Do You Recognize These Patterns?

As I began walking through this journey, I began to realize that since I was a small child, I have felt responsible for the well-being of my family members. I have always been the family “rescuer” – the one everybody counted on to smooth over conflicts and restore peace. I learned early in life how to rescue others.

When I chose a career, it was nursing. I thrived taking care of others. In my marriage I became responsible for just about everything. I worked full-time, I took care of the children, I cooked, I cleaned, and still managed to learn to do calligraphy, stained glass, and sewing. I made all our kid’s clothes for many years. I returned to school in the middle of all that to get a Master’s degree. I was superwoman. There was nothing I wouldn’t tackle and nothing I didn’t feel responsible to take care of.

I was shocked when Michael chose to leave me for another woman. I was sure I had not done enough. Immediately I personally became responsible for the healing and restoration of our marriage. I am so grateful God ministered to me and brought me to a place of realizing I was helpless to do it. My heart was transformed during that time and I began walking with the Lord in a very deep and special way.

I am thankful for every one of those days and all that God did in my life. My heart had been broken by the words my husband spoke to me when he left. My self-worth depended on how he felt about me. I believed that I was worthless. For so long I had allowed him to determine how I felt about myself. Thank God that He walked me through to healing in that area and showed me that I am priceless to Him. He gave His very life for me, bought me with a price. My husband’s words no longer determined my worth.

But the rescuing continued even after our marriage was restored. We began a ministry together and I transferred my need to rescue to other marriages. I took on responsibility for the health of the ministry. I allowed the words of others to determine how well I was doing as a minister. I blamed myself if something went wrong. I carried a great weight on my shoulders for many years.

Then, through a series of events, God began to deal with these issues in my life. I began to let go and let God. I actually began to enjoy myself! Ministry became an adventure with the Lord and I no longer had to trust myself to be right all the time. I had made mistakes – first in my marriage and then in ministry – but those mistakes did not determine the life or death of what God had created. That set me free.

Are you a rescuer? Do you feel that you have to fix things – your marriage, your children, your work, or your ministry?

Do you resent having to walk in all that responsibility? Do you feel others don’t pull their weight? Do you feel unappreciated? Do you resent seeing others blessed when you feel they haven’t done enough to deserve it? Are you tired of being “the good spouse”? Do you wish you could have some fun and not care about the consequences?

Do you wonder how long you have to suffer? Do you resent God for not doing more when you have done so much? Do you feel responsible for everyone to have a good attitude about your spouse? Do you think it’s your fault that your spouse ________________? (You fill in the blank: drinks, runs around, left you, wants someone else….) Do you just want to find someone that will take care of you for a change?

If you recognize yourself in any of these patterns, then let’s continue on this journey together. God wants to heal your marriage, but that means letting go of what you hold so tightly as your own. It means honestly looking at what you are responsible for and what you are not. It means realizing that not everything depends on what you say or do. It means coming to a place of knowing who you truly are, not what others have told you that you are.┬áLove, Marilyn

“This is the day the LORD has made;We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

Author: Marilyn Phillipps

Married 49 years, we have three children and six grandchildren. My initial career of nursing prepared me to work with marriages that are wounded and in need of healing. For 35 my husband and I have led 2=1 International, a ministry to marriages and families around the world. We have seen miracle after miracle when many had given up hope.

6 thoughts on “Do You Recognize These Patterns?”

  1. "If you recognize yourself in any of these patterns…" ANY? really? hmmm…what about all? Thank you Marilyn, for talking about this. I have been struggling with this self realization for many many years, thinking I was managing it, thinking I was "healing" myself over time…then my world came crashing down around me when my husband left me and our family. I don't want to be like this anymore. I don't want this for our children. I want to break all of these patterns, generational curses, and strongholds. Thank you for walking with us on this path.

  2. my hole life -and it has made me physically sick which only convinced me i am not good enough-everything from being left by parents sexual abuse (to me) my fault it happened to my sisters- and the list gets worse-48 years worse-then everyone resents you for changing and when you realize God never made you to be a scapegoat -they abandon you-the more i realize God loves me and how to love myself the more i have lost-and the meener they get-why do the people you accepted want to destroy you when God starts healing you?

  3. You described me to a T! My husband and I are not reconciled yet, but we just talked and met after long months of no contact. Once again, he is in trouble. This post is a stark reminder to me: I cannot keep on enabling him. Thank you.

  4. Thank you Marilyn for sharing this with us! I can see myself…same exactly what you mentioned here! and after 12 years of marriage my husband left me for another woman for 8 mos. now! I feel rejected, abandoned, hurt etc…But my hope is in the Lord that our marriage will be restored. Thank you and God bless you.

  5. Is it enabling to stand in the gap in prayer for your husband? We hurt Jesus so much but he enables us? Enabling is a counseling/worldly word. Did Hosea enable Gomer when she went out into the world and had children by other men? Are we enabling our spouses when we pray that they come home quickly and suddenly? Are we enabling when we practice forgiveness. As you can see, I have a lot of questions. . .spending another holiday alone. I miss my husband greatly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *