I recently heard a pastor where I go to Church say, “Whenever we are hurting inside, we don’t want anyone to get close to us. We push people away, and we hurt anyone who gets too close.” Moral of the story for those who do not have a weak stomach for love? Breaking through a fortified heart is a major chore, but fully worth it when it comes to love if you are willing to go the distance.
I think that there is a great deal of truth in what this pastor said, but feel that it may not always be ‘hurt’ that a person feels who is seeking to help the one they love, but rather disappointment, frustration, and even resentment if the journey is too long. Yes there is emotional pain that comes when we are rejected or pushed away by the very person we love and want to help. Pain is a part of life in a fallen world. The good news is that the result of success for pressing through is far greater and far more rewarding that allowing you and your mate to grow apart and ultimately fail in your relationship.
Relationships – whether in marriage or not – are work. Make no doubt about it, they are flippin’ work. BUT, the successful relationships that you will hear and read about are those relationships where one or both of the couple have remained consistent in their conviction that the relationship is worth the work, and where there is a sustained commitment to communicate – even when only one of the two is able to for a season in their life.
It works both ways too. The one that is hurting and protective of their heart tends to push away and resist intimacy, because it means revealing the pain and having to deal with raw emotions. This by itself is a major threat to their already fragile heart that does not want to suffer ridicule, rejection, or abandonment. On the flip side, the one that has rolled up their sleeves to help the hurting soul can easily become disappointed, frustrated, and resentful because their lover is continually shutting down emotionally, avoiding confrontation with their struggles, or pushing away so as to avoid the heart pain they have from surfacing. They guard their heart against any potential further pain to their own detriment.
When it comes to love relationships, this sort of conflict can be very dangerous. This is because the devil hates happy endings, and especially ‘match made in heaven love stories’. He will do whatever he can to bring it to an end. He is a wolf in sheep’s clothing that would seek to tempt or lure a woman who is in love away from that man she loves, whether that man she loves is her lover or her husband. The same can be said about an alluring woman, who ‘puts out the vibe’ around men who are vulnerable, even if the woman putting out the vibe feels justified in keeping her eye open for opportunities for a new romance to replace her old one that is not going as well as she had hoped it would.
The devil sets traps for the one that is being pushed away. He plants thoughts that it is OK, because the person you have been in love with will never change, or maybe reminds him or her that the person that is struggling has told you that you should keep your options open. LISTEN! If someone is struggling with intimacy and is pushing you away, realize that it is not them rejecting your love, but just being afraid to trust as you go digging around in their hearts. I have been in these shoes before – of being fearful of intimacy, fearful of inadequacy, fearful of being dumped or rejected or abandoned. It’s a yucky place to be. The natural defense – at least in my case – was to push the person who loved me away by telling them that they could find someone else much nicer or richer or better looking than I was. I know. What a lame way to deflect the love of a woman. It was like I was shooting myself in the foot and then reloading the gun and doing it again, and again and again.
Again, speaking from personal experience, the individual who is hurting and pushing away is screaming in their heart that they are trapped in it and can’t find their way out of the places they feel trapped in. This is when you really dig in and make sure they know that you are NOT going anywhere, that you are committed to the relationship, and are going to do whatever it takes to break through their fortified heart. If you are the one being pushed away, listen up. The biggest and most successful trap of the enemy is that of putting someone else of the opposite sex in your path, or luring you away from the one that you have been in love with – whether for a year, five years, or 20 years.
The devil plants thoughts that are so convincing in times like these that your rationale for infidelity or unfaithfulness will be almost too appealing to resist. Want some advice ladies. If you are a woman that truly does love a man who is struggling emotionally, and the thoughts come that say you would be better off looking elsewhere and throwing away the months or years you have invested into your present love relationship…. DO NOT DO IT! Don’t throw away the baby with the bath water in your love relationship. Remain committed and faithful, and it will pay off in huge dividends.
Reality check for women who are in a relationship with a man who is struggling emotionally and pushing you away – if you are a woman, men are always going to be sweating you. The world is filled with pretty faces and smooth talking, seductive, testosterone driven, worldly minded men who will ultimately cause you great heart ache. If you open your thoughts and emotions up to the possibility, then you can bet your momma’s last pair of underwear that the devil will swoop in and make you think that this new guy is from God Himself. You will think that this is your escape from what you are now believing to be a failed love relationship. Don’t be so foolish (men or women) to think that bailing out of a troubled relationship and jumping into another one to fill some void you now have, is going to make your new relationship anything better. Most always, the ‘rebound’ relationship will be a big disappointment in the end, and you will have thrown away the best thing that ever happened to you in the first place with the man you were so faithful to for so long.
Hint: It is only a failed relationship when you – the stronger and braver of the two that are in it – decide you will not love them any longer. In a nutshell, say what you may to make yourself seem the victim or the one being rejected, but it is you who is giving up. The saddest part of this is that in most cases, relationships are just on the cusp of a major break through when someone does give up.
OK, NOW FOR YOU MEN… Pay close attention!
Men, if you are struggling with inner demons, and have someone in your life that truly loves you, do NOT push them away. Do NOT allow your fears and distrust of being hurt, exposed, rejected or abandoned by that woman keep you from allowing her to chisel away at and break through into your heart’s heart so that you can find healing. God is working through her. If you reject her, you reject God’s love for you through her. Listen… it’s better that you would be rejected for your honesty, than to ultimately lose a woman that could have gone the distance with you if you had just been willing to be more transparent and vulnerable to them. My point is that you will never know unless you are willing to go deep with them by letting them into your heart in all it’s beauty and ugliness, joy and pain.
It is a MIRACLE of God’s love that a man with a wounded and hurting heart is sent a woman who will take the time – no matter how long it takes – to break through the fear and distrust that fortifies a wounded and hurting heart. This type of love from a woman is seldom found, but I believe that it is fully possible to have miracles like this happen. I believe, because it happened to me. I am talking like five years of blood, sweat, and tears by the woman who pursued my heart with a pick ax to break through the thick walls of my distrust for women and fear of intimacy. It got so bad that she had to tunnel up under my heart’s walls. Then, once she did, what she found was a mess. She found my unhealthy, bleeding, wounded, and broken heart, and she still loved me all the same. It was her persistent patience with me for all those years since she had first given her heart to me, that ultimately laid waste to the fortified walls of my heart and captured my heart’s heart.
Guys, LISTEN! This is the kind of woman you WANT to keep around. This kind of woman is truly a champion among all women. She is a woman that exemplifies Proverbs 31. “The heart of her man/husband safely trusts her, so he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life (v11-12). Her children rise up and call her blessed; her man/husband also, and he praises her (v28). I know a woman like this. What an amazing woman she is! So, DO NOT do something stupid and be prideful, arrogant, and willfully resistant to the woman who says she loves you. GO DEEP with her before it is too late!
OK, back to the women… Pay close attention!
Women, the same goes for you. Let the man that God has brought into your life go deep with you. Do not be afraid to allow your wounded and hurting heart to be made whole through the man who loves you. This is how trust and enduring commitment are forged. There is no fear, struggle, pain, or disappointment in your life that God cannot heal, and God often uses the miracle of a man’s unwavering love for you to bring it to pass. Be willing to open your own heart up and trust your man with your heart. Vulnerability is very appealing and very sexy if you have yourself a good man. And, you would not be with him unless he had some potential, right?