| On the surface, when deciding why people choose those that they do for mates, the first thoughts that usually come to people are things like:
2. Physically attracted to each other.
3. They have things in common.
4. "God" “brought” them together.
5. And more things like this.
The most famous saying concerning this topic is that, “Opposite’s Attract.” The truth is not so much that “opposites” attract, but rather that the specific neediness of one person, which they believe will be met by someone else, is what attracts the other. It is more like two magnets, each having opposite polarities, when they get close enough, they will be drawn to each other. Each magnet has the “need” for the opposing polarity. In other words, each magnet has built into it a “dependency” to attach itself to another object (something made of metal) which will accept its attraction, but, even better, another magnet, because they both have the power of attraction, and complementary “dependencies.” If a magnet only attaches itself to a metal object, then only the magnet is doing the work, but if the magnet is attached to another magnet, they both do the work. They both give and take. Humans are like magnets in this one manner; they want to get, if they are going to give.
In simple words, this means that what one person lacks, he or she looks for in the other. Like for example, if a woman grows up with dysfunctional thinking which leads her to believe that she deserves not to have a happy life, and that she deserves to be mistreated by others, she will, without conscious thought, look for men who are unfaithful, and which will resort to abuse and/or violence in their effort to control their women. No, I don’t mean that one consciously looks for those things in others. What they are looking for, and what they tell themselves that they are looking for, are two things altogether different.
A good way to best explain this concept is to follow the above thought about the woman and her choice. Let’s make up a situation (which is based on real life circumstances which counselors all over the world encounter with too many of their clients).
Let’s start off with a little girl named Betty. She was born to a couple of parents who themselves were products of dysfunctional families in their own childhood. Betty’s grandfather, on her mother’s side, was a womanizer and a drunk who often came home and beat his wife. Betty’s mom grew to hate her father for what she saw as his mistreatment of her mother. Around the time she was nine years old, one night she woke to find her older cousin fondling her. He forced his hand on her mouth to keep her from screaming, and told her he would hurt her parents if she told anyone. She never told anyone. Betty’s mom grew up angry and in fear of men in her life. When she was old enough, she ran away from home and only returned, to visit her mother, after she learned of her father’s death.
Betty’s dad was also born into a dysfunctional family. His dad and mom constantly argued over the slightest thing. They seemed so busy fighting with each other, that people were surprised that they had three children, two girls and one boy. Betty’s dad was the youngest. One evening Betty’s dad walked into his sisters’ room only to find his dad having forcible sex with his oldest sister. After finishing with her, his dad came out and beat him until he promised not to tell anyone. This went on for two years, until one of the girls had finally told their mom, who promptly called the police and had their dad arrested. The problem with Betty’s dad was that he had already been emotionally traumatized by the rapes of his sisters, and he found himself drawn to pornography and lustful thinking. He hated the idea that his sisters did not defend themselves. He hated what he saw as weakness in them.
It was these two people who found each other. They met after being invitedon a double date with another couple. Betty’s dad was the perfect gentleman. He was polite and courteous with Betty’s mom. He was tall and handsome, quiet and serious, while also full of fun. At least, this was what Betty’s mom remembers. Betty’s mom was also a quiet person, actually more the mousey type, you know, timid and looks like you could startle her easily. The thing that attracted Betty’s dad to Betty’s mom, according to him, was that she laughed at all his jokes. She seemed to have eyes only for him. She made him feel like he was the "King of the World."
They got married very quickly (within six months of meeting), and started having children right off. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons they got married was that Betty’s mom was pregnant, and they wanted to "do the right thing.”
The truth was that Betty’s parents started fighting very soon after meeting. Sure it was small stuff at first, but as time went on, they argued more and more. Betty’s mom was only nineteen when she left home, and that was to go straight into the marriage with Betty’s dad. The fighting only intensified after they got married, with Betty’s dad constantly reminding Betty’s mom that he only married her because she was pregnant, and that he wished he had chosen better. He constantly complained that he did not enjoy having sexual intercourse with her. On a couple of occasions, he had also gotten violent, hitting Betty’s mom.
When Betty was six years old, she remembers her parents screaming that they hated each other. She remembers falling asleep crying and fearful that they may not be there in the morning. She would always ask herself why this was happening to her.
