‘Tree of Lies’ Reveals Identity Struggles Giveaway/Linkup

False Identity by Scott PerkinsToday I’m excited to have a guest post from Scott Perkins of Choose to Trust. Scott has been one of my favorite bloggers, especially regarding his expertise on identity. I hope you’ll check out his book and blog this week! And be sure to comment and thank him for his amazing insight and giveaway to my Messy Marriage readers!

Marriage is certainly messy, right?

That reality is why I return to read this blog again and again. It helps me to remember that I am not the only one who does not have everything about marriage figured out.

And I certainly know something about making a mess of marriage.

False Identify in Marriage

For so many years after saying “I do,” my primary emotions when relating to my wife were frustration, anxiety, and anger. Even worse, I always found myself trying harder, believing that if I was a better husband (code word: biblical husband) then these feelings would go away.

In fact, the exact opposite happened. Until I reached a point of total emptiness and burned out.

None of us go into marriage understanding the extent to which it is difficult to be married to another person.

Why is marriage messy?

Why do we experience conflict, disappointment, insecurity, anxiety, etc. in relationship with this person to whom we promised to spend the rest of our lives?

Reading the first two verses in the New Testament book of James chapter four gives us a clue:

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.

Our conflict and disappointment comes in large part because our tendency is to use our marriage to feed our false sense of self. The false self is the covering we create when we pursue wholeness apart from God. This old nature is how we address shame and answer the lies that we believe about our self and God.

When we do not get what we want, when the doubts about our self are not answered sufficiently by our spouse, we get angry. We compare our spouse to others. Taken to the extreme, we begin to look for someone who will feed our false self.

The marriage relationship was designed by God to reveal the depths of our self-centeredness. But as with everything He puts in our lives, it is not for our shame, but so we will run to the unchanging Truth.

Instead of creating a false covering that needs constant input and affirmation . . .

Living more and more fully as your true self in Christ allows you to love without becoming empty and forgive without feeling like you have lost.

My (Scott’s) book Tree of Lies: Transforming Decisions, Behaviors, and Relationships By Gaining Perspective On Your Identity In Christ is available on Amazon – Tree of Lies and Barnes and Noble – Tree of Lies.

Check out Scott’s giveaway!

Please visit Tree of Lies Giveaway for a resource designed especially for readers of the Messy Marriage blog and to connect with Scott.

 

What are some ways you’ve sought to feed the “false self” in your life and marriage?

 

What do you think about Scott’s insights on identity and how we try to define it?

 

I (Beth) am gearing up for a new series that will involve as many of you as are willing. The series is called “sexual secrets” and will be based upon the sexual hang-ups and hurdles each of us faces in marriage. But I want this to be from each participant’s anonymous perspective—hence the “secrets.”

I have four questions I would like participants to answer, but since I will be keeping each person’s identity a secret you will be free to be as open as you would like without fear or embarrassment. I will be sharing one person’s secret each week for as long as I have participants.

Some of the “hang-ups and hurdles” I’m looking to highlight, but are not limited to, are:

  • Past sexual abuse and its impact on your marriage.
  • Sexual addictions, including but not limited to pornography addiction.
  • The challenge of sex after an affair.
  • Sexual identity issues in marriage.
  • Sexual preferences and practices are in opposition.
  • Growing up in a family with strict rules on sex.
  • Being a man with a lower libido than your wife or vice versa.
  • Feeling extremely inhibited or insecure in your body image.
  • Dealing with sex with a chronic condition or debilitating disease.
  • Past sexual promiscuity before marriage and its impact on you now.
  • The impact of aging on your sexual relationship.

For more details, options and guidelines, click here. I hope you’ll consider helping me out with your stories! I’m certain that they will help others immensely! Thanks so much! 🙂


Joining with my friends at Giving Up on Perfect, Christian Blogger Community, Mondays @ Soul Survival, Coffee and Conversation, Coffee for Your Heart, Sitting Among Friends, Nanahood, Moments of Hope, Family, Friendship and Faith, DanceWithJesusFriday and LifeGivingLinkup.

Join our From Messes to Messages Linkup!
Add any links that are uplifting, helpful and encouraging to our spiritual lives, marriages and families! Be sure to add a link on your blog back to “From Messes to Messages” or Messy Marriage as well. For linkup guidelines/button, click here.

