And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
My husband and I were driving down a highway up north, and I could not stop staring at the beautiful trees lining the road. On both sides, as far back as I could see, there were trees, standing tall, but completely bare, with no leaves.
Winter is here, so trees in the colder regions go dormant for the winter. I looked up how this process happens and discovered that this allows the trees to make internal changes so they can tolerate the colder temps. Once the temperatures start to rise again, the trees go back to growing. Some people may look at those trees and think they look dead and unattractive. I think they are stunning.
As I looked at the trees, I noticed that many of the trees now exposed bird nests that had likely been placed there in the spring. While the tree was full and thriving, the average onlooker had no way of knowing the new life that was hiding in the brush of that tree. Now that the trees are bare, it is evident.
Those trees made me think about