On Betty’s 11th birthday, her mom and dad made her a birthday party. All her cousins and friends were there. They had a great time, and she got lots of presents. Betty was very happy because of this, but she kept looking for the present her dad promised her. He had told her secretly, that he had a special present for her, and that it was a secret. After the party was over, and everyone had gone home, Betty’s mom, who was mostly drunk, put her to bed and went on to sleep her self.
Later that night, Betty’s dad came into her room, and sat next to her in the bed. He woke her and asked her if she wanted her present. She started getting excited and said yes. He started telling her how pretty she was and how much like a woman she was looking. She was a little confused, but she sort of though she understood why he was telling her all of this. Lately she had been noticing that her breasts were growing, and that her body was beginning to take shape. She mostly felt awkward, but just accepted that this was the way she was, and that’s all.
Betty could sense that something was wrong, and it was proven out when her father reached under her T-shirt that she used as a pajama, and started fondling her. She was so startled and scared that she just laid there and did nothing. Her father raped her for the first time that night. After the first night, Betty felt ruined and worthless. She started believing that this had happened to her because she somehow caused it because her breasts were growing. She decided that having an attractive body was a bad thing, because it caused men to want to use you and hurt you. She started dressing down, not in an attractive way, so that she would not draw the attention of men, while at the same time, deep inside of her, wanting to have their approval.
When Betty turned seventeen, she told her mother of what had been happening, and that it had stopped when she was 16. Betty’s mom complained that if it was true, then why hadn’t Betty told her sooner. Betty couldn’t believe that her mom would even question the validity of ther story. She became even angrier, but this time at her mom as well. No one ever reported the assaults to the police. She decided that she probably deserved what had happened to her, and her mom’s lack of concern seemed to confirm it.
Betty had met Arturo when she was 16. They met at a school function; she immediately liked him, but felt that he was not going to really be interested in her. He was handsome and debonair. He played football on the team, and had been responsible for several wins that year. He was kind of like a “big man on campus,” He immediately took a liking to her, he could tell that she adored, and thought highly of, him, and that made him feel good. Arturo liked having her adoration and attention. The problem was that even though he seemed to be popular, at home he was treated like the unloved, red-headed, step-child of an angry father.
Arturo’s dad became angry and bitter, shortly after Arturo’s mom’s death when he was only 10 years old. Arturo and his brother and sister dreaded when the dad came home. He would just yell and scream at them for any little thing that he did not like. Many times Arturo felt angry with his mom for dying and leaving them to this “maniac” of a man. He knew he hated having his father around, but he also knew that he blamed his mom as well. There was one thought that kept bothering him, “You can’t trust those who are supposed to love you to be there always. Someone or something can take them away from you.” She had died in a car accident. He made up his mind to manage his feelings in such a way so that he could not be hurt that severely again.
Meeting and “falling in love” with Betty was, in Arturo’s mind, a Godsend. He “loved everything about her, especially her laugh.” Betty had a slightly high pitched laugh that Arturo thought was adorable.
Three years later, they were both sitting in the counselor’s office. She was ready for a divorce, and he was not convinced that it was not the “best” choice. They said that they “loved” each other, but could not get past the hurt and anger. Betty had found out that Arturo had a female “friend” at work with whom he had been spending much time. They would go out to eat, spend lunch times together, and on a couple of occasions they met after work “for drinks only.”
“That was last year,” she cried to the counselor, “I was going to separate from him, but he cried and promised that he had never done that before, and that he would never do it again.” “So you 'forgave' him?” asked the counselor. “Yes,” she answered, “I believed him.”
"So why are we here, today?” asked the counselor. “He did it again,” she spat out, turning to face Arturo, “I read an IM (instant messaging via the internet) that he sent to another girl, telling her he wanted to meet her.” The counselor asked her what his response had been. She told the counselor that Arturo became very angry and had hit her on the shoulder as he shoved past her to get out of the house. “I know he was just wanted to go out to see her,” cried Betty. She turned to the counselor (a male) and asked him, "What’s wrong with me, am I that ugly that he would want someone else?”
