Are You Invisible or Transparent in Life and Marriage?

Transparent in Marriage #transparent #marriage #openness #vulnerability #humility

Over the years, I’ve discovered just how important being transparent is to the health of my life and marriage. Sadly, in our day and time, transparency has been replaced with either pretentious posturing or defensive dodging.

I’d like to refer to pretentious posturing AND defensive dodging as actually choosing to be “invisible.”

Transparent in Marriage #transparent #marriage #openness #vulnerability #humility People who react in this way often feel like they are improving their status—gaining approval from others. And/or they feel like it will serve to cover their flaws, sins and blunders. But nothing could be further from the truth on both counts!

First, consider an invisible man’s prayer in this parable told by Jesus …

“‘Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’  Luke 8:10-12

Now, let’s consider the transparent man’s prayer …

“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ —Luke 8:13

Jesus could see right through the first man because he was living invisibly. And the second man who prayed transparently had gained Christ’s approval by that very risk taken in faith and offered in humility.

“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”  Luke 8:14

With that in mind, I’d love it if you’d take this quiz . . .

  1. Do you consistently own up to your faults and sins, OR fear the ramifications of doing so and thus resist it?
  2. Do you let “trusted” friends (as opposed to all your Facebook friends) know how you’re “really” doing, OR do you tend to keep things to yourself?
  3. Are you and most of your friends more self-accepting, OR self-conscious and/or self-condemning?
  4. Do you accept conflict as a part of life—dealing with it humbly/responsibly, OR tend to defend, attack and/or withdraw?
  5. Do you humbly and honestly work through an offense, OR quickly let loose with your anger and/or stuff it down?
  6. Are you more concerned with honoring God by sharing the uncomfortable truth about yourself, OR more concerned with impressing others to gain some advantage?

If you answered yes to the first half of each question, then your answer indicates you are living “transparently.”

But if more of your answers agreed with the second part of each question, then you just might be living as an “invisible man or woman.”

[bctt tweet=”Discover 6 questions that can reveal whether you are living transparently or invisibly. #invisiblemanorwoman #transparentliving #messymarriage” username=”BethSteffaniak”]

So what difference does any of this make?

If you’re operating as an invisible person/spouse, then you …

  • Won’t feel like you can really connect with people—in particular your mate.
  • Will feel like your conflicts with your spouse go ’round and ’round—devolving into arguments instead.
  • Probably have a constant sense of shame or fear that often interferes with all your relationships, but especially your marriage.
  • Most likely are tired of trying to please your spouse and perhaps feel taken for granted.
  • Will feel a pervasive sense of emptiness and disconnection that not even your spouse or family can fill.

What does being transparent involve?

It involves taking the risk of letting others into your heart and life. But more importantly, you’ll need to trust God enough to let others, especially your spouse, see you as you are—warts and all. In this way you’ll be saying to your spouse, “In-to-me-see” (get it? . . . “Intimacy”).

However, if you live like an invisible man or woman, then others, especially your spouse, won’t see “into” you.

Instead, they will see through you. 😦

Try as you might, whenever you put your best face forward—pretending like everything’s just fine—you’ll miss the chance to really connect.

And whenever you try to control or manipulate others by pretending to be open and honest, you won’t keep them from seeing through you. At least, eventually seeing through you.

They may not completely realize what they’re seeing, but they’ll feel like you’re hiding something—not being real. Not really trusting them with your heart.

And, because of it, they won’t trust you! 

Now, I in no way claim to have achieved perfect transparency in my marriage and relationships. But it is my ongoing desire and goal each day, because I’ve lived both invisibly and transparently. And let me tell you, I LOVE the way transparent living feels.

2 Ways to Become More Transparent …

1. Trust God above all others.

He’s the only One who can protect you from the hurt that you’re trying to avoid.

Jesus is the only One who can fill the huge void that you want to fill with the approval of others.

He’s the only One who can forgive you of the sins and mistakes that plague you like a stubborn stain on your soul.

2. Cling to Him—not your pretenses.

This idea is summed up very well by the Apostle Paul …

“Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ.”  —Philippians 3:8-10 (NLT)

The secret is to …

[bctt tweet=”Rest in the Lord’s protection of who you are in Him, instead of wrestling with how your image is coming across to others. #restnotwrestle #messymarriage” username=”BethSteffaniak”]

Click on the image below and you’ll be able to download the pdf from Dropbox at the “…”

Be Transparent in Life and Marriage #transparent #vulnerability #marriage

 

What fears do you have about being “transparent” with your mate and others?

 

On a scale from 1 to 10, how are you’re doing on becoming more transparent in your life?

 

Click on the links if you’d like to read more on this topic – Transparency in Marriage, and Brokenness in Marriage.

I am currently still on a blogging break, but will continue to share updated old content from MM until I return next week, August 12th, with a series called, “Marriage According to the Bible.” Because of my break, I will not be replying to comments on this post, but would love for you to still comment and share to all of your favorite social media places on the web. Thanks so much for your support and blessing of my life and ministry!

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Then check out the graphic below for more info or go to my Bible Study page to read more details. If you are not my Facebook friend, you’ll need to friend me here—letting me know you want to be added when you friend me (I can’t add you without being Facebook friends). I’m also taking names and email addresses if you want the weekly notes emailed to you instead of joining the Facebook group. Let me know in the comments, if that’s what you’d like to do and I’ll contact you ASAP. Thanks so much!

