Open and honest communication in the marriage is incredibly important. If things from your past continue to plague you and infiltrate the marriage, it is imperative that you bring them to the table. Be honest and transparent about your upbringing, about your family of origin. If these issues are not addressed your spouse will invariably be held responsible for events that he or she had nothing to do with. You may not blame them verbally, but you will punish them in your actions. Never forget that you are a team and you are to be as one flesh.
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” – Ephesians 5:31
This is where the importance of being safe for one another plays out. You each need to be willing to support and protect one another. Husbands, when your wives come to you to share something from their past, don’t hold it against them. Don’t say things like, “See, that’s why you are how you are!” Wives, that goes likewise for you. Cradle one another’s heart as God desires to cradle and protect you both. Husbands and wives are not just to be lovers, you are called to be friends.
His mouth is sweetness itself; he is altogether lovely. This is my lover, this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem – Song of Songs 5:16
Unfortunately, many relationships started with sexual involvement and the friendship aspect of the relationship was never cultivated. Now is the time to begin to explore and develop your friendship if you have not done so.
Without transparency and forgiveness a relationship is doomed to stagnation at best, destruction at worst. It is in sharing of difficult issues that the message sender should seek God in the timing of their presentation, asking the Lord to prepare the heart of the receiver and remain patient until you are prompted to share those delicate issues.
The receiver of such information should not be reactionary, but instead also lean into the Lord to give them strength and guidance as to how best to respond (Perhaps patience is the key to responding, better to process and respond rather than explode and cause greater damage.) I understand that this is not always easy. If you feel an immediate reaction rising, take a moment and remember your own story and all the sin that you have been forgiven. Let your thankfulness for what has been done for you balance your emotional response, regardless the issue.
I pray for your strength in resolving those issues that can make (if exposed to the light and worked through with grace and mercy) or break (if kept in the dark, festering like a cancer) a relationship.
©2014 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design
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