The word codependency has a bad rep these days. Many psychologists think the word stigmatizes spouses of adulterers or sexual addicts who are already traumatized by their partners’ sins. Telling these victimized spouses they have a socially-transmitted “disease” is like kicking them when they’re already down.
But there’s another word that sets even more people on edge—idolatry. Many Christians will say, “Well, that’s just an Old Testament word.” After all, it’s used five times as often in the Old Testament as it is in the New Testament, and God himself gives quite an exposition on it in the Ten Commandments.
We don’t have idols like that today. Or do we?
Using Biblical Terminology
When my children were young, my husband and I made the choice to use biblical terminology with them instead of the newest catchphrases. Instead of “follow directions,” we’d say, “Obey.” Instead of “that was rude,” we’d say, “You were disrespectful.” Instead of telling them to try harder in school, we’d say, “You need to work with all your heart.” We did this because it empowered both us and our children to use Scripture to address character issues and sin.
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Vulnerability is defined as “being open for injury.” It doesn’t mean that injury must occur, but simply that you are not trying to protect yourself from being hurt. If someone had told me, “you’re going to feel vulnerable in marriage,” I wouldn’t have believed it. And, since I didn’t know this truth, I wasn’t really prepared for the emotions that I felt on my wedding day. Especially not the feelings of “I’m not enough.”
My “not enough” moment came as my mom, my Aunt and my bridesmaids left the room one-by-one, and I stood alone for the first time that day looking at myself in the mirror. Instead of feeling beautiful (as I had always heard every woman does on her wedding day) I began to pick apart every piece of myself.
I thought: “Look at my hair! I shouldn’t have dyed it last week. It’s way too dark. And it doesn’t even look that primped. And my make-up! Why’d I choose to do it on my own? My arms are insanely skinny! And this dress. Why’d I choose this one? I can’t believe we spent so much money on a dress that doesn’t even look good.”
At that time, I had a history of feeling like I didn’t make the mark somehow. It affected my relationship with others and my relationship with God. But on this day, it made me question if my soon-to-be husband was actually going to go through with this.
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