We all know that honesty is the best policy when it comes to business, social media, and acquaintances. But what about marriage? What if the words you need to say are going to hurt your spouse? Like confessing sins committed against them, a lack of feelings towards them, or correcting a sensitive issue that is or could affect your relationship.
If you’ve been married longer than a year you’ve most likely experienced one of these times. It isn’t a fun place to be. We had one of these moments this past weekend while at the beach. I shared something with Tom, but prefaced it with, “I need to share something with you. Can I?”
Of course he said yes, but it didn’t make it any easier. It wouldn’t be a romantic moment, that’s for sure! But it was a necessary moment, one I knew I had to dive into if we were going to do what a strong marriage requires–share everything together, the good and the bad. I really didn’t want to, but the Lord was compelling me to be open and honest (there’s that word) with Tom.
It wasn’t a sin issue. It wasn’t a correction issue. It was simply me sharing with him things going on in my heart, in my mind and in my life. I felt vulnerable–even after 33 years of marriage I can still feel vulnerable. Tom has proven he is a safe place for me to run to. He loves me. He cares for me. Yet this was still hard.
After I shared my thoughts and struggles with him, he was obviously affected. It hurt him as I knew it would, because when you love someone you hurt when they hurt. But it was his silence that proved to be the hardest for me.
We drove home from the beach without saying a word. I had no more words to say. And I didn’t have a clue how to help him help me. So I prayed and cried.
When I got home I was so tired from the struggle I went to bed. I know, you’re not supposed to go to sleep on your anger, but I wasn’t angry. These types of struggles are not often solved in a day. It takes time and space for the Lord to do what only He can do–mature us and grow us closer to each other through the struggle.
On Saturday afternoon our church was hosting a mini-conference on Relationships. It was timely indeed. We worshiped the Lord, listened to great teaching and testimonies on the importance of God-honoring relationships. We didn’t hear anything new, but what we heard would help us renew our love and commitment to each other.
That night as we sat in our family room to talk over everything–the issue, the silence, the conference, it was as if the Lord entered the room and reconciled our hearts together. He reminded us both of the value conflict brings to a marriage. It is in the struggle that He is able to burn away the dross and produce something that lasts. It was one of those experiences we know we’ll never forget.
Sadly, many marriages avoid the hurt and pain of honesty. I know I would if I could, yet this is where growth occurs. This is the place of becoming more like Christ and more one flesh in nature.
It is a miracle!
How honest have you been with your spouse through the years? Do they know what things you’re currently struggling with? Are you willing to be vulnerable for the sake of growth, or do you provide a safe place for your spouse to be vulnerable with you?