EDITORS NOTE: This is a guest post by Debi Levendusky, a marriage counselor and non-denominational pastor from Southern Oregon.
You may be wondering what blessings and curses have to do with marriage.
When we think of “Blessings,” we usually think about the short prayer we speak over dinner, or our quick reply when we hear someone sneeze, or possibly even that iconic Irish Blessing we hear on St. Paddy’s Day. And conversely when we think about “curses,” the mind conjures up visions of someone casting a spell while stirring a huge caldron, or possibly some wicked person sticking pins and needles in a little cloth doll.
Throughout the Bible, God speaks about “blessings and curses” frequently; and in the book of James we are told that there are two things that proceed from our mouths; either blessings or curses. (James 3:10)
No matter what our faith is, or what we believe in, the concept of blessings and curses is a reality that has been passed down from generation to generation, either knowingly or inadvertently. There are universities across the nation that are chock full of case studies and statistics that prove this point.
Take the young boy who is raised in a highly dysfunctional family. He is told constantly that he is stupid, he’s an idiot, he’ll never amount to anything, he’s ugly, and so on. This child grows up with low self esteem, worthlessness, anger issues, possibly eating disorders, and much more. Walk in to any prison in America and you’ll hear similar stories from the inmates about their childhoods.
Now take a look at his neighbor, a young boy who is raised in a loving, caring home. He is told constantly that he is loved, he is cherished, that he can become anything he sets his mind to, etc. This child grows up with respect, a loving heart, great self worth, ambition, vision, and more.
The same theory is carried over into our marriages. We can either bless our spouses, or we can curse them. We do this through our words and our actions.
To begin with, there are three common ‘curses’ that married couples unwittingly fall into. These curses come in the form of three words, “never,” “always,” and “whatever.” Many times spouses will tell the other spouse things like, “you never care about me,” “you always argue with me,” or “you never do anything right around here.” Equally problematic is when one partner is trying to talk things out, and the other partner folds their arms across their chest and says, “Whatever!”
These comments and others are basically cursing your partner and your marriage. No-one can walk away from these conversations with any resolve. The one making the comments feels justified, and the one hearing the comments, feels burdened and worthless. You know, after a husband hears “you never care about me” constantly banging in his ears month after month, year after year… it’s only a matter of time before he actually stops caring.
First of all, always and never implies a constant or continuous action, literally a “forever, eternal” action. It is humanly impossible for a husband or wife to “always” or “never” do something.
You know, my husband and I love fishing. And I often tell people I don’t believe in “catch and release,” I believe in “catch and enjoy.” I think some folks take the “catch and release” idea into marriage. They glory in the fun and excitement of the catch. They laugh at all the little twists and turns and the thrill of the chase … and all the little differences between them and the other ‘fish’ out there.
Then after they catch their ‘fish’… their spouse, they inadvertently ‘release’ them by not hanging on to all that fun and excitement that drew them to one another in the first place, throughout the marriage. They have unsuspectingly cursed their marriage and their spouse.
Is it too late for that couple? Absolutely not! They need to turn the curses into blessings. They need to stop mid-stream, turn around and swim against the current that has pulled them apart, and remember the joy of the catch! It’s a tough swim… but in the end it’s well worth the effort.
Debi Levendusky, lives on the Southern Oregon Coast with her husband David, they are both non-denominational pastors and marriage counselors. You can find Debi at The Rock Fellowship Church & South Coast Christian Counseling, firstname.lastname@example.org