Vestigial Spouse

Evolutionary scientists once created the myth of vestigial organs, to suggest that evolution really did happen and left a trail for redundant biological left-overs.

The initial list in the 1890’s comprised over one hundred and eighty items, but a hundred years later there were no human organs left on the list.
The concept was an evolutionary mind-trick to beguile the gullible with pseudo-scientific ‘evidence’ in support of evolution.

Vestigial, then, means a redundant and left over remnant, as a reminder of some previous reality or application. To generalise the term we could suggest that your baby clothes and tricycle are vestigial items from your childhood, which have no application in your life today. Redundancy and disappearance of some previously existing reality are key thoughts in the term.

Redundant Spouse


Some husbands and wives live as if their spouse is now redundant, at least in major part. At some time in the past the spouse was the centre of their life. Being together, sharing dreams, building a future together and being sweet to each other were mutually rewarding bonds that gave each one a high value in the others life.

Over time, however, it is possible for people to drift apart.
They can find that they no longer treasure their spouse or the time they two can share together. Their individual lives, aspirations, interests and meaning can come from quite independent sources, and so they live in company but not in one-ness as they did before.

In such situations it is even quite possible that the spouses or one to the other at least, can become redundant. It is quite possible for a man or woman to be far more interested in their career or outside interests than in the relationship they once valued with their spouse.
It is quite possible for a parent to become more engaged with the life and interests of their children, than in the bond they share with their spouse.

A Remnant Reminder

The term vestigial also signals that the spouse’s current existence is not what previously existed. The husband or wife was at one time the delight of their spouse. They were the source of delight and hope for the future.


Over time that reality died away, and became ‘extinct’ in the relationship.
In place of that person who was once the focus of all the other’s hopes and dreams, there remains someone who is linked to that past person, but who is only a remnant and reminder of what once existed.

Mere Appendage

It is quite possible for a husband or wife to get on with their own life, as if the spouse were a mere appendage, and an almost vestigial one at that.

If the husband has already fathered the children and provided the house, then he can be effectively dispensed with by some wives, who now invest themselves in their children. If the wife has met the man’s
needs for a time, before he found other things to live for, he can then effectively abandon the wife, as no longer required to fulfil his needs.

Such a situation is an abuse of the marriage and completely contrary to what God created and the Bible instructs. Yet most people do what comes instinctively to them, not what is right.

Selfish Perspective

A redundant, vestigial spouse is created by selfish people. When a man or woman lives for themself, seeking a life that meets their own needs, then they will use, abuse and discard other people, including their spouse. When they need the spouse, to meet emotional needs, affirm their personal value, give them hope for the future and so on, they will be closely bonded. Once they have found their feet better, and seen the challenges that pleasing a spouse can bring, they may then press on with their own pursuits, creating increasing distance between the couple.

They will also allow themselves to evolve from a loving and caring investor in the life of their spouse, to someone who is demanding and only looking for what they can extract from the spouse. They move themselves into a different place to the one they first occupied for their spouse.

A selfish wife will pursue the things she values, minimising the degree to which her husband will interfere with her quest for fulfilment. This is the opposite of being a wife, who is helper to her husband.
Instead of the husband being her world, he becomes her unwanted encumberance.

A selfish husband will pursue the things that appeal to him, avoiding the demands and challenges his wife presents to him. This is the opposite of being a husband, who is the “husbandman” of his wife and who is to love her unconditionally, helping her grow into the woman of God that she is meant to be.
Instead of the wife being his principal mission in life, she becomes the dead weight that he wants to be free from.

Marriage Breakdown

The epidemic of marriage breakdown which we see today is largely spawned from the kind of selfishness that creates vestigial spouses. The breakdown happens in the heart, long before it is seen by the community.

When men and women despise the one they committed themselves to love they reveal that they are intolerant, vengeful, selfish and of no true worth.
If a man is only as good as his ‘word’, then all those who abandon their marriage vows show how little they are worth. If their word of commitment to each other can be overturned and abandoned, then they as people are worth as little as their word.

Drift or Rejection

Some marriages break down because the couple drift apart. The selfishness of the spouses directs them to seek their own life, and, over time, they have a happy existence independent of their spouse. This is the process of drift that can happen without the couple being conscious of it.

