Do you ever feel like you want a break from marriage or relationships? Do you ever experience a time when you want to step back, experience peace and quiet, and just reflect?

Most would answer these questions with a resounding ‘YES.’

Most would say they are desperate for some peace and quiet, some time apart from the challenges of raising children, fighting with their mate or ongoing drama with friends and family. They want to think clearly again, free from the emotional and physical pain that emotional stress brings. They wish for relationship detoxification.

While not a medical specialist, detoxification refers to the medical and physiological process of removal of toxic substances from your body so that the body can return to homeostasis (balance).

Okay, let’s consider how this process could be helpful to our emotional life.

Consider the woman who has lived in an environment of emotional abuse for years. She has had her words turned on her, been made to feel inadequate and “crazy,” has subsequently begun to doubt herself and has lost self-esteem and confidence. She lives in fear and has long since lost any sense of homeostasis.

Consider the man who has lived for years in an environment of trying thanklessly to please his wife. He has endured years of criticism, forever feeling inadequate, fearing when the next emotional tirade would occur. He walks on eggshells and has long since lost any sense of homeostasis.

Finally, consider the child who has no voice over how life is lived. He/ she hopes beyond hope that today will be peaceful, that his/ her parents will somehow not fight today. He/ she has long since lost any sense of homeostasis.

I do not have to convince you of the debilitating impact of any of these circumstances, agreeably dramatic and harmful. Perhaps your situation is not this extreme, but you have episodes of harmful behavior. You experience ‘cycles’ of emotional abuse. You never know when the next episode is going to occur. This can be just as destructive.

Consider how relationship detoxification can be helpful to you and how these suggestions might assist you in rediscovering homeostasis.       

First, know that we were created to experience health and wholeness. The Psalmist says, “I will never forget your commandments, for you have used them to restore my joy and health.” (Psalm 119:93, NLT) Solomon echoes these words: “A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones.” (Proverbs 14:30, NLT)

Second, understand you will need to step back and assess your situation. Our bodies and minds will indicate if we are living in an unhealthy situation. Your symptoms are there to tell you that something is wrong. Symptoms will tell you that you are living with toxins. Health and wellness tell you that you are experiencing a healthy environment. (Even Christ stepped away from the crowds for a time of reflection and prayer!)

Third, seek healing. Take a time apart, perhaps at a retreat center or even a weekend away with a trusted friend to ‘detoxify.’ Allow others to peer into your life to speak words of life and health into you. Live for a time (perhaps a very short time) free from the toxicity. Even 10 minutes a day reflecting, journaling, and sharing emotions can bring clarity. With that trusted friend/ counselor/ pastor, identify the toxins and determine to bring healing to your life.

Fourth, develop a plan for healing. There can be no significant change without significant action. This will require courage and sound direction. Once you’ve identified the toxic elements that are bringing dis-ease to your life, make a plan for change.

Finally, follow your step by step approach to change. You cannot detoxify in one fell swoop, but you can begin the process of healthier living and toxin-free life. You will subsequently feel better and experience the life you were meant to experience, but you must start and you must continue the process of change.

If you are ready for change and want further direction, please watch my video series, 30 Days to Change and Intervention on my website. We are here to help and offer phone/ Skype counseling on issues related to this article. Please go to our website, and discover more information about this as well as the free downloadable eBook, A Love Life of Your Dreams, including other free videos and articles. Please send responses to me at and also read more about The Marriage Recovery Center on our website. You’ll find videos and podcasts on sexual addiction, emotionally destructive marriages, codependency and affair-proofing your marriage.

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