What do divorce, adultery, drug abuse, and suicide have in common? Cowardice. That probably sounds a little too harsh. Let’s call it “fear”. Fear of trying hard and failing anyway. Fear of frustration. Fear that one’s inabilities or incompetency will be exposed. Fear of being identified as a failure. Fear to face the difficulties of life. Lack of confidence in one’s ability to overcome and succeed.
Some say divorce, drug abuse, and suicide are very bad solutions to ordinary problems, but they are not really solutions at all. They are escapes. Running away. Wimping out. Running off the battle field. Going AWOL. An escape from duty, from responsibility.
So, now that we know what the problem is, how do we solve it?
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If we want to live beyond cowardice we need to make a conscious decision — a decision to approach our fears — a decision to face our fears and overcome them by the grace of God. If we want to live worthy of respect and honor, we are going to have to choose to stay in the battle and finish it as though our honor and character depend on it. And, we will have to make that decision regularly and habitually.
When we enter a relationship, we enter a battlefield for honor and integrity. We put our names on the line. Our daily lives will declare and prove who we are whether we are true to our vows or whether we give promises only for selfish and insincere purposes. Our lives will demonstrate to God and ourselves and everyone around us what kind of people we are, whether we have backbone and sincerity of love or not.
We say, “I love you” to our spouses. We also say it to our parents, to our children, and to God. If we are unfaithful to our spouses, what does this say to our children about our love for them? Will we cheat on them, too? Will be be unfaithful to God? Oh, that question is already settled because it is impossible to be unfaithful to our spouses without also being unfaithful to God.
So, what message do people give others about themselves when they bully their loved ones with threats of unfaithfulness, breakup, or divorce without legitimate cause? How can a person threaten unfaithfulness without already being unfaithful at heart?
Bullies are Cowards
Bullies in a marriage are always cowards. They are willing to nag, beat, abuse, swindle, manipulate, and trick their way into getting what they want at all costs to other people, and this is their way of running away from pain. When this doesn’t work, every form of abuse is escalated. Cruel, pain causing speech, swearing, cursing, throwing things, screaming, public embarrassment, misrepresenting other’s words untruthfully, threatening divorce, threatening affairs, flirting to escalate it a little further, one night stands, then transitioning to another partner.
Think of the cowardice of that last step. This is where people run away from a battle and stop blessing their families. Afraid to be alone without someone to provide continual instant gratification in everything, they make a transition to someone who they feel will indulge them and pleasure them before they lay the ax to the root of their own family. That way, the children and the faithful spouse and the rest of the family take the brunt of the agony while the spouse gone AWOL lives in self-indulging pleasure.
To live above this, one merely has to decide to lay aside all the weapons of cowardice and face life straight on by the grace of God with prayer for wisdom and strength.
Marriage does not have to end in divorce if both partners will choose to exercise courage and sincerity of love and stay the course as promised.
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