We started ministering to mid-singles because they were underserved. Mid-singles are unique. Their needs are fundamentally different from those of most married and settled people. One of the biggest ways mid-singles are different comes down to trauma. Mid-singles and and even former mid-singles who have remarried have almost all experienced major losses, disappointments, and pain on a level that most settled, married, and never divorced or widowed members of the church cannot fully understand.
Imagine that you are at church on a Sunday and someone brushes past you in the hallway and bumps you on the back. What would you do? Most people would simply say excuse me and say hello. Now let's change that situation with just one different factor. The day before getting bumped, you were lying on the beach and fell asleep while the sun was beating down on your back for 3 hours. Now that little bump produces searing pain throughout your entire body. You reflexively recoil and back into the wall, causing you even greater pain. In an irritated voice you might say "Hey, watch out! That hurt!"
The difference in the two scenarios is that in the second, you have pre-existing pain and are more easily hurt. That is a metaphor for emotional trauma. When you have trauma, you are nursing emotional injuries and when someone pokes one of those injuries, you are triggered. That means that a normally healthy, rational, and mature person unnecessarily goes into fight or flight mode and either lashes out or recoils and turns away. When you have two people in a relationship together who have serious pre-existing “emotional sunburns,” you are set up for lots of misunderstanding and pain. When you transfer your pain from a former relationship to your current partner, we call that transference. It isn't right or fair, but it is totally natural. A new partner just steps into the shoes of the old one.
So, it is important to pursue healing and learn to be self-reflective, so that we can step out of a situation and look at it more objectively—instead of behaving like a wounded animal defending itself. It is even valuable to be able to see the trauma in your partner and be more understanding, patient, and compassionate.
When people trigger us, we can see it as a gift. It is an opportunity to work through that trauma and heal it. Sometimes we liken trauma to a computer virus running in the background. It isn't directly obvious, but it is causing your computer to make mistakes and creates a lot of glitches. When we release trauma, we discover more of our true nature and we can move toward healthier relationships with less fear.
How do we treat each other when emotional triggers come up? Do we respond with our own triggers, judge them to be immature, or do we offer compassion? A big part of the solution is just to understand what trauma is and look for the ways it is affecting you and how it affects your partner. It is about becoming self-reflective. It's a common cliché that "the devil you know is better than the devil you don't." When we understand where a particular problem is coming from, it becomes less scary and insurmountable. It becomes possible for us to deal with it rather than hide from it or fight it. That is our challenge to you today.
Enjoy this week’s featured video on “Emotional Sunburns” and our associated weekly podcast: “Why Do Little Things Hurt So Much?” Our short of the week is about “Honoring Choice.”
FEATURED THIS WEEK
LILY Pod Episode 81: Why Little Things Hurt So Much (30min)
LILY Tube Video: Emotional Sunburns (6min)
LILY Tube Short: Honoring Choice (1min)
To get a copy of "Intentional Courtship" on Amazon and create more love in your life in 2022, visit Intentional Courtship.
To discover what life coaching can do for you personally, visit LILY Coaching and make an appointment with one of us.
If you enjoy this letter, forward to a friend. Our goal is to support as many mid-singles and later-married couples as possible!