Messy Marriage

  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    What a great, thought-provoking essay! I’m sure a LOT of people looked at themselves in this mirror and said, “Well…uh…oops.” I sure did.

    My ‘tree of lies’ was maybe a bit different. I had worked as a security contractor, delivering highly kinetic solutions to social problems (so to speak), and when I retired from that breathtakingly demanding field, finished my education so I could teach.

    And therein grew the seeds of trouble; I felt lonely. I thought I WAS lonely, and that I needed a wife. Since my personality was a bit too rough-edged to do anything but repel women at a first meeting, I went to the Internet, where I could make a better impression. And I found a woman, now my wife.

    I thought that I could become something socially acceptable, a husband and perhap adoptive father (we couldn’t have kids), and a part of the academic community. And I could not have been more wrong. You can paint an AK pink and put a flower in the barrel, but it’s still an AK.

    It was a disaster. I was pathetic in my efforts to be civilized, and the marriage ended in divorce. What I hadn’t realized was that I had not been lonely for companionship; I had been lonely for a sense of mission.

    With the divorce came the mission; to somehow redeem the lost love, but this time from the honest perspective – that Barbara would know that I would always be more familiar and intimate with small-unit tactics and ballistic tables than I would ever be with her body and heart.

    The miracle, for me, was that she found it to be a relief; she was tired of suburban chuckleheads who yearned for a big-screen TV and a BMW. My new mission became rescuing abandoned Pit Bulls, because they spoke to my heart, and she jumped in, with delight. You should see our house…and hear it at mealtime

    And now, with a terminal illness, I have another mission…to survive, and to push myself to the point of collapse every day to prove the point that I can still contribute.

    God designed me as a hard and ruthless gunman, who would take drastic measures for a cause that a government might avoid. I was good; and when I tried to turn away from His design, I was a mess.

    I hope this makes sense?

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2016/08/your-dying-spouse-201-patients-prayer.html

  • Bev @ Walking Well With God

    “The marriage relationship was designed by God to reveal the depth of our self-centeredness.” How true!! What we could somewhat hide apart from our spouse, can no longer be hidden. How like God to design something(s) to bring the darkness into light!! Also, learning that marriage is not the source of my affirmation…(not that we aren’t to affirm our spouses)…but, that only God can affirm me and give me my identity. Great stuff here!
    Blessings,
    Bev

  • Thanks, Beth, for introducing us to yet another resource! I’m subscribing to Scott’s blog!

  • Jaime Wiebel at Seeking God

    Great post. Thank you Beth for sharing this new resource. It has so much great stuff and a lot to digest for not only marriage but real intimacy with Christ.

  • I just want to thank Scott for sharing his words of wisdom and, even better, his transparency on his own marriage. Not many men are that forthcoming about those areas of their lives! I’m really enjoying the book as well and highly recommend it to any of you who are looking for an incredible and biblically-sound read!

  • Mary Flaherty

    Wonderful words of wisdom–I’m entering to win! Beth, the responses to these questions—they will not be anonymous to you, right? I trust you, but just want to know.

    • Thank you so much, Mary! I really am so touched by your words of encouragement. I’ve been more discouraged over the past six months or so on the whole blogging effort. It takes so much time and though I love it and the people here, I am tired. I also feel a little bit like a hamster on a hamster wheel at times, never really getting anywhere. I’m hoping my book process will break me free from that feeling. And I WILL be forming a launch team whenever it gets published. And I say, “whenever” because I will make sure it does one way or another. 😉 I hope we can meet in person too. I love the east coast so much, so I often plan trips there. But my youngest—-is moving to California tomorrow. So any vacation time in the near future will probably be on the west coast instead. Maybe you can head my way someday! There are a lot of beautiful places in the Midwest, besides a great baseball team! ha! #Cardsforever Love ya and am so so grateful you shared what you did, my friend!

  • I love Scott’s work, Beth! Thanks for hosting him here this week! Scott, thank you for your insight. It is frustrating to think of the years I wasted feeding my false self. I am so thankful for the work God has done in me and I know that He takes all those wasted years and makes a good come from them!
    Blessings,
    Lori

  • Or as Paul Tripp says, marriage is God’s greatest tool for progressive sanctification! Thanks for sharing. Blessings!