Arturo’s story was that he had met the "other girl” at the job and had become attracted to her. He said that it was “innocent” at the beginning. He said that he and Betty had been arguing for some time over every little thing. He said he used to love being with her, but that she had become more annoying than attractive. He complained that he would try to encourage her to dress up prettier for him, but that she would not. She had stopped telling him how much she liked being with him, and he started believing that she was losing love for him. He said that he tried telling her how pretty she was, but that she would only respond that she wasn’t really pretty, that it was just that he was willing to have someone less attractive in his life.
The counselor asked Betty if she thought of herself as pretty, to which she answered that she was "ok, but I'm no beauty." The counselor asked her why she thought that Arturo had chosen to marry her instead of someone else. She responded that she did not know, and that she did not believe him when he had told her that she really was pretty to him.
When the counselor asked Betty why she had chosen Arturo, she said that it was because, at the time, he made her feel that maybe she really was special. She said that for a while, she felt that she was the most important person in the world to somebody. “What happened to change that in you,” asked the counselor. “I started noticing that he would always be looking at the other girls, and sometimes he even flirted with them in front of me.” “I was just being friendly!” shouted Arturo. “I’m tired of these accusations,” stated Arturo, “I wish she would just accept my word as being good enough!” “Why,” countered Betty, “so that you can do it again?”
When asked if they really wanted to try to save the marriage, they both emphatically said, ”yes.” They wanted to save the marriage, but did not want to continue any more like the way they had been living. They “loved” and “hated” each other.
When confronted with the above scenario, one would have to wonder what it was that drew these two together in the first place. Was it really “love?” Were they physically attracted to each other? Were they what many people call “soul-mates?” What did they have in common when they met? Was it God that brought them together, whether they liked it or not? Why did they pick each other?
So, what was it that really did attract them to each other?
Young girls who are sexually molested (or worse), for the most part, do two things which will impact the rest of their lives. First, they blame themselves for the sexual abuse. In their attempt to reason why it even happened at all, they decide that somehow they must have caused it. There are also those times when the girl involved actually enjoys the molestation, confusing it with it being the adult’s way of showing how much she is loved and appreciated. Only to find out later how terrible and wrong it really was. This will cause her to further question her own feelings after being decieved so deeply.
God made our bodies to react positively and willingly to sexual contact. He intended that we should enjoy the touch and physicality of the sexual act. Girls who are sexually molested by men they trust, may respond pleasurably to the sexual act, while at the same time feel fear and disgust. Later they will decide that they wanted it to happen to them, otherwise their bodies would not have responded the way it did. This will only serve to convince them that they somehow deserved what happened to them. They can even develop a sense of guilt; and guilt must be punished.
Secondly, they decide that they have been ruined for life. “What man would want a ruined woman for a wife?” they question themselves. They somehow believe that just because someone has had sexual intercourse with them, that their bodies are no longer pure and good. Too many times they decide that it no longer matters if they have sex with one or a hundred men, because they are "ruined" anyway. What this accomplishes is that they end up with little to no self-restraint when a man tries to have sex with them. They develop, believe, and live a life of being perpetual victims. They come to believe, deep inside, that men will always want them only to have sex with.
The real problem here is that most of these drastic, life-changing, traumatic, and life-lasting decisions and beliefs are made by a child who still does not have the mental capacity to reason out what really happened. She does not yet know how to understand that these decisions she is making, based on the wrong actions of another, will haunt her and control practically every decision she will make for the rest of her life.Worst of all, her decisions are based on error, believing something that is not true. As far as she is concerned, what happened to her is the REAL proof that she is believing the truth. And, along life’s road, she will make many decisions in which she will put herself in bad situations with men, and further “prove” that she was right.
The loss of a parent, usually the dad, to death, or the divorce (or long term separation) of the parents, can cause young boys to develop a sense of fear of abandonment. This fear is referred to as the “Orphan Syndrome.” Those who suffer from this syndrome have feelings very much like real orphans. Real orphans, or children whose parents have died, and they are being raised by someone else, develop a lasting fear that they will be abandoned again. Even if they get to the point where they can understand mentally that their parents died, and did not choose to just abandon them, their emotions are in a constant state of awareness that no relationship is forever, and that they can lose even the one that they have at present. This fear, in too many cases, produces a self-fulfilling prophecy which is sometimes referred to as the “Job Syndrome.” In the book of job, chapter 3, verses 25 and 26, Job says, “For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me. I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came.” Unlike Job, who did not actually do something to cause his calamity, those suffering from the “orphan Syndrome” will do things which can produce negative results and/or behavior as a responses from others.
