There’s a wall that is built brick by brick in marriage. It is a wall that is almost imperceptible and subtle because it rises higher and higher without much fanfare or attention. One minute you’re looking the other way and when you look back, there’s another brick obstructing your sight.
So very subtly that even the builder of the wall doesn’t see it after a while. It feels natural. It feels safer. It feels necessary to survive.
Perhaps it begins with a spouse who simply is fearful of being fully known. So he or she begins to keep things in reserve. She doesn’t always tell her husband how she feels when he hurts her feelings. She begins to nurse a secret grudge. Then she starts to hide what she’s doing with the credit cards—buying more and more to fill a hole that just can’t seem to be filled. Or perhaps she hides a secret crush she has on a coworker …
Whatever “it” is that she seeks to fill the void, it must be kept a secret from her spouse.
All of a sudden, she begins to keep secrets from others. She doesn’t let them know how terribly unhappy she is in her marriage, in her life. She acts as if all is fine and that she has the model family—model marriage.
At night when her husband comes home, they go to their separate corners, turning on the television and escaping into a pseudo-relational world. They feel as if they are connecting because they are under the same roof. But they avoid each others glances and lose sight of how to talk or even what to talk about with each other.
This charade does not go unnoticed. It builds like the proverbial “elephant in the room”—pushing emotional buttons and crowding out any chance at real connection. Shame comes to stay and keeps the deception firmly in place. The couple now feels as if they cannot move out of this false world they’ve walled themselves into … become imprisoned by.
- Begin to ask your spouse about his or her day and really listen—really care about what your spouse shares.
- Be open about how you feel in small ways. Let your spouse know what you prefer—coffee over tea, etc. Let your spouse know how you feel about your friends and your coworkers. Don’t start out with huge revelations, but always work toward greater openness! Make time to talk about the simple issues of life each and every day.
- Find other trusted confidantes, godly friends who love you without judgment or reserve. Begin to open up to your friends and have them pray for you to be open with your spouse.
- Be honest with God about how you feel. Know that he knows more about you than you know about yourself. It’s no “secret” to him how you feel and what you’ve done. And the good news is that he loves you unconditionally with a love that is as big as he is BIG!
“… Speaking the truth with love, we will grow up in every way into Christ, who is the head.” Eph. 4:15 (NCV)
photo credit by Sarah G… (Flickr)
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