Some couples don’t realise how far they have drifted apart until the husband retires from work and tries to fit into the home life which his wife has developed over four decades or so. The woman finds that she cannot tolerate her husband being around and the man finds that he just can’t relate to his wife like he used to.

However, selfishness can be much more decisive than the unseen drift. At times men and women actively reject their spouse, throwing them off like a redundant used rag, or rejecting them as some bodies reject transplanted organs.
When a selfish husband or wife discovers that their spouse is not what they hoped them to be, the response can be open rejection and despisement.
This rejection can be done in bitter disappointment, or it may be in calculated selfishness disposing of what does not serve their wishes.

Vestigial or Vital

Some bodily organs are almost redundant. While they are not vestigial in the way evolutionary myth once wanted them to be, they are not essential for life. The appendix, tonsils and gall-bladder are among organs that can be removed without killing the patient.

Other organs, however, are absolutely vital. Heart, lungs, liver and brain cannot be safely removed from a body. If these organs are diseased or damaged a person ends up on life-support machines just to stay alive.

Your spouse is not a vestigial or redundant element of your existence. In God’s scheme of things your spouse is meant to be a vital part of your whole life. You are bonded to them by God in the MoralMiracle of physical oneness.
No other person on the planet is recognised by God as having the same body as you, except your spouse. This is why all sexual activity outside of marriage is immoral and toxic, while such activity
in godly marriage is pure.

You are also able to reflect Christ and the Church in a unique way, through your marriage. Every husband is to be to his wife as Christ is to his bride, the Church, giving himself to perfect her and see her spiritually blessed. Every wife is to be to her husband as the Church is to Christ, finding her whole meaning in relationship with him, and serving him as the God-given helper.

No More Neglect

It is time to stop neglecting your spouse. They are not redundant, despite how they disappoint or frustrate you. You are to find in God all that you need to be the husband or wife you are created to be for your spouse.

Say “No” to neglect.

Take stock
of your situation and determine to value your spouse.
Rebuild
what has been undermined or washed away.
Recommit
to the things you once so readily offered.
Forgive
their failures and the frustrations and challenges they bring to you.

God expects your marriage to challenge you so much that you need to call on Him to perfect you, strengthen you and give you wisdom. In that process you will be forced to mature, grow, move in faith, rely on God, die to yourself, and many other things which the Bible says are important for you.

If you abandon your spouse, neglect them or make them a vestigial part of your life, you will fail to become the person God has designed you to be. Your own existence will become vestigial. You will become redundant to the purposes of God and waste your days in vanity.

Don’t let things remain as they are one minute longer. Call out to God right now to help you regain what you have lost and to become the person you need to be to fulfil God’s design, in the very marriage which you have right now.


The Spirit of a Marriage

Have you damaged the spirit of your marriage? Do you know the current health of your marriage? What is the ‘spirit of the marriage’ and how can it be damaged or healed?

These are the questions I will open for you, so you will be attentive to some things that may have escaped your attention up until now.

Hidden Person in Your Spouse

The Bible tells us that each woman has a “hidden man of the heart” which is a source of true beauty for them. Peter advised women not to be distracted by their external beauty tricks, of tizzing up their hair or wearing jewellery. Instead, he advocated that the woman allow her inner beauty, the “hidden man of the heart” to come forth.

“Likewise, you wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation (example) of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.” 1Peter 3:1-6

Hidden Things in Your Marriage

Each person has a hidden, inner life. We do not readily expose our inner self to others, and in fact our inner self is at its most special when shared between husband and wife. The wife is encouraged to reveal to her husband the hidden person within her heart.

Many people never see the hidden person in their spouse. But worse still, many people damage their marriage by offending the inner person in their spouse.

Hidden Damage

Marriage creates the most intimate level of relationship possible on earth. Two people receive a divine status as one physical entity, enabling them to share intimacy in the sanctity of God’s own morality. This unique relationship should be the place where two people are able to share their most hidden thoughts and feelings with each other in complete confidence and security.

