Christian Counseling: Looking Beyond Marital Triangulations

My husband is jealous of, actually he seems to hate my 22 year old son. He is not allowed in our home even to visit, eat, etc... My son has not stolen from us, does not use drugs or drink in our home. He chose to leave because of my husbands hatred towards him. I suffer angry emails, days and sometimes weeks of the silent treatment, sleeping alone, irate emails, false accusations and abandonment at the drop of a hat. This has been the case for the seven years we have been married. I am punished for loving my son and not condemning him as my husband does. I do pray about this, but I need practical advice about how to keep my marriage healthy without losing my son or causing him more emotional damage.

Triangulations in a relationship are common, here it is your son that is triangulated in the marriage. In terms of perception, it is crucial to look beyond the third party, that being your son. (Not that at some point your son's relationship with you and with his stepfather(?) may need attention and/or adjustment.) Couple's often get stuck in this situation or spend much time trying to resolve the relationships between three people. However, that is the wrong diagnosis and, therefore, treatment. I have frequently found when a third party, be it a person, work, etc., is no longer significantly influencing a marital relationship deeper issues surface--most often the marriage is troubled. Based on what you have shared, your marriage has been troubled for a long time. You want to keep your marriage healthy, but from what you have said, your marriage is not yet in a healthy zone. 

I want to challenge you not to accept continuing on in the same fashion with your son and husband. To do so will only serve to petrify people's emotions and harmful behaviors. Consequently, over the years, there will be little left for anyone to work with. Having asked for some advice could mean you are indeed ready for something more or different. May I suggest you continue in prayer, but move beyond to some other needed action, specifically counseling. There are many possible reasons for the long-term martial conflict, and I don't think it would be helpful to speculate. However, couple counseling would help you both see the problems in your marriage and find solutions. If your husband is unwilling to get help, go by yourself. Often spouses are willing to join the one participating in treatment once he or she has been a few times and has shown some signs of progress. But even if he never attends, counseling can help you gain insight and set some, I strongly suspect, needed boundaries with your husband and make other objective and wise decisions.

Lord bless your efforts to help yourself, your marriage and work out a good relationship with your son. 


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