Marriage Killer #5: Self-Pity

Today I’m letting you in on the issue that held me captive the longest—holding on to hurt. Well, let me get real—it’s more like wallowing in self-pity! Maybe you’ve never struggled with any of the things I’ve shared so far, but if you’re a woman, surely you’ve had an occasional pity-party. I’ve never met a woman who doesn’t.

At the root of self-pity is the belief that “I deserve better.”

I think my self-pity started as a child. I didn’t realize the grip it had on me until the day I forgave someone who I’d hated for years. Because of how I was violated as a child, I believed I had the right to hang on to my hatred. I was wrong. God finally opened my eyes to the fact that my self-pity was rooted in the strange idea that I somehow deserved better treatment than Jesus received.

My close friends know how much Hebrews 12:1–5 means to me. In verses 3–5 I found the key to overcoming the self-pity that held me captive for years:

For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin.

Self-pity is an extremely destructive element in a marriage. Any form of selfishness corrodes fellowship and unity. When I realized the destructive role self-pity played in my life for so many years, I battled that temptation by applying these principles:

Let it go

Most things that hurt our feelings were not intended to hurt our feelings. So someone fails to return your call or your husband seems remote at dinner, it may not be about you. People have a lot going on in their lives and usually they aren’t intending to hurt others, it may be that they are busy, or tired, or maybe they’ve been hurt themselves.

Let it go (Prov. 19:11). If it’s a serious or repeated offense, then deal with it through an honest but humble confrontation (Prov. 27:6; Gal. 6:1–2). But then, let it go.

Throw a blessing party instead

Overcome evil with good (Rom. 12:21). Remember the principle that “hurting people hurt others,” and see if you can bless your offender. Pick up the challenge to respond to pain as Christ did. He humbly and willingly laid down His life on a bloody cross. Then He forgave (1 Pet. 2:21–23; 3:8–9).

Have you learned to “let it go” easily?

Share some ways you’ve blessed rather than given in to self-pity.

Originally posted 08.27.09 at

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/