Why Can Being Married Hurt So Much?

Broken arm xray

So we stood up in front of God and man and promised to love and cherish each other, right? Then why does the person we’re married to sometimes have the ability to hurt us more than anybody else on the planet?

The answer is that they are hurt themselves. They have what I like to call “emotional broken arms.”

I often explain it like this: When one walks around in the world in the perfect state of health, nothing hurts–everything is fine. When someone brushes up against them or accidentally steps on their toe, they respond with a somewhat calm, proportionate response like “Hey, careful, you brushed up against me.” or “Ouch, you stepped on my toe. Please try not to do that again.”

However, when one has a broken arm and someone brushes up against them, they feel unbearable pain and often times explode with “Aargh! How could you? I can’t believe you did that!” or even worse, they attack back with something like “You did that on purpose. What the heck is wrong with you? Get away from me!”

Many people are walking around in their marriages with “emotional broken arms.” Therefore, when he forgot to pick up the dry cleaning again, or she ignored him when he walked in the door again – for all intents and purposes, minor “brushes,” – the emotional pain is excruciating and the response is extreme and oftentimes ends up sounding something like, “You (awful person!) I can’t believe you did that again! You obviously don’t love me. I’ve had it!”

But how did these “emotional arms” get broken? They can exist for many different reasons including but not limited to: the environment in which one grew up, past transgressions within the relationship, or even fear of the future and, in particular, of being abandoned.

When “brushed up against,” these emotional broken arms have led people to say things and do things out of pain that have significantly injured their partner’s feelings, doing damage to the relationship. Understanding that there may have been painful circumstances or suffering that contributed to the person’s actions and having compassion for what drove the person to their transgression can go a long way toward healing the “broken arm” and ensuring that the minor “brushes” stay just that, minor.

Further, understanding that it may be your arm that is broken, will help you take responsibility for your own pain and not take it out on your partner. Exploring and being aware of your own “emotional broken arms” allows you to control your reactions and stop the hurt before it starts.

Does any of this apply to you? Do you have any further questions. Please comment below.

To learn more about the complicated emotional dynamics in your marriage, check out our StrongMarriageNow System.

Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, StrongMarriageNow.com

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3 comments

Amy Robb 11 years ago

I had many broken bones i was a down right b--tch..... over derstating injuryies to my 3 older children .putting them first and taking care of them i didnt realize i was hurting my self and my marriage even thought he went through the sameb trama. But as we know men act differently to thing this is been hang over are heads for along time i aleast understand it and know it can be fixed . we lost everthing our home our truck but i thought we still had are love. i ended up having amelt down i put my self in the hopital and worked on getting better and fixing us. but he thinks because so many bad thing happened. that were not ment to be togeather .we always pulled togeather before why is he giving up know. the hard part is over. we can rebuild a better stronger love/marriage. he send mixes msgs. he needs his broken arms toes and heart fixed we be seperated sence june. i miss and love him dearly . he says he loves me but hes not in love with me and i know its because we never spend any time togeather. he rather spend itb with his druck brother which is a whole nother story or our 11yr old daughter.but when we just hang out here and there its great unless we talk about us.this is killing me inside i worked real hard to get me back and and us back.thanks for listening amy robb

Nicole Munding 9 years ago

I have been let down a lot in my life. Growing up without my mom being around and not having a parent so I had to grow up fast but I didn't grow up perfect.. I got married because I fell in love with him and the son I already had loved/loves him he's almost two now hes been in his life since he was 10 months old. Then I soon became pregnant with our son Caleb. The whole time I was pregnant his father was always in the mix saying she's not worth it son, The baby isn't yours, she's using you, and calling me the worse names in the book. His dad gets into his head very easy and fast. I have not been able to get over all this. I am not perfect but for his dad to always be the one to sit there and say things like that makes me hurt even more. what do I do about his father I try calling to tell him what he is doing is not okay or right. when two people are married its so disrespectful for people to try and make one of them think second thoughts.... I'm very tired of it... what would you do if you were in my shoes??

Mike_Olsen_SMN 9 years ago

Nicole, I am very sorry your father-in-law makes those comments about you. That has to be very hurtful. Please take a few moments to watch this video: https://www.strongmarriagenow.com/save-marriage-what-laws/. I think you will find it to be very helpful.