Every couple when they stand at the altar repeating their vows to love, honor and cherish one another believes and hopes their relationship will continue to be a romantic haven. We don’t think anyone purposes to grow less romantic. Why then, does it happen?
Left to ourselves our marriages will drift, as Stu Gray recently posted on The Marry Blogger. “Drift happens when life seemingly takes more importance than our marriages… and we float away from our spouse – nothing ‘major’ happens — but things cause us to float away from each other.”
Another great metaphor, which is apt for us, is cultivating a vineyard. There are four seasons to caring for and cultivating a rich harvest. Each one is completely different, but each one has significant purpose.
We’ve decided to join the conversation by posting our own list of ten hindrances to romance, posting about one a week, which we believe will give us time to think and then respond. We will open up the comments for you to share how this hindrance has effected your vineyard. It should be a healthy dialogue.
Our first hindrance:
1. Unconfessed Sin – This can be likened to weeds being planted in the vineyard secretly, where one is surprised to find them growing alongside their vine, and then wonder how in the world they got there in the first place. Whereas the other has been doing all they can to keep it from being noticed. However, there always comes a day when it is discovered. Better tell your spouse yourself, before they come asking!
As a husband and wife we believe there should be no secrets – period. Having been married for 32 years (next month), we have experienced more than once the guilt and shame of having unconfessed sin. It grows like a weed choking out the good nutrients of the soil. It is a full time job simply maintaining the secret.
Living with a secret is really no way to live, you’re simply surviving. One of the hardest things we’ve ever had to do is grab hold of the weed with both hands and pull it out completely in order to be free. This means mustering up all your courage saying something to this effect, “Honey, I have something I need to tell you!” Our relationship was tested big time during these seasons. Would our vine make it? Would the hole left by the weed ever be completely covered? Or have I gone too far to ever go back to where we were?
These are all valid questions, difficult ones that only you and your spouse can answer. It takes time, lots of conversations, counsel from friends and/or pastors, and even more prayer. You quickly realize how much you need each other to deal with your own heart and tendencies to sin.
James 5:16 says, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”
There is an intimacy so deep, only those who have passed through this type of trial ever discover. We all have issues. We all have areas we need to grow and change. But we don’t necessarily all allow our spouses access to this part of our heart. Romance is choked when any part of our heart is off limits. The first step in creating romantic intimacy comes with a price – being completely honest.
We have had the privilege of helping many couples who were facing such difficulty. And we have had the privilege of watching God set many of them free. We pray God will help each of us maintain our own vineyards well, willing to do the hard work to cultivate and protect it.
So, tell us how has this hindrance affected your vineyard? Have you experienced the life giving freedom of pulling unwanted weeds out of the soil?
In the past year(April 2010) my marriage has been put to the test. The secret of infidelity was disclosed. Although the original disclosure was unintentional all the other facts that went along with it had to be aired to even consider us continuing. In hindsight, I see that this secret had been eating away(hindering) at our family and our peace. Almost a year later I can honestly say that although these things needed to be revealed, I cannot seem to move on from them. I pray that my heart can forgive and move on because that is what I want and we as a couple and as a family need.
We encourage you to seek help from your local church or a biblical counselor. This is a hard experience to go through, and it takes time for the pain to heal. But we must tell you, we’ve witnessed first hand marriages making it through infidelity, and ended up better than they ever were before. God is able to help you – we pray you and your family will succeed.
Tom and Debi
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