When I start to struggle one of the first things I tend to do is close up and try and act like everything is fine, especially in my marriage.
I don’t want to accept the reality that I’m not okay. I fear expressing the need for something.
Can you relate?
The past several years have been filled with God breaking numerous chains in my life. Because of this, I’ve walked through struggles that I thought I’d long ago buried.
It’s hard dealing with these painful parts of my heart and even harder allowing them to affect my marriage over and over.
One of Satan’s greatest lies whispered into my ear over these past few years is that because of my problems, because of my struggles, I’m too much a burden to be loved.
I can tell you I know it’s not true, but that lie has webbed its way into my heart so deeply.
What lie has found its way into your heart?
Not good enough?
Have to work to be loved?
Too much a burden?
These lies cause us to believe we need to hide the real parts of our heart. This is for two reasons:
We fear sharing these ugly parts of our hearts because we don’t want to be hurt again. We don’t want to feel the loneliness and the sting of rejection. We think if we hide these broken parts of our heart, we are protecting our self from re-experiencing the pain. But instead, we are forcing our hearts to believe the lies that we aren’t good enough and closing off the opportunity for healing.
We think we are saving another from the burden of our own mess. How often have you hid your true feelings because you don’t want to ruin someone’s good mood or burden someone with your own struggles? When we believe these lies that Satan feeds us, we can begin to feel like we are the burden.
Both of these reasons for hiding allow Satan to have the say in your life and in your marriage.
I’m guilty of both ways of thinking. But this only leads to a wedge in your marriage.
The most powerful way to love your spouse, especially when you are struggling, is to be willing to be vulnerable.
Marriage requires vulnerability. Not just physical vulnerability, but emotional and spiritual vulnerability as well.
As much as I think I’m protecting my heart and my spouses from the burden of my struggle, when I refuse to be vulnerable, our relationship suffers.
The refusal to be vulnerable gives Satan a foothold in your marriage. And this is just the start. Because of this foothold, Satan webs his way into more and more of your relationship.
Maybe you start to believe that you can’t talk to your spouse, even when you need to. Maybe your spouse starts getting frustrated at the little things. Resentment grows like wildfire in any and every area of your marriage. Your hearts may grow hard or bitter towards each other.
These are just some of the consequences and strategies that Satan uses when we refuse to be vulnerable.
It’s not easy and it’s not pretty when we choose vulnerability in the midst of a struggle, but God asks wives to submit to our husbands as we do to the Lord (Ephesians 5:22) and He asks husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25).
This is the ultimate example of intimate vulnerability.
In this beautiful picture of vulnerability, God’s glory is revealed both in our marriage and through our marriage.
When you are vulnerable with your spouse, you allow the opportunity for God to work in you and in your spouse.
It won’t be easy and it most likely won’t be pretty. But in being vulnerable, you will develop an intimacy that God wants in marriage.
So how do you grow the willingness to be vulnerable in the midst of your fear?
- Fill your heart with Scripture to combat Satan’s lies. I’ve studied and memorized scripture about my identity in Christ as a reminder that I am loved and my story is a part of something beautiful.
- Share your desire to be vulnerable with your spouse. Discuss ways that they can encourage you in this journey and ask what you can do to encourage them.
- PRAY that God will give you strength and encouragement to be willing to be open. Pray for your spouse and pray to take a stand against Satan’s lies.
- Journal about your fears and hesitations about being vulnerable. This will shed light on the reasons behind your fears and help you recognize how to overcome them.
- Just do it. You are going to just have to step out in faith and share. Start small, but be sure to start. Find a time and place where you can sit down with your spouse and share your heart this week.
As scary as it may be, true beauty and intimacy comes from vulnerability. That is why God asks us to be careful about our intimacy with others. This intimacy was created for marriage.
When you choose to be vulnerable in your marriage, you are allowing God to work in both your heart and your spouses.
Don’t let Satan direct your marriage. Take a stand against His lies and choose to be vulnerable with your spouse.
Choosing to be vulnerable and allow your spouse to see your true heart is one of the greatest ways you can love your spouse when you are struggling.