Ephesians #Biblestudy #Bible #God #ApostlePaul #Christianliving


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24 responses to “Are You Invisible or Transparent in Life and Marriage?”

  1. Define “consistent”. (Heehee). It was ten years into my marriage before I was treated for ADD. In those ten years I did A LOT of shooting my mouth off impulsively with disastrous consequences. I learned to measure my words more carefully, but think perhaps now I may sometimes think too much about what I say to my spouse that I don’t give the nitty gritty, though often more genuine feedback. This really helps put my core issue (or core sin) FEAR, under the spotlight and how being comfortable with my fear affects my intimacy with my huband

    Like

  2. I am working on being transparent! There is freedom in not “fighting the good fight” alone and letting others in. Found you on Matrimonial Monday!Blessings,Rubiwww.lilyamongthornsblog.blogspot.com

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  3. A beautiful distinction between transparency and invisibility. My husband and I blessed with much transparency, but we have to continue to work on it; I don’t want to ever lose it.And I love this:“In-to-me-see”Thanks for blessing us again today, Beth.

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  4. I love the questions that you’ve asked …

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  5. These questions are painful… yet liberating. I’m afraid I score about 50/50, but thanks to your clear message, I have a better understanding of what I need to work on. Wise as always, Beth! Thank you!

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  6. Wow some of your posts are exactly when I’m dealing with and/or learning at the moment. Recently I’ve decided to go back to a support group for codependents and feel it can help to internalize and work on these things, ultimately to trust and depend more on God. i feel God using you to further challenge and encourage me. Thank you!

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  7. This is just full of wisdom, glad Kelli shared it. I had to do some soul searching when I answered those questions.

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  8. Definitely, Rubi–we should never “fight the good fight” alone. So true! That’s where I’m learning some of my biggest lessons on transparency–in the context of small groups, close, accountable friendships and, of course, my marriage. Thanks so much for coming by and encouraging me, Rubi. So nice to meet ya!

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  9. Thanks so much for your support, Linda. It does not go unnoticed, my friend!

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  10. You know, these posts and the issues I tackle really help me to process through and evaluate important areas in my life as well. I’m sure you get that same benefit with your wonderful blog too, Becky. I’m so grateful for your friendship, encouragement and kind words here!

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  11. Thanks so much, Kelli. I appreciate your kind words and that you shared my post with others. It’s the ultimate compliment. I hope you’re settling into your new home too. 🙂

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  12. Yes, I had to do some soul searching when answering the questions too, Shelly. It’s one thing to know these things and quite another to live it out. I’m a work in progress, but so glad that God hasn’t given up on me yet. 🙂 Thank so much for coming by and encouraging me!

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  13. Hi BethNice meaning you at Mindy’s! Oh, you ask hard questions …….But I know our Lord is not surprised by our sins (the woman caught in adultery), and neither does He condemns honesty (the Samaritan woman with the five husbands), for He came to save us. I think we can take of our masks in His presence and just be ourselves. That makes it so much easier to just be open and honest to others around us. Thank you for making me think!Hugs XXMia

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  14. I like the way you explained the difference between the two. In our society, it’s hard to be transparent. We like for everything to look good and portray the perception that it is. But we are all broken, sinful people. God has given us each other to encourage and walk beside. May we be more transparent and honest with those God has placed in our lives. Great post!

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  15. Yes, Jesus brings such comfort into our lives. We can be comfortable in our own skin, knowing that the King of kings lives within us! Thanks so much for coming by, encouraging me and adding to the conversation, Mindy!

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  16. You give some great examples of where Jesus challenged these women to be honest with themselves and with Him. And there’s such freedom in that … even though we fear it and sometimes believe it will keep us bound. I’m so glad you found my questions helpful, Mia. And I appreciate you coming by and encouraging me!

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  17. There is healing in the transparency. That’s what I am learning as I endeavor to walk that path, Christina. And I would not be able to walk it as much as I do without Christ emboldening me as well as using my “messy” story to help others. Thanks so much for coming by. I always enjoy your encouraging words and friendship!

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  18. Define “consistent”. (Heehee). It was ten years into my marriage before I was treated for ADD. In those ten years I did A LOT of shooting my mouth off impulsively with disastrous consequences. I learned to measure my words more carefully, but think perhaps now I may sometimes think too much about what I say to my spouse that I don’t give the nitty gritty, though often more genuine feedback. This really helps put my core issue (or core sin) FEAR, under the spotlight and how being comfortable with my fear affects my intimacy with my husband

    Like

  19. “Cling to Him—not your pretenses.” Perfect summary 🙂 Thank you for sharing.

    Like

  20. Such a crucial difference between transparency and being invisible…I think we can only be transparent if we are clinging to Him and resting in His unconditional love for us…Great post, Beth 🙂

    Like

  21. hmmm. i’ve never seen ‘invisible’ chosen as the alternative to ‘transparency’. it’s interesting and I resonate with it. I’m definitely more invisible and I struggle some with it because, while I think all of what you said here is true, I do think simple elements of personality play a role and sorting out what needs to change and what doesn’t is not very easy

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  22. I think you are very real here, Beth. And I agree with the other voices here–I’ve never thought about being “invisible” this way either . You’ve given me something new to think about, as usual 🙂

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  23. Thought-provoking! (Marriage is so hard!)

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  24. Would love to say I scored 100% on the transparency, but alas, my spirt was convicted on a couple of these. Just love how you remind me in small and large ways to reach to have a healthier marriage!

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