Relational Attacks

Only up to comment #150, but wanted to post this before the thread wore out / got buried by food or football.


The other day, my beloved companion of over forty years and I traversed another difficult patch. (Someone said on some thread recently, all fights are about stupid stuff.) Afterward, she read me what I've quoted below -- sorry for it being kinda long.

She introduced it by recalling something I've sometimes said, if the Devil set out to mess up our lives, relationships, family (immediate and extended), how would it be different than it has been, the obstacles internal and external we've faced?


Relational Attacks
(from Captivating by John & Stasi Eldredge)

Another common enemy that often is at work in women's relationships is a spirit of accusation. In our friendships, in our relationships with peers at work, and especially in our marriages, we often feel that we are a disappointment to others, that they disapprove of us. We feel in their presence that we are not enough, or that we are too much. After we leave a time with them, we're plagued by a deep sense of failing. We feel frustrated and irritated and ashamed that we feel that way. Our hearts often land in shame and isolation, or we go to resentment ... and isolation.

Do you know what I am talking about? Do you recognize this in your own life? That replaying of conversations you've had with people, that sense of having blown it, or that other sense of just being really irritated at them? Have you noticed how the feelings grow as you continue to mull it over? Now, who do you suppose would have a vested interest in ruining your relationships? This is exactly What Paul warned the Corinthians about when he said, "For we are not unaware of his schemes" (2 Cor. 2:11).

Well, a spirit of accusation was operating in our marriage for the first ten years of our married life. I felt John's disapproval over how I spent my time, my relationship with God, even how I chopped vegetables. I felt as though everything I did disappointed him somehow. I could not live up to his (unspoken) desires. It's hard to offer your heart and love to a person when you feel that way. Our tendency is to withdraw in shame or anger. At least, that's what I do.

Then one night, after an unusually uncomfortable dinner, John wanted to know how he was failing me. He often felt, he said, that I was disappointed in him, that he couldn't do anything right, that I disapproved of how he lived and who he was.


This was unbelievable to me. I felt nothing of the sort toward him. I wanted to be more like him. I told him that I didn't feel that way toward him, but I certainly felt that from him - felt that I was a deep disappointment to him. He told me that was utterly untrue. He felt nothing of the sort. It was then that John and I realized we were not alone in the room. We were being attacked by a spirit of accusation that had effectively worked between us for ten years, operating to isolate us from one another and ultimately destroy our marriage.

We got mad. Together, we took a stand against it and commanded it to leave. This can feel a little weird at first, talking to the air and saying stuff like, "I bring the cross of Christ against you. In Jesus' name I command you to leave." Sometimes you have to be firm and pray several times. As Peter said, "firm in the faith" (1 Pet.5:9, emphasis added). But leave it does!

What a relief. What a breakthrough for us. To be able to look into my husband's eyes now and not have mine clouded over by false accusation allowed me to see his love for me as true and real and deep. We now could believe that we liked each other, were for each other, and that the truest thing in our marriage was committed love.

It changed everything.