However, when husbands and wives offend each other they cause the other to lock away their most secret thoughts and their hidden person, so that they never show the other the “hidden man of the heart”. This becomes a hidden damage in the marriage.

On the surface the couple may be happy, cooperative and exemplary. Yet one or both will have closed off their inner person from the other.

They may enjoy frequent and fun-filled physical intimacy but the intimacy of the soul is rarely if ever enjoyed by them.

Hidden Man Intimacy

Every marriage holds the potential for a level of interpersonal fellowship and sharing where both husband and wife trust their most secret and sacred self to the other. That is a profound level of intimacy

When a couple has intimacy at the level of the hidden man they are reaping richness from their marriage which others simply do not know exists.

The Spirit of the Marriage

The spirit of the marriage is that wonderful potential which your marriage can enjoy if only you both love each other with the level of commitment and openness that enables both to readily reveal the hidden man of the heart to the other.

This spirit of the marriage is damaged when the couple hurts and offends each other. When a husband or wife feels that their spouse does not respect, love, cherish and trust them the spirit of the marriage is damaged.

If, for example, the wife feels dismissed by her husband, and that he does not care for her inner thoughts and feelings, just that she make him happy, then she will shut down part of herself and that will damage the spirit of the marriage.

Auditing Your Marriage

Your marriage may be a happy and delightful relationship where the two of you get along with great companionship. That’s great. But even so it is possible for you both to be missing the richness of the spirit of your marriage. This will be because one or both of you have damaged the inner man of the other and caused them to close off their ‘hidden man’ from the other.

So how is your marriage going? How is the spirit of your marriage? If you have damaged your relationship and your spouse is not opening to you the depths of his or her heart and soul then you are the poorer for it.

Don’t settle for less than a rich and wonderful depth to the spirit of your marriage, where the hidden man of both of you is trusted in the hands of the other. I pray that your experience be that of a blessed spirit of the marriage.

Disappointed Children

What do you do when children are disappointed? How do you solve their upset if you have let them down in some way? Should parents placate an upset child? Or is this a place for tough discipline? What is your solution?

Children Face Disappointments

Every child faces disappointments along the way. They may want you to be excited about something and you are unimpressed. Maybe you’ve seen or head it before. Maybe it just doesn’t seem important to you. Maybe you think it’s a bad thing altogether.

At other times your child may have special expectations of you which you fail to meet. You might forget a promise you made them or forget their birthday or something special to them. They might catch you out showing favouritism to someone else or being more interested in something else than them.

You may not buy them the present they have asked you for or you just may not have the finances, talent or skill to meet the needs they believe you should meet.

After all, parents are only human, aren’t they? So parents are going to disappoint people, including their spouse and children. So parents bring disappointments into the life of their children through the years.

What Disappointment Does

The Bible teaches us that disappointment has emotional impact. When an expectation exists and it is not met the experience is called “hope deferred”. That is to say that the thing being hoped for has to be put on hold, either temporarily or permanently. The Bible tells us that facing that kind of disappointment makes our heart sick.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick: but when the desire comes it is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12

Being ‘sick’ in heart involves the emotions being pained. And since all the issues of a person’s life come out of their heart, having a sick heart can be quite serious. Let me show you how central the heart is in life’s journey.

“Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23

So, to make the point clear, disappointment challenges our emotions and that is dangerous, because if we respond wrongly our whole life can be affected. That’s why it is important for parents to take the issue of disappointment very seriously.

Mind you, husbands and wives, friends and associates all need to be attentive to the issue of disappointment. What I am applying here to children works the same in us all, young and old, in and out of the family.

Wise Responses

The first wise response from parents is to see the disappointment. The worse thing you can do in a case of disappointment is to ignore it or fail to see that it is there. If you allow disappointment to go unchecked and unaddressed then you leave the child with a ‘sick heart’ and vulnerable to unwise responses which create ‘issues’ in their life.

Most people are carrying ‘issues’ around with them that have come out of wrong heart reactions to things they experienced in the past. If you help your child deal with disappointment you will not only save them from developing a life issue from the case in point, but you will help them learn skills for resolving other issues that come up along the way.