Therefore these insecure and fearful boys will grow up to be men who will look for, and find, women who are needy of attention and approval, because they will feel that they can control them. And, these women who are needy of attention and approval, and often desire punishment, will search for and find men who have an abusive need to control close relationships and possibly use violence.
Therefore Betty, who grew up with the need to be approved by men, while at the same time being afraid of them, and carrying a false guilt for having kept the sexual abuse a secret, for which she internally and unconsciously felt she should be punished, was attracted to Arturo, who grew up with a fear of abandonment, and a false belief that everyone would eventually leave him, and with a strong, almost obsessive need to control his closest relationships, especially of his wife (and eventually his children).
It was the internal insecurities and neediness that drew them together. Not God, or love, or physical attraction, but it did turn out to be something that they have in common, they are needy, insecure, fearful, and angry. Unhealthy people seek out unhealthy people to marry, and healthy people seek out healthy people to marry. Healthy people are not drawn to unhealthy people, and though unhealthy people may be drawn to healthy people, the healthy people will not respond to the attraction in a positive manner. Needy and fearful people see the world through distorted perspectives. They wouldn’t recognize a healthy person if they bumped into one.
The next question has to do with whether or not this is also true of all people, that is, that we all choose our mates based on the particular need we happen to have. The answer, at least as far as this article is concerned, is, “yes.” All persons will look for and find the person(s) who will meet their deep felt need, not what they tell themselves is the "real" need. The question is, “what is the need.”
Much of this comes from what is referred to as the “Human Consciousness.” This “consciousness” is made up from all the experiences which humans have dealt with from the beginning. Culture, traditions, values, and more, come from those times in the past when people had to depend on strength and power to survive. “Survival of the fittest,” is the term used for that concept. If one was the strongest, most intelligent, most capable, and/or best educated, one would find ways, not only to survive, but to live feeling secure. It is this human need and desire for survival and security that drives people to do much of what they do. Women, and weaker men, would find and gather themselves to stronger and more capable men for protection and security. Sometimes the price of that protection came with questionable security, but people have always been quite ready to give up security, for the benefit of protection. This accounts for the human need for rulers and kingdoms; people have the tendency to see security and protection in having the right “ruler” over them.
Therefore, people are motivated internally by the desire to find the “person” who will meet their need of security, whether this is what they are conscious of or not. The main reason why people do not consider this aspect when choosing a mate is because it seems to imply that there is either something wrong with them or the person they are choosing. No one wants to consider that because it would make them feel like there is something wrong with themselves for choosing some "sick" person.
Everyone wants to believe that they have been, are now, and always will be healthy, at least mentally, and hopefully emotionally, and many persons are. But even if they are, the reason they choose one person over another still has to do with whatever is their need.
For example, consider the following.
Juan was brought up in a home where dad (a second generation US citizen of Mexican Decent) came to know Jesus Christ before Juan was born. His mom’s family had been citizens even longer. Life before that was rather tough. Juan’s parents struggled early in their marriage, but together came to the conclusion that they needed Christ in their lives and made drastic changes in themselves and their lifestyles. Juan came along after that.
Juan was the oldest of three boys, all of whom did well enough in school. The only real trauma suffered by any of the boys, was when the middle son broke his leg in an accident. Juan’s dad spent as much time as he possibly could with the boys, while still making time for their mom, his job, and playing the bills.
After graduating from high school, Juan informed his parents that he met Lydia and that they wanted to get married. His parents were elated and set about helping with all the preparations.
Lydia came from a family who had been citizens about as long as Juan’s family. Her parents, though not Christians, did encourage her to make her own choices, even accompanying her to some church events, where she was attending. They never came to know Christ personally, but they treated each other well and were content with what they had. Lydia was an only child, but because she was personally confident and outgoing, had many friends. She met Juan at school.
Juan had certain goals and dreams he wants to accomplish, among these are working as an architectural engineer, getting married, and having at least five sons. Lydia has a dream of being a registered nurse. She planned to attend college until she got her certification as a nurse, and then to work in a local hospital.
Lydia and Juan, agreed to take turns attending college classes until they both reached their goals.
