Create emotional space – you need to depersonalize the actions or words of your mate (The exception to this is physical violence. In that case, you need to remove yourself to a safe place). You need to step away emotionally to evaluate things for yourself. What is true versus and what is false? This is where counseling comes in through a Christian professional, your church, or a godly trusted advisor. The goal is to get an emotionally healthy and biblical view of yourself.
Jesus tells us to start with ourselves (see Matthew 7:3-4). Ask, “What part am I in this conflict? Am I fulfilling my responsibilities in this relationship? How do I react to the wrong actions of my mate? Do I see the reality of this person’s character, or do I make excuses, minimize or live in denial about them? Am I violating any of God’s commandments or principles in this relationship?”
Realize what you can and cannot control about the person and the situation. You cannot fix or change someone else; they must want to do that for themselves. Also realize that talking and promising are different than taking action. Love is not a feeling, it is a verb. When I love someone, I act in certain ways. You are looking for actions to change unjust behavior.
Establish your boundaries. There are times when we yield our rights and surrender our expectations for the sake of the gospel and to act in a Christ-like way (Philippians 2:5-8). However, that does not mean we must continue to live in abusive, unsafe or illegal situations. At this point, I am not talking about divorce; just what you will accept or not accept in how someone treats you. Establish the boundaries and make it clear that you are going to hold fast to them. This puts the ball in the other person’s court as to what they want to do. You are not forcing them to do anything. You are simply letting them know what is acceptable and what is unacceptable behavior in your relationship. You need to expect pushback, resistance, manipulation and empty promises as the other person attempts to return the rules of engagement back to their old unjust dysfunctional ways. It will take courage, but stick to your decision.
This is a broken and unjust world. However, most of us have more power over unjust relationships than we think. It simply requires a willingness to take an honest look at ourselves and at others.