For those of you who don’t know, my husband and I are currently attending a marriage course based on Bruce Wilkinson’s teaching series: A Biblical Portrait of Marriage (Listen to the podcasts here). I am finding the course to be life-changing. It delves deeply into the core aspects of marriage (leaving, cleaving, the role of a husband, the role of the wife, etc.) with, I suppose, the end goal of fostering intimacy and security in the marriage. So today, while feeling over a situation I’m going through, I realised my deep longing for intimacy.
If you know my husband and I well, you will know that we are very close. We do everything together. Everything. All our extra time is for our kids or each other. We both probably meet up with friends, separately, once or twice a year and we have no problem with it. Today, however, I was worried about something quite important and my plan was to not involve my husband. I wanted to go through it alone and bring my husband into it later. This is something we all do, everyone hears of our retrenchment ‘later’, the miscarriage ‘later’ (or never), the impending divorce ‘later’ and often it’s because these aren’t the sort of things we want to share, possibly because there is an aspect of shame attached to them and some sort of burden on us to be vulnerable. This behaviour carries over into our marriages and it robs us of intimacy.
Personally, I’m inclined to go through things alone, yet I wish to go through stuff with someone, which was why I got married. I find myself unable to bring myself forward, closer to my spouse. I would much rather have him fight with me, and not understand me, than have to exercise complete self-disclosure and I find this sad. If marriage is supposed to be modelled after Christ and his bride, then there is something terribly wrong with mine – though outsiders would never be able to tell because I’m the bride that shows up. Everyone assumes I’m completely there but if I’m honest, I am doing just enough to stay married and be happy. However, I know that there is more to marriage than that. I see it in the way people envision their lives when they finally find ‘the one’. They describe a very deep feeling of intimacy (though they might not know it) but most married people shake their heads and say it doesn’t exist. Except that it does exist. We just haven’t fostered it.
So how am I going to foster it? Probably by being more honest about myself and phrasing my conversations based on my thoughts and experiences and not what I think my husband is thinking or experiencing or going to experience. So for example, I will say: ‘I am scared that XYZ is going to fail because I don’t think I’m good at it.’ Instead of asking ‘Are you proud of me?’, which is most likely going to end up with both parties feeling inadequate and misunderstood. But because it’s not ‘natural’, I know this going to be a life-long process.
Can you guys relate to this? Desiring to be more connected to your spouse but not knowing how to be that way? Please share your thoughts.