The question here is what was it that drew Juan to Lydia, and Lydia to Juan? From the example we can take a few guesses. First of all, either of them could have decided to attend college without having to depend on the help of the other. While it would have been harder, each had the motivation and willingness to meet the challenge alone. On the other hand, since they did choose to include someone else in their lives, we can deduce that they felt the need to have someone else complete them. They obviously felt that they needed someone else in their lives to fulfill the need of companionship.
While companionship is not an actual need (you can live without having other people around), it would not be an unhealthy need, if it were, it still is a strong desire that people feel is important to them. Juan and Lydia may not have wanted to have a companion for security purposes, but they still did not feel completely happy without a companion. What attracted them to each other was the desire for companionship. In this case, Juan and Lydia will end up sustaining the relationship by doing whatever it takes to meet the needs of the other. Everything has a price.
This is also true of God. Why, you should ask yourself, is He going through this whole creation thing? Well, the answer is that God also desires companionship. He created the angels, and somehow they did not meet the need He had for companions. Then He created humans, and, it seems, they will meet His need for companionship. His goal is that in the end He will end up with people who, in spite of all the distractions, attractions, temptations, and other possibilities, still choose to follow Him and be His.
To insure that His goal would succeed, He chose them before the foundation of the earth (Eph 1:4 & 11; Rom 8:29, and so on), made sure that things would work the way He wanted them to (Jeremiah 29:11; Romans 8:28; Psalms 27:33; Proverbs 16:9; Proverbs 20:24; and so on), and will even give them a new universe and world, where He will spend time with them, and they with Him (Revelation 21:1-4).
What Else Can We Learn From This?
One of the most devastating things to happen in a marriage is an adulterous affair, it can finish tearing apart an already delicate and damaged relationship. Understanding the above, about what attracts couples to each other, can also help the counselor in being better equipped to help the couple survive this ego wrenching event. Statistics show that when a man has an affair:
∙ 75% of the time, he will be “forgiven” by his wife.
∙ When he has a second affair, she will “forgive” him 50% of the time, and
∙ When he has had a third affair, she will “forgive” him 25% of the time.
∙ Women will only (statistically) “forgive” an affair 5% of the time when he has done it four times (yes, there are also instances where the woman will put up with it five or more times).
The opposite is true of most men:
∙ 75% of the time they will separate (long-term), and/or divorce their wives for having an affair.
∙ 25% may except it a second time, and
∙ Though the percentage number is very small, they might except a third or fourth time.
The question here is not just why those numbers are so different, but why these people have an affair in the first place. A principle to begin working with is this: A healthy woman in a healthy relationship will never have an affair. Very specific things have to go wrong for her to choose to reach outside the relationship to meet a need, and, the need will not be sex, per se.
To better understand this phenomenon, we must again consider why the couple was drawn to each other in the first place. Let’s consider some factors which will play a very strong part of the person’s decision making process, when it comes to having an affair. First, let’s look at the basics. That is, the basic needs all humans have:
1. We need to breathe air.
2. We need to eat food.
3. We need to drink water.
These three are the most basic needs that all humans have, because without either of these, we will die. But, none of these are something which may drive us to choose to have an affair. But the next need that we have, which will not necessarily kills us if we do not have it, but so drastically need it for a healthy life, is security. We have a need for being and feeling safe. That is why it is number four.
4. We need to be and feel safe.
When trying to puzzle together the “reasons” (or excuses) why someone had an affair, the counselor needs to look no further than the need for security. If a person does not feel secure in a marriage, they will tend to draw away from their spouse. The problem, as we learned above, is that this has become the source for meeting the person’s perceived needs. When the person no longer perceives that their need for security will be met in one person, they will most likely reach out elsewhere for that perceived security. Whether or not the perceived security is real or not, the need to feel and be safe is powerful, often more powerful than the truth. As an example, let’s look at the following couple, in which the wife had an affair.
Patty met Paul at her 19th birthday party. The couple were immediately drawn to each other. Paul was the “life of the party” type of person. As Patty put it at the time, “He seemed larger than life.” She could feel his self-confidence. He was also very charismatic and good looking. She remembers thinking, that Paul seemed like a man who could take care of her, and protect her. She added, “I knew that I could be happy with him the rest of my life.”
