Reprinted with permission from Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Before we can get to the glory years of marriage, we must persevere through the gory years of marriage. The emotional junk we unwittingly bring into our marriages will guarantee us some gory years.
When we feel deeply in love, especially when we are dating, or in the honeymoon phase of our marriage, many of our painful emotions seem to have disappeared. That “in love” feeling is like balm in Gilead. When we’re in love, we feel like Lauryn Hill in that song “Nothing Even Matters.” Being in love makes us feel brand-new. We have met our mate, and his love affirms us in ways we never imagined. We are so excited about hearing from him, seeing him, being with him every day, nothing else matters. Whatever negative emotions we were feeling before he came gallivanting into our life seem to have vanished with the wind. We feel better than we ever felt before. We forget about all those negative emotions—until they come back to the surface for us to finally resolve them.
Marriage will not erase all those negative emotions. In fact, marriage may be the vehicle through which you finally are delivered. In marriage we are forced to deal with those negative emotions and to seek healing. If we had issues of fear, abandonment, and/or rejection before we fell in love, those issues will come up again in our marriage. Those issues may even be compounded by marriage, because now we’ve got someone up close and personal witnessing what we are dealing with and calling us to account for it.
Early in my marriage, I sometimes felt neglected, believing Creflo was spending too much of his time in the ministry. I would often become upset with Creflo because I didn’t feel that I was as important to him as I should have been. I didn’t understand why he was so ambitious about developing the ministry and so forth. During my first pregnancy, and right before delivery, he was traveling all around the world, a time when I thought he should have been at home with me, holding my hand. He wasn’t intentionally being insensitive and distant toward me, but I saw it that way because we allowed the ministry to be our world instead of God and family.
As time passed, I eventually became so frustrated that I had to look to God instead of my husband for my happiness. And as I began to focus on God, I realized my husband was simply trying to do what God had called him to do. It wasn’t long before my husband started looking better to me! I was no longer angry with him. It’s amazing how a situation can remain the same but our experience in it can change drastically—because we perceive it differently.
Every woman wants to be accepted and feel important. As the mother of three daughters and two sons, I’ve come to understand this even more. In fact, whatever stage of life we are in, no matter how old we are, we always want to know we are accepted—no matter what. When we feel rejected on some level, it can produce feelings of inferiority, anger, and self-doubt.
The world today is full of hurting, rejected women who really want to be loved. Roots of rejection can go down deep, causing a host of emotional challenges and behavior that can surface later in life. In fact, many adults are actually rejected children on the inside, doing everything in their power to gain validation through someone or something outside of God. They seek relationships, jobs, and material goods to compensate for what is missing inside. The negative emotion of rejection continues to fuel their insecurities and low self-esteem.
When a woman does not deal with the feelings of rejection in her soul, she becomes open to being taken advantage of. Because of her need to be accepted, she may compromise her standards or values in an attempt to secure a relationship. Doing this only leads to more problems and eventually ends up costing her peace of mind, emotional well-being, and, in some cases, her life itself.
In order to deal with the pain of rejection and other painful emotions, we must have the courage to ask God, and to look within. If we deny having deeper issues, we delay our deliverance. Looking within may require us to face some very tough issues, but as we expose and uncover them, we allow God to do His work in us. Then the experience becomes a testimony to others of the goodness and faithfulness of God.
Taffi Dollar is a world-renowned author, teacher and conference speaker. Together with her husband, Creflo Dollar, she pastors World Changers Church International (WCCI) and World Changers Church - New York. She founded both the WCCI Women’s Ministry as well as Prestige Ministry, both geared towards assisting and empowering women. She serves as the CEO of Arrow Records, a Christian recording company, and as a guest panelist for numerous music festivals and workshops. Taffi holds a bachelor’s degree in Mental Health and Human Services. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and five children. www.taffidollar.org/