The popular girls at school didn’t want to eat with you in the cafeteria because you weren’t part of the “in” crowd. REJECTION! You didn’t make the cheerleading team because you weren’t skinny enough. REJECTION! You get the letter that reads, “Thank you for applying to our university, but after careful consideration we regret to inform you….” (Yea right). REJECTION! You are told, “We will keep your application on file” after you find out you weren’t chosen for the job you wanted. REJECTION! Your mother has a favorite, but you are not it. REJECTION! You receive a breakup text. REJECTION! And the list goes on and on…..I think you get my drift. Why is rejection so hard? Because it sends the message that we are not good enough, that we suck, that we are not liked, that we are not accepted, and that we are unwanted. We have all experienced rejection at some point in our lives. However, rejection from the one you took vows with is a whole other issue. The pain is like no other pain. It cuts deeper. It stings harder. It’s the salt in the wound. It’s the punch in the gut. It’s the slap in the face.
Rejection can occur in many forms in marriages. However, it’s typically gender specific. That is, women often feel emotionally rejected while men feel sexually rejected. This creates a pattern of the more he rejects her emotionally, the more she rejects him sexually and the more he is rejected sexually, the more she is rejected emotionally. It’s a vicious cycle. So let’s examine what each looks like. Emotional rejection manifests as the silent treatment, ignoring, withholding affection, refusing to communicate, debating instead of validating feelings, belittling, being insensitive to feelings, shooting down dreams, being dismissive, etc. As a result of this type of rejection, many women experience a low libido. They may begin to feel used, see sex as repulsive, or resent their husbands’ sexual advances. Wait a minute ladies before you start saying amen. Denying your husband sex for weeks, months, and even years is a travesty. “I don’t feel good..”, “Get off of me…”, “I don’t like sex…”, and “Hurry up and finish…” are just a few things women say that makes their husbands feel rejected. Going to bed earlier and acting like you are asleep, purposely falling asleep in another room instead of in the marriage bed, or waiting for him to fall asleep is also indicative of sexual rejection. Sound familiar? Rejection in any form can be damaging and have long lasting effects. You don’t have to accept a rejection of any type in your marriage. So ladies…it’s time to evict rejection out of your marriage. It’s gotten crowded, it doesn’t contribute and you will no longer feed it, nurture it, or play with it. Tell rejection, “You don’t have to go home but you have to get the “beep” out of here.”
Hurt, anger, disappointment or any negative emotion has its origin in some form of rejection. Repeated rejection in your marriage can cause major issues if it is not dealt with immediately and effectively. There are three ways that we deal with rejection: 1) shut down and internalize the pain; 2) act out the pain aggressively, or 3) use the pain for our good. The first two are obviously unproductive and unhealthy although the typical “go-to” responses. Now let’s see. If you shut down and internalize it, it will eat away at your soul. If you act out the pain aggressively, you will make the situation worse, have regrets, and/or face dire consequences. What would happen if you used the rejection for your good? Sounds foreign? Likely. Is it possible? Definitely. However, there must be a paradigm shift. Recognize rejection for what it is and make a decision to go after it like a pit bull. Pray, seek counsel, self-examine, take responsibility, be committed to what you have control over, identify what’s not working, humble yourself, tear down pride, and do the right thing for YOU!
Dr. Tina M. Bedell is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and has been counseling for over 20 years. Dr. Bedell is also a Board Certified Life Coach. She has been well trained academically as evident by earning a Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy from The Ohio State University. She has traveled extensively conducting presentations, seminars, and workshops as well as participating on various consulting teams, leadership councils, and ministry conferences. Not only is she a skilled teacher and a conduit of change, she is an individual with wise counsel and unusual insight. She has the uncanny ability to recognize growth areas as well as provide practical solutions that move individuals towards greater levels of prosperity. Her gifts and skills expand across an array of professions which has provided her the opportunity to impact a number of disciplines and institutions. Dr. Bedell’s desire is to see others operate with a spirit of excellence in their personal, professional, and spiritual lives. Understanding that everyone has a destiny, her diligence is motivated by her determination to move individuals, businesses, and ministries from potential to purpose.