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The Root of Relational Pathology

The Human Sin-Nature Causes Relationship Problems

Posted 1/3/2018

Revised 3/16/2020

Malachi 2:15-16 is the guiding Biblical text in identifying the root of relationship pathology. It is also one of the most explicit portions of the Bible that deals with both the cause of family breakdown and of the outcomes associated with it. Briefly, Malachi writes that when a husband breaks his wife’s faith and trust in him, that is what causes family fragmentation and divorce. Furthermore, he identifies for us what science cannot, which is how a husband most frequently breaks his wife’s faith in him. Malachi says it comes from displays of the husband’s anger. The NIV (1984) uses a rather obscure phrase to describe this concept. The phrase “covers himself with violence as though it were his cloak” basically says that a husband breaks the wife’s faith (that he will care for her) when he wears his anger as though it were his clothing. In other words, a husband’s anger threatens the wife’s sense of security and belief that she is safe with him. Because of the greater sensitivity and reaction that the female amygdala has to danger, women often find tension in the home unbearably stressful. Many women who come to my office for counseling complain that their husband is harsh with them and with their children. The second way of breaking a wife’s faith is obvious. When a man has an affair with another woman, he commits adultery, which also breaks his wife’s’ faith that he will care for her and the family. Malachi points out that when this happens, not only does a man's prayers fall on deaf ears, but also the marriage will fail to produce the godly children that God is looking for from it.


Exactly how the left amygdala is involved in this process is covered in the webpages entitled Family Fragmentation and the Cycle of Marital Intimacy.


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