Low end of the spectrum: Bitter, hostile, dangerous, venomous, requires a restraining order.
High end of the spectrum: Chaos, drama, total dissatisfaction, indifference.
Objective: Quickly move out of the danger zone up to merely struggling as the first big step… then find a way to normalize the relationship into the Mediocre/Average range if possible.
It would be delusional to think that people at this end of the marriage continuum could become a happy, well adjusted couple all in one leap.
Even Superman would have trouble leaping over this building without a very long running start!
Recommendation: Get help now.
Stop working on your relationship and start working on YOU.
Emphasize both your FAITH and your PERSONAL GROWTH missions at the same time.
Tumultuous… Shipwrecked… Dangerous…
There are many ways people describe marriages at this end of the continuum. We offer these entry points to help you better bracket where you are right now, should you even THINK your marriage is Toxic.
In Tumultuous marriages, you will find characteristics where one or both of the partners are manically unrestrained, manipulative or unbridled… over-stretching all reasonable boundaries. Often times this can include a partner who is determined to save their partner by enabling them. It may be that the husband or wife is bent on self-destruction in an attempt to escape, either from their past or from the world as it is.
It is important to understand that many people in tumultuous to toxic relationships may have various deep-seated psychological issues that can only be addressed — and treated — by a trained professional. While the symptoms vary, the prime characteristic is a total lack of EMPATHY. Empathy is the ability of one person to put themselves into another person’s shoes… to actually feel and sense what the other person is feeling. Many people with personality or mood disorders (from clinical depression… to bipolar or other personality disorders… to full-blown sociopathic or psychotic behavior) have virtually no ability to see others correctly. In many cases, this shows up as a “detachment from reality syndrome” where there is no real connection between the facts at hand and how they are seen, interpreted and acted upon.
Shipwrecked marriages are all about staying afloat. At any point a marriage can run aground, become stranded and stuck. More often than not, a spouse will come into a marriage carrying an emotional dysfunction or agenda that is not apparent to the other one. This could be a partner that is overly materialistic, where they value financial security above all else, or to have status in which they value things in order to give the perception that they appear secure. Marriages started with a “safety” purpose, where the wife with a traumatic past chooses a nice, quiet man to avoid conflict and pursues a stress-free life, or a marriage started for the purpose of a “rescue” where both spouses fled prior traumatic in their lives. They are glad to have survived, and don’t ask for much more.
Dangerous marriages are where either or both the spouses brings in a toxic dysfunction (however you want to define dysfunction) or when a well establish mediocre marriage has a spouse that begins to bring in self-destructive behavior — from dumb choices or dumb actions — such as wild manic decisions, erratic mood changes, etc. At some point, these behaviors can become dangerous to either party… and in extreme conditions, result in death.
Before continuing, please take a moment to review a few of the characteristics (above) of a TOXIC Marriage. Read these out loud to yourself: Poisonous, virulent, noxious, deadly, dangerous, harmful, injurious, pernicious, malicious, malevolent, hostile, vicious, spiteful, bitter, venomous, vindictive, vitriolic, rancorous, malign, mean, nasty, bitchy, catty — requires a restraining order…
If you are on this page, and taking it seriously, our hearts go out to you. The good news is that you can start, right now, to move up towards good… to great… to exceptional. But it is going to take a lot of work.
You, and only you can decide if your marriage is worth saving. That is the small question.
The larger question? You must decide if your life is worth saving, and if so, how are you going to quickly move from a position of weakness, danger and helplessness… to safety and success.
There is hope. There is a path to happiness. One step at a time is all we ask of you. We pray that you take that step now. Get Marriage With Purpose…
“When marrying, ask yourself this question: ‘Do you believe that you will be able to converse well with this person into your old age?’ Everything else in marriage is transitory.” — Friedrich Nietzsche
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