The next wise response is to nurture the child’s heart. Remember that it is ‘sick’. The child who is feeling ‘hope deferred’ is not trying to be difficult, but is struggling to deal with internal responses that they may not want. They will be contending with hurt feelings, frustration, anger, resentment or other dangerous reactions which spring up within them due to what they have been through.

If you act in anger, using your authority to punish them for struggling with pain, you will only compound the problem.

Nurturing the Child’s Heart

If a person is feeling hurt, rejected, unloved or disappointed they will most likely be helped by a healthy dose of loving care and affection. They will benefit from any reassurance that they are loved and valued.

An apology is a good start. This shows the child that the parent did not intend to hurt their feelings. It teaches the child that we can all take responsibility for our actions, which is something you will want your child to do too.

As mentioned earlier, nurture is not achieved by being angry or reacting negatively to the child’s hurt feelings. You are going to be their parent for the rest of your life, so why in the world would you want to make a difficult situation worse? Surely you will want to build quality bridges into your child’s heart, forging a strong, life-long bond of affection and care.

So go ahead and nurture that relationship. Take care to build those bridges. While your child is feeling a little raw and sore their feelings are more easily able to be spoken into. Cold, unfeeling children are harder to build close relationship with than those who allow you to see their emotions. So capitalise on the soreness that they are feeling to touch their emotions and link their heart with yours.

Hold Your Ground

Another important thing for you to do, that will greatly benefit your child in the long run, is to hold your ground. Some parents feel they have failed if they upset their child. Those parents may go out of their way to placate the child by giving in to the child’s demands. This is not healthy for the child.

If you give in to your child’s upset feelings you teach your child that they can get their way by expressing emotion. You are training them to sulk, cry, complain, exploit and give in to hurt, and so on. Such processes do not work in the real world. So don’t lead your child into lifestyle habits which set them up for failure and further pain.

Responding properly to life’s disappointments is a skill we all need, for we will continue to face our share of unhappy moments. Anything can turn out to be worse or less than we wanted, from the weather to our health, or the performance level of others, or ourself. A mature person handles those disappointments with purpose and wisdom. You want your child to be a mature person, so help them face the disappointment and come to terms with it.

Don’t crumple in the face of your child’s disappointment, but show them how to embrace their situation, even though it is less than they want.

Coming to Terms With Disappointment

In order to resolve disappointment a person needs to work through the various feelings which erupt from their chest. So coming to terms with disappointment is a tailor-made process, customised for the child’s individual emotional responses.

Some children readily become resentful. Others embrace despair. Some feel worthless and rejected, while others retreat into their own world of self-reliance. There are many possibilities.

A wise parent will seek to understand the issues emerging within the child and then escort the child through the appropriate steps to resolve whatever that is. I suggest that my Steps to Release, which I discuss in other posts, will help.

Certainly forgiveness toward those who let the child down will be important. Accepting their lot, even though it is less than they wanted is also important. Repenting of wrong reactions is also very valuable. So too is expressing faith in God, recognising that God knows the end from the beginning and can be trusted to sort things out, even if they are disappointing.

Deal with Disappointment

The bottom line is that parents must be ready and willing to deal with the disappointment which they create in their children. But remember not to respond with intolerance, anger or frustration at your child’s hurt feelings. Instead, help the child deal with their personal struggles so they grow strong in facing this reality of life effectively. God bless you as you do.

The Marriage University

I spoke recently with a husband who was struggling to come to terms with his own responsibility in his home. To help him grasp one of the concepts I came up with a new analogy which I had not used before. I share it here to give you additional focus on the journey couples make in graduating into glory.

Different Roles in the Marriage

Husbands and wives have unique roles in the marriage. There are specific things husbands must do, that their wives are not asked to do. There are specific things wives are asked to do, that their husbands are not asked to do. Both husband and wife must make personal progress in their own assignment, irrespective of how the spouse is getting on with their challenges.

Different Places of Responsibility

According to the Bible, God has established human society by way of a hierarchy of responsibility. That hierarchy starts with God. Almighty God has the ultimate authority and the greatest responsibility, overseeing all else. Directly under God’s authority, and next in the hierarchy of responsibility is Jesus Christ, God’s Son. Then, directly under Jesus Christ is the husband. In the marriage and family, the husband carries the next level of authority and responsibility. The wife, is then under the husband’s authority, just as the husband is under Christ’s authority and Christ is under God.

