Everyone may have some blind spots in their lives. However, a marriage relationship can easily be hindered by not knowing your own personal blind spots or that of your spouse. At the workshop on “How to Find Your Personal Blind Spots through Problems in Marriage and Family?”, Dr. Agnes Ip pointed out that when there are conflicts and discords in a marriage relationship, a lot of times the culprits are the couples’ blind spots. Here are my takeaways from the workshop regarding personal blind spots in marriage and family:
1. Adverse childhood experiences that have not been healed can impact the values and interactions in a relationship, which may become blind spots that damage relationships.
Dr. Ip used her mother’s and grandma’s experiences to illustrate her point. Her mother was a businesswoman. Since she immigrated from China to Hong Kong, she used all her energies to make money, which gave her a sense of security. However, she did not know how to build relationships with her children and was filled with bitterness towards her own mother. Grandma was raised in a patriarchal family and was once sold to another family. Though Dr. Ip’s mom is her only daughter, Grandma did not care about her because in grandma’s mind, only sons had value. Dr. Ip’s grandma and mom both were hurt in their respective families, which impacted their value systems and directly molded their roles in the family. Adverse childhood experiences that have not been healed can turn into blind spots that aggravate conflicts or cause disconnection, which can negatively impact marriage and family later on; and in some serious situations, trigger mental health problems.
2. Processing pain brings breakthroughs to blind spots in a relationship.
Dr. Ip shared that when she and her husband were first married, their relationship was full of tensions and struggles. In looking back, she realized that it was because both had their own blind spots. Dr. Ip’s blind spot was that she supposed if her husband loved her, he should understand her emotions and pain. However, her husband, Benny, was influenced by his mom’s teaching that it is not right to cry, so he would respond to everything with a smile; he even assumed that crying was a kind of emotional manipulation of others. One day Benny came home crying after attending an internal healing curriculum because he remembered when he was in his teens, his brother suddenly passed away; the pain was hidden deep in his heart and suppressed. He thought he had forgotten about the pain, but he did not. The crying at last made him realize that crying can be because of sadness, not necessarily controlling. Through processing pain, he gained a breakthrough to his blind spot, which helped alleviate the conflicts in his marriage and improve their relationship.
3. The ultimate way out: understanding people and situations in life through God’s perspective (2 Corinthians 5:17).
However, it’s not easy to understand our own adverse experiences and see our personal blind spots. Our ultimate way out is in Christ: we must let the Holy Spirit guide us to see problems in ourselves and in our relationships, reshape our value systems so we can understand people and situations through God’s perspective and to be freed from the damaging blind spots in relationships. As the Bible puts it, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Dr. Ip pointed out that the most terrible aspect of blind spots is that it makes people unable to be flexible or utilize needed resources, which makes one feel like there is no way out. In my family of origin, everyone likes to talk, so I learned how to express myself early on. It became a blind spot in my marriage because to me, not talking equals being mad and angry. Whenever my husband kept quiet or did not respond to me, I felt sad and got frustrated. I am grateful that God has changed me gradually; I came to understand that sometimes when he keeps quiet, there must be something bothering him, and I don’t need to be sucked into it. I learned to give him space and give myself space to nurture my emotions. Blind spots are something that we are not aware of, so we need to depend on God’s power to heal our adverse experiences in the past, and to see the reasons for our pain so that we can get over the blind spots that cause problems in our marriage and family.
Presence Quotient Canada™, an affiliate partner of Presence, is a non-profit organization that has supported Christian and family values since 2021. We aim to raise up a new generation for the cultural mission — equip individuals and families to bridge the cultural and generational gaps and to live a unique life with wisdom.
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