Can marriage heal one’s childhood wounds?
This was a topic someone brought up in an email that I thought would be a good thing to write about. I loved thinking about in light of our own marriage because we’ve had personal experience with this. 🙂 Yes, I do think marriage can offer a chance for someone to heal from the wounds of their childhood, through the love of their spouse. My own childhood was extraordinarily fortunate, and I was always very close with both of my parents, and still enjoy close bonds with both of them. It was perfect by any means, but it was pretty close. But for my husband, he was the scapegoat child of his immediate family, and had a very traumatic experience with emotional, verbal and physical abuse. And like what normally happens when there’s this situation, his siblings didn’t experience that same treatment, all the abuse is usually heaped onto the child who is treated as the scapegoat. Even as a child he knew it was unfair and abusive, it was made worse in that he was also alienated from his siblings as they (in his opinion) were closer together and would leave him out of things. He was isolated and lonely a lot, just a very painful childhood. The hardest part of having parents who make this mistake is that they usually don’t see that they did any wrong. It’s part of a narcissistic parenting style (to have a kid who is the, “Golden Child,” or, “Scape-goat,” etc.), which explains why there really isn’t a good solution for confronting it (the only thing that works with narcissism is to limit contact as much as possible… they will never actually apologize or admit they were wrong).
His relationship was so difficult with his parents that before we met, when he’d go back to his home-city, he wouldn’t even let his parents know he was there (he’d stay with friends secretly just to not have to see his own family). He’s told me many times that the love and stability I’ve provided for him in our marriage, and given to him and our kids in the life we’ve built together, has healed him in deep ways he didn’t even think was ever possible. So yes!!! You absolutely can heal your wounds or your spouse’s wounds within the safety of a beautiful, loving and stable marriage.
We have what he never experienced growing up, and that’s wonderful he’s able to change the entire direction of his family’s legacy by giving our kids this gift and accomplishment of a good marriage and loving, kind, and affectionate environment. I’ve always found it remarkable how different he is and was from his family, and this difference is what made him create a better life for himself.
He’s managed to change his family’s spiritual legacy with how we’re raising our own children (which is truly remarkable to me how God has worked through this!), and have set them on a path that’s different from most of his family. He grew up with zero spiritual instruction (except if you count Catholic teachings they never lived out in real life), he was never read to from the Bible by his own parents – something that’s heartbreaking to me to imagine a child with parents who knew the Bible, but never read it to their kids. It was an atmosphere of spiritual neglect, while at the same time, heaping shame that he couldn’t meet the Catholic church’s standards (that none of them actually believed in or explained to him anyway). Birth control and abortion acceptance made it a culture of death (and to this day, most of his cousins are childless and have forsaken marriage or defiled the sacrament by living together… sex, marriage and children are not valued or are defiled).
To make matters spiritually worse, his mom and her family actively pursued a form of Latin Catholic divination (I have an Aunt on my side who was heavily into that too). They’d go down to Mexico where he had a Great Aunt who would divine their futures, and no surprise, one time she warned his mother about me, and wanted him to stay away 😂! In reality, he credits his relationship with me as bringing him into a (finally real) relationship with God, but I’ve always found it funny the satanic diviner didn’t like the chance of me in their family system. Of course she didn’t 😂! My husband has mentioned more than a few times how he doesn’t believe he would have succeeded near as much in life, or ever had a valid relationship with God if he’d married someone they actually approved of and liked… someone who fit into their spiritually dead environment.
All I have to do is look at our family now – we have kids who love God, who will grow up having unshakable beliefs and actually read His Word, a marriage full of love, passion, and undying loyalty – I feel so thankful God’s hand was all over creating that!