“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” 1Corinthians 11:3

Different Lessons to Learn

Many specific responsibilities spring from this hierarchical structure. The Husband must shoulder responsibility for the wife, children and home. He is directly answerable to God for his management and handling of the relationships, standards, training and spiritual blessing of the home. This includes morality, godliness, the fear of God, holiness, discipline, direction, spiritual and natural protection, and more.

The Wife must bring herself under the headship of the husband. This will be hard for her if she looks only at her husband. She must recognise and place her trust in God and Christ, as the husband’s heads. If she fails to do that she will end up taking matters into her own hands, making demands of her husband, manipulating, contending and otherwise failing to submit to his headship.

The husband must be able to nurture his wife and children, while being sure that he is answerable to Jesus and God, not others who will seek to direct his life. He must ensure that he does not abdicate to his wife, and allow her to replace Christ as the head of the home. If he allows her to do that he brings spiritual problems into the whole family.

Marriage University

Both husband and wife are attending the same university of life. They attend classes together, but both must learn different lessons from the life situations which they confront. It is as if they are both sitting side by side in the lecture hall, listening to the lessons. Yet the husband is enrolled in a different course to his wife. He will be set different assignments and tested on different questions to his wife, even from the same professor.

The husband is studying headship of his wife and submission to Christ. The wife is studying submission to her husband and faith in Christ and God.

The Curriculum

The Marriage University is an open book, mastery learning, life-experience oriented environment. The curriculum covers the same scope for all who attend, but the individual differences of each student are taken into account by the teachers. Some will study longer and be challenged with more difficult lab tests. Some will find that the open learning environment continues with extension courses for the rest of their lives.

Honours Courses

Each couple should make it their determination to graduate with Honours. High Distinctions are the best objective for each elective and every test. When a person graduates with that standard they are guaranteed many graces and much blessing from their diligent and faithful application.

The fruit of the course begins to be enjoyed long before graduation. Each lesson learned opens the couple to new joys and new privileges in their relationship. In time they will be expected to tutor other students and may well become emeritus professors themselves, as they make the grade and master the curriculum.

Here’s to Your Studies

I wish you every success in your studies. Please don’t drop out of the course. There’s nowhere to go if you can’t stay in the lessons.

And may the Living Lord God bless your relationship as you study and master the material together.

Hurt Spirits Picnic

How would it be if a bunch of smelly, spiteful, murderous and hateful creatures were having a picnic on your lounge-room floor? How would it be if a bunch of ‘hurt spirits’ regularly turned your home into their picnic ground? Well, that’s what a lot of marriages allow to happen.

I talked before about how Hurt Spirits work in marriages (see: Hurt Spirits Working). The spirit stirs up hurt feelings in one or other of the spouses, prompting them to act out of that hurt. The spouse may be prompted to pout, withdraw, accuse, manipulate, contend, be angry or whatever. As soon as the ‘hurt’ spouse begins to behave like that, especially out of their own hurt feelings, their actions cause hurt in the other spouse. Thus the cycle of hurt is ignited and the relationship is set on a course of destruction and pain.

I believe that this process is epidemic in marriages today and most couples, including Christian couples who should know better, get caught in this ‘device’ of the enemy. We are not supposed to be ignorant concerning the enemy’s devices, but this one seems to have slipped in and caught many couples in the trap of celebrating their pain.

What the hurt spirits want to do is to move in to your home and host picnics in your kitchen, lounge-room, bedrooms and so on. They want to turn your home into a pain-filled picnic-ground where hurt spirits feel completely at home and can celebrate their evil influence over your marriage. The Hurt Spirits want to picnic at your place.

So, let me unpack for you what is really going on. The hurt spirits want to enshrine ‘hurt’ and hurt feelings as the top priority in the home. In a culture that is selfish and self-centred, that is easier than it would be in a godly culture. So, as the West becomes increasingly selfish, hurt spirits have a much easier time picking off the easy targets. There are more hurt spirit picnics these days than at times in the past.

