Unhealthy Relationships

As we continue looking at the relationships, it wouldn’t be right to go any further without looking at bad or unhealthy relationships.  One of the greatest illustrations we can read, that tells us the dangers of a bad relationship can be found in the Bible.  The Book of Judges contains the story of a man named Samson and his girlfriend Delilah.  For the entire story read Judges 16: 4-21.

When Samson fell for Delilah, a woman from the Valley of Sorek, it marked the beginning of his downfall and eventual demise. It didn’t take long for the rich and powerful Philistine rulers to learn of the affair and immediately pay a visit to Delilah. You see, Samson was judge over Israel at the time and had been taking out great vengeance on the Philistines—but that’s another story. Hoping to capture him, the Philistine leaders each offered Delilah a sum of money to collaborate with them in a scheme to uncover the secret of Samson’s great strength.

Using her powers of seduction and deception, Delilah persistently wore down Samson with her repeated requests, until he finally divulged the crucial information. Having taken the Nazarite vow at birth, Samson had been set apart to God. As part of that vow, his hair was never to be cut. When Samson told Delilah that his strength would leave him if a razor were to be used on his head, she cunningly crafted her plan with the Philistine rulers. While Samson slept on her lap, Delilah called in a co-conspirator to shave off the seven braids of his hair. Subdued and weak, Samson was captured.                                     (Taken from Christianity.about.com).

Delilah wants to know Sampson’s secret.  When Delilah consistently fails, she begins to work on Samson emotionally. Look at this:  “And she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me these three times, and you have not told me where your great strength lies.” And when she pressed him hard with her words day after day, and urged him, his soul was vexed to death.  And he told her all his heart…” (Judges 16:15-16) and was taken hostage.

Relationships are often messy, plain and simple.  We often don’t realize that we are in an unhealthy one until it’s too late.  It’s hard to see when you’re on the inside. So what can we take from this passage of Scripture that applies to unhealthy relationships?  What are some practical steps we can take to make sure we aren’t in an unhealthy relationship?  First, we need to notice the warning signs. So I think from this, and from various other sources we can see seven warning signs of an unhealthy relationship.

1. Unrealistic expectations of your partner. You think he/she will solve your self-esteem, body image, family, and work problems – not to mention your financial woes and spiritual blockages. You believe the “right relationship” or the one” will make everything better.

2. Instant, constant gratification. You expect him/her to be around all the time, especially when you need them. You want them to make you happy immediately. You’re using him/her to make you feel good about yourself; you’re not relating to that person as a partner or even a human being

3. Dishonesty or omissions of truth. You don’t talk about who you are or what’s really bothering you. You lie about what you want, both to yourself and your partner. This is a sign of an unhealthy relationship that is most often ignored.

4. Compulsive control. You – or he – has to act a certain way, or someone threatens to leave. You both feel trapped in your toxic relationship. You know it’s gone sour and you’re not together voluntarily, but it’s hard to leave…this is an unhealthy relationship sign that people often ignore.

5. Lack of trust. You don’t (or can’t) trust each other. You don’t really believe your partner really cares for you – and you may not be comfortable with solid love. At some level you know you’re in an unhealthy relationship, but you can’t let go.

6. Social isolation. Your friends, family, and coworkers aren’t knit into the fabric in a healthy, loving way. In some addictive relationships, the partners only want to be left alone. This sets the stage for an uncontrollable downward spiral. Some lovers look at social isolation as a sign of love and passion, but it’s really a warning signal in a love affair.

7. Cycle of pain, betrayal, lies, or blaming. You’re trapped in a cycle of pleasure, pain, disillusionment, blaming, and reconnection. This cycle in unhealthy relationships repeats itself until one partner breaks finally breaks free.  (Adapted)

So, we can really put these against the Samson and Delilah story and see that ALL SEVEN were there and Samson failed to realize it .  If Samson would have realized what was really going on, I’m sure he would have left pretty quick, but again, it’s hard to see that you’re relationship is bad when your on the inside.  Also, keep in mind that these aren’t just warnings for romantic relationships, but also family, co-worker, and friendships as well.  Take this week to see how your relationships stack up in the healthy vs. unhealthy category. Just something to think about

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