Yesterday I posted a wonderful article on FaceBook written by a friend about the responsibility of parents to not only teach their children about what is appropriate behavior for themselves while dating, but how we must start teaching them about what an unhealthy and abusive relationship might look like.
What we failed to do is show them what unhealthy looked like. We talked about being respected and loving God and praying for each other and praying together and how important all those things were but we didn’t talk about how those things could be manipulated and twisted to look good on the outside, all while hiding ugly on the inside. We didn’t talk about mental illness and how you can’t fix crazy. We didn’t talk about how there are more ways to hurt than with a fist, that words can kill nearly as efficiently as a weapon and that blackmail and veiled threats are not okay, not ever. And, NEVER, EVER a part of a loving relationship.
Via: Peace and Quiet
While I talked with the author of this article we discussed about how we can use 1 Corinthians 13 as a guide to have this talk with our children about what an unhealthy relationship looks like and that an abusive relationship doesn’t always mean being hit to be hurt.
Guidelines for identifying an unhealthy relationship using 1 Corinthians 13
Love is patient – a healthy relationship will never push you to do something you don’t want to do. It will wait patiently if you have prior obligations and never insist you cancel plans because they “need” you more. Insisting that they come first is not flattering, it’s abusive and says they don’t really care about you.
Love is kind – a healthy relationship has no meanness allowed. It will not seek to belittle you or make you feel that you aren’t good enough unless you do what they want. It doesn’t call you names, but seeks to build you up.
Love does not envy – a healthy relationship will never be jealous of time you spend with friends and family.
Love does not boast – a healthy relationship will never consist of hearing all the time about the good things that have been done for you. It will never make you feel like you aren’t good enough and you should be grateful that you have the relationship.
Love is not proud – a healthy relationship has no need for pride. It will never make fun of those who have less or aren’t the same. It will be humble in all areas of the relationship and in personal life.
Love is not rude – a healthy relationship will never say uncalled for things about anyone and will not use words that are inappropriate. It will seek to build up those weaker or those who are struggling and not tear them down.
Love is not self-seeking – a healthy relationship is about “us” and never “me” or “I.” Its words and actions reflect a desire to benefit both parties in the relationship and never focuses on the single person.
Love is not easily angered – a healthy relationship is patient with feelings and expresses anger in only a constructive and non-hurting way. It doesn’t blow up, fly off the handle or become enraged. If there is something wrong that causes anger, it seeks to solve the problem together rather than just react.
Love keeps no record of wrongs – a healthy relationship will never hold your faults over your head. It will seek to make you feel good about yourself and will never try to make you feel guilty about your past.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth – a healthy relationship is one that happily follows the law of the land, the parents and law of your religion. It will never ask you to do something that is wrong because it will make your relationship better. It will respect the rules you follow.
Love always protects – a healthy relationship has no fear and is always a safe place.
Love always trusts – a healthy relationship doesn’t show jealousy for who you are talking to or what you are doing if they aren’t involved. It takes you at your word and doesn’t require you to prove anything to them.
Love always hopes – a healthy relationship is working together to a common goal of happiness with a future.
Love always perseveres – when all the above things are followed in a healthy relationship, love will be there. It may not end up as a dating relationship, because there may be someone even better for you, but love will always be there in a friendship.
Although we have taught so much to our children about how we expect them to behave sexually, morally and personally in a relationship; we’ve got to make sure they know that even if they are following the rules, an unhealthy relationship can take them in, fool them and hurt them.
Our kids need to be aware that healthy love doesn’t contain an ounce of fear and if they feel any fear, it’s time to re-evaluate the health of the relationship. If their dating partner is showing jealousy, anger (even if it isn’t directed at them) isolating them, manipulating them to do things against the rules or shaming them in any manner, it’s time to involve an adult and leave the relationship. They need to know the cycle of domestic violence and be aware of the behavior that’s being shown.
Dating is some fun stuff! You are going through the same steps that you will take later when you are looking for a spouse.
Just because you aren’t marrying this dude or chic, doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to demand being honored as a husband would honor his wife. You don’t think you would accept being hurt in a marriage, why accept it when you are dating?
Don’t ever think you deserved it or they will change because they love so much. Don’t accept explanations of how they’ll never do it again. Don’t accept the tears and the flowers. Don’t excuse your fear to make someone else happy.
If you are sitting there thinking “oh, they can change…it was a one time thing…just reacted bad…they are under a lot of pressure…” You are making excuses and not helping that person. A person will never change for someone else (nor do you deserve that burden because you are accepting their blame) a person will only change for themselves and you should walk away while they are doing all their changing. Involve trusted adults and let them know that you are scared.
Love has no fear. Remember that above it all.
Categories: june 2013 diary entry