As it seems to always happen, after getting married, things started changing. Patty said, “When you live with someone, day and night, you learn things about them that were not as obvious at the beginning when you had stars in your eyes about how great they were.” Though Paul projected an air of self-confidence and strength, it started seeming as though he was really not that self-confident or strong. He would often avoid confrontations which were necessary. He would argue that he was a “man of peace” and “didn’t want to constantly fight with Patty.” Because she was not able to depend on Paul for help, Patty often had to resolve family issues and problems on her own.
What made things even worse, was that Paul would then complain that she had not worked them out correctly, or that she was just trying to control his life, and would not cooperate. This resulted in many of the “solutions” of Patty’s not working well, or failing, then Paul would blame her for the failures. Even though she was becoming increasingly unhappy in her marriage, Patty still determinately hoped for some positive outcome.
What broke the camel’s back, as the saying goes, was when she found out that Paul had been spending time with a lady at work. Paul complained that nothing wrong was going on, that he and the lady were "just friends". Patty’s question to Paul was, “Then why is she sending you text messages saying that she is looking forward to the next time you can be together?” Paul, she said, just avoided her stare and kept his head facing at the floor. She added that Paul’s argument was that he no longer felt that Patty truly cared about him and that he felt she did not love him either.
Paul promised Patty that he would not “see” the lady at work anymore, but Patty and Paul's relationship did not make any improvements; they remained emotionally distant. In Patty’s mind, her marriage to Paul reached a point where she was no longer able to lie to herself about any sense of security with him. She just flat out did not feel safe with him anymore. No, this is not what she was telling herself. This is what she was feeling inside. He no longer made her feel attractive, loved, or cared for, so any false sense of security in the relationship went out the door.
One day, while at the store buying groceries, Patty was stopped by a man and asked if she could help him pick good vegetables. He sighed that his wife, who had “died a while back,” was the one who always did the shopping, and he was at a loss when it came to picking good vegetables. Patty was immediately impressed by his good looks and kind smile. He seemed to her like a "sweet and kindly lion." "Lion" because he impressed her as being very strong and self-confident, but "sweet" because he admitted to needing help. That was the first day of an affair which lasted for almost a year.
Paul later said that he felt things were improving, because they were no longer arguing about “all those things” they used to fight about. From his point of view, things were marvelous, he did not have to confront Patty, or be confronted by her for anything, much less for the emotional affair he had had.
Patty continued the affair, after it began, because she the neediness in her told her that safety and security were found in the adulterous relationship. She even had fantasies of leaving Paul and going off with the other man. In her mind, she knew that she and Paul had lost whatever it was that bound them together, and she kept imagining that she may have found it in the other man.
The affair ended when, on one occasion, she and her lover were at an out-of-the-way restaurant, and one of his friends showed up with a girlfriend. The girlfriend turned out to be an acquaintance of Patty’s. They knew each other from a local store where the girl-friend worked as a clerk. They went to the restroom together, and talked. Patty found out that her lover had lied to her. Not only was he not a widower, but he had never been married before. Patty was told that the guy had used that line over and over, because it worked. She told patty that she would probably not have told her about it, except that she knew Patty, and liked her. Patty ended the affair, but felt lost without the lies that were giving her a false sense of security.
She was at the counselor’s office trying to figure out whether she wanted to save her marriage or just walk away. She complained that she felt that unless things changed, she would just end up having another affair. She felt that it was better to just get a divorce than to continue fooling Paul into thinking that things were better just because they were not fighting as often. She wanted to understand what was happening inside of her.
To be able to best understand this, the counselor had to consider several things; for example, the personalities involved, past events and traumas each may have experienced, and what their preconceptions are which drew them to that specific person. These things in the person’s life will produce certain and specific characteristics which require certain needs to be met. In unhealthy people, these needs will also be unhealthy. The unhealthy is drawn to, and by, the unhealthy.
The following list can be used to help identify many of these characteristics which will help the counselor work with the couple, and be better equipped to identify and start resolving the root issues.
Remember that opposites attract, even between healthy and unhealthy persons. Healthy people attract healthy people, but usually the other person has some qualities which can be considered “opposite” of the one doing the looking. But, though a healthy person may be attracted, physically, to an unhealthy person, that relationship will not continue, because the unhealthy person will not be able to sustain the relationship on a healthy level, and, the healthy person will quickly tire of trying to sustain the emotional weight of the relationship, and end it.
