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Living with an emotionally wounded spouse

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Bishop Charles Ighele


About twenty years ago, I bought a book written by a pastor about the relationship he had with his dog. He said he was so close to his dog that if he went swimming with his dog and drifted towards the deep end of the water; his dog would swim after him- pulling his legs as if saying, ‘Don’t go too deep’. He said that once in a while, when his mother was looking the other way, he would sneak the dog into his bedroom and it would sleep in his room. He truly loved this dog.

Whenever it was time for him to come home from school every day, the dog would wait in front of the house, with its tail wagging in delight to welcome him home.

One fateful day, as he walked towards his home from school, some other dogs started barking viciously at him. His dog sighted him and ran towards him to fight off the other dogs and save his beloved owner and friend. As the dogs challenged one another, they strayed into the road right in front of a moving car. The car sped off, but there on the ground laid his beloved dog injured and bleeding after being hit by the car. He ran to carry the dog, so he could take it home for treatment, but each time he tried holding it, the dog would attempt to bite him. This process went on until his beloved dog finally bled to death.

The lesson Pastor J. Richards was trying to pass in this book is that hurting people bite. In the course of growing up, many people may have passed through emotional wounds and pains, and if these wounds are not healed and the pains dealt with before marriage, it is very likely that such people will behave in a manner their spouses may not understand.

The harshness, the in-built defence mechanism and some of the easy flowing tears may be as a result of the painful past. A little spark, a little matter can cause a volcanic eruption and make such people behave in a manner that their spouses may not understand. It is on this basis that I normally advise couples to meet marriage counselors for the healing of wounded emotions before getting married.

I tell them that in as much as they will never find the best footballer in the world going to play a football match with a serious injury until he is healed, so also it is not good for a man or woman to go into marriage without healing injured and painful emotions.

Years ago, my wife and I had to handle a matter between a pastor’s wife and the church congregation. She picked up quarrels with the people when the issues at stake were not enough to cause anger or quarrels. When we dug deep into the matter, we discovered that many years ago, her husband who is also the pastor of the congregation was not well treated by the people a couple of times. Even though the people had by now matured, changed and moved on to love their pastor better than they did in the past, any innocent error by them made her pick quarrels.

When she was made to realise that she had wounds in her memories that needed to be healed, she listened, repented and uprooted the perceived past acts of injustice from her heart. Her marriage and relationships then stabilised.Meet a highly skilled marriage and family councilor, if your spouse keeps behaving in a manner you cannot understand. It may be as a result of a past pain. Wounded emotions can be healed. Love you.


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Charles Ighele
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