinners/in sinful world....

#2.  Assess continually - (doesn't mean all day, everyday.... But ongoing!!!)
Note:  emotional baggage = very easy to discern .... IN OTHERS!!!

"Need Objective measure" - ie:  The Word - 2 Tim. 3:14-16 - don't measure by feelings but by the truths in God's Word.
Note:  (therefore)  Value of  a) Bible Study   b)  preaching and teaching   c)  exposure to the Holy Spirit

#3.  Admit specifically - 1st. step in AA?  - "I am an alcoholic".  Say the same thing God says about.

#4.  Respond Scripturally
Confess/apology/forgiveness/repentance  - John 8:31-32

Prov. 14:1   Prov. 24:3-4

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