Hurt spirits want to make ‘hurt’ the central theme of your home. So these spirits arouse feelings of hurt in marriages. They remind people that they are being neglected, misunderstood or offended. They point out that their spouse is not being what they wanted them to be. They stir up feelings of offence, frustration, disappointment and so on. As soon as a person buys into the hurt the next stage is to accentuate it until it becomes a central issue for that person, not just a passing feeling.

As the couples begin to fight with each other and hurt each other the stage is set for the home to be polarised by hurt feelings. The couple may withdraw from each other, only heightening the feelings of hurt they each carry. They may play ‘no speaks’, or one or other may become demanding, contentious, angry, resentful, or the like. Before long the unresolved hurt feelings have become king in the home.

No progress seems possible until the huge burden of hurt can be dealt with. Yet the mountain of hurt feelings is SO enormous that it would take a giant person to be able to wade through it all. The marriage may end up just limping on, with both spouses making the most of the good moments and battening down for the stormy times.

Both husband and wife will desperately want their marriage healed, but the hurt spirit will continue to stoke the fires of hurt, frustration, offence, etc, to ensure that the barrier between the couple remains firm.

Now, that’s the enemy’s strategy. Would you like to know the solution? I think it’s remarkably simple and delightfully do-able.

First step toward breaking this cursed cycle is to recognise that it is going on. I explained to a couple recently that their problem is the action of a hurt spirit and they were able to make gains in their relationship from that very night. So, this article needs to be passed on to as many people as you can get it to, so couples recognise what they are really dealing with. For some, that very realisation will be liberating and allow them to move toward forgiveness and healing.

The second step is to dethrone the hurt. Hurt and hurt feelings are not meant to picnic in your home. They are not meant to be on the throne in your heart. They are not meant to have any place in your home or heart at all. If you keep them on the throne, demanding that they be placated, you will stay in slavery to their destructive work.

Much more worthy and noble things should be on the throne in your home and heart. Righteousness and the fear of God should be exalted in your home, not hurt feelings. Humility, submission, grace, love, peace, forgiveness, compassion, hope and joy are much more worthy things for centre stage than hurt can ever be.

As you dethrone hurt you now need to push past it, knocking it to the ground and walking all over it. When a hurt spirit jumps up and says, “You should despise your spouse”, knock that thing to the ground as you step toward your spouse and fulfil your godly calling in their life.

Husbands, press in to love your wife, while she is throwing hurt into your face. Wives, press in to submit to your husband while he is hurling hurt into your heart. Determine that you will be who God has created you to be and you will serve Him, not some dirty demon.

Don’t let the demons picnic at your place. When the hurt spirits turn up with their picnic basket, throw them out. And fall on your knees to worship the true and living God, not some filthy demon who hates you and your marriage. Don’t give in to their goading and their fear-filled stories of what will become of you if you don’t stand up for your rights and fight your spouse. Reject their taunts and the aroused emotions of your heart.

Be who God has made you to be and do what He wants you to do, whether you have hurt feelings or a heart of joy. As soon as you change course to accommodate hurt feelings you have elevated hurt above God and allowed the hurt spirits in with their picnic baskets. If you purpose to do what God asks you do to, no matter whether it is easy or hard or whether you are filled with joy or struggling with pain, you have dedicated your heart and home to God, and fortified it against evil spirits.

It is time to withstand the enemy’s scheme. It is time to resist him to his face. It is time to fight the demons, not our spouse. It is time to so worship God that we do what He asks us to do, despite the hurt feelings our situation prompts within us. Cast your care onto Him, don’t take arms against your spouse.

And let us celebrate the glorious liberty which God gives us as His children. Don’t let that bully who hates you have any place in your heart, home or marriage.

“Lord God, we ask You to empower us with wisdom and insight, to see the enemy’s hand at work and to resist him with all the authority of heaven. Lord, forgive us for elevating hurt feelings when You ask us to elevate forgiveness. Forgive us for fighting with our spouse, instead of fighting with the enemy. Forgive us for pressing on in our own strength, instead of working in Your power. Now, come and deliver us from all evil we pray, in Jesus’ name, Amen.”