Attractions at the Unhealthy Level
(Not intended to be complete)
Unhealthy Persons and to Whom They Are Drawn
Needs someone to rescue; feels she can change and save needy men; is drawn to their weakness, but resents and hates that quality in them; is threatened by strong, self-sustaining men.
Needs rescuing; constantly messes up and needs someone to fix things; Hates that his wife has to “save” him; resents her for rescuing him. Is threatened by other needy men or things (such as a project of her’s, her relatives, or her job).
Needs someone who will spoil her the way she used to be spoiled as a child; is drawn to older men; Responds to all problems from how they specifically affect her; is threatened by others (people or things) who gain her spouse’s attention; cries easy, and pouts often.
Needs a child-like (childish?) wife, this helps him feel more important and needed; is drawn to younger women, but for this reason specifically; He will “listen” to her complaints, but feels she does not know what she’s talking about; is threatened by other older men, and/or if she starts to mature.
Needs someone who will accepts his abuses and possibly violence; needs to control others so that he feels secure and safe; rejects any attempt on his wife’s part to assert herself in the relationship; is threatened by any show of strength by others; is angry at the world.
Needs someone who will threatened her into submission, and possibly abuse her physically; expects things to turn out bad, and they do; grew up believing she did something wrong and deserves punishment; feels ugly and unattractive; is threatened by other victim/martyrs who gain her husband’s attention.
Needs someone who is afraid of confrontations, until pushed too far; Prepares for failure, and unwittingly causes it; Will cooperate until she must really makes changes, then she will run; hates not having full control of her own finances; Is threatened by anyone who actually expects her to mature.
Needs someone who will make life tough for him; Needs to be able to blame his failures on someone else’s behavior; Sees himself as a victim, while trying to maintain a strong self image; Hates for people not to recognize his own self proclaimed worth and value; Is threatened by anyone who actually expects him to mature.
Needs a woman to take care of him; behaves immaturely, and makes childish decisions; Avoids responsibility and change; hates people who expect him to grow up and hates being treated like a child; is threatened by more mature males.
Needs a man-child so that she can “mother” him; believes she can help a man "change;" Willing to sacrifice herself for the benefit of the man-child; Then she hates him for not growing up and forcing her to handle all responsibility; She is threatened by the possibility of not being needed.
Needs to blame a separation from, or the divorce of, her spouse for all her current problems; Can’t understand why children are not more appreciative and grateful; Has one excuse after another of why she does not spend quality time with the kids; Hates not being seen as a victim; is threatened by the idea of not being needed, and is fearful that the kids may loving their dad more.
Usually the eldest child; needs to blame the parent’s separation and/or divorce, and sometimes even death, for all his or her failures; this way he or she is not expected to behave maturely; needs to see self as a victim (and may really be); hates anyone who actually holds him or her accountable; is threatened by the idea of being ignored.
The descriptions above are not all inclusive. Each can be lengthened by careful study of these characteristics, and possibly provide even more insight into these people’s distorted and unhealthy thinking. The descriptions were kept short and general for the purpose of being a sample of what the counselor can look for.
Making “sense” of it all.
Keep in mind that there will be “experts” and statisticians who will probably disagree with the findings of this article. Our intention here is not to establish a new train of thought, or even to disprove the findings of others, The reason that all of this is important is because as Christian counselors we have an obligation to use whatever tools we have at our disposal, which do not contradict the Word of God’s teachings, to help those who are hurting.
Understanding the findings of this article will help the counselor understand some of the reasons why people do what they do; why they make their specific choices, what may or may not work in trying to help them, and can especially serve the counselor as an arrow pointing to possible and probable answers.
If you are not a counselor, but are experiencing problems in your marriage, the above information can help you focus more specifically on the areas that actually need work, as compared to concentrating on what seem to be the "obvious" problem. Counselors have learned that most of the problems people go to see a counselor for are actually just symptoms of other, less obvious, and more real, circumstances.
If you are able to distance yourself from your situation (as best as possible), and you consider the above information, you will have a better idea of what to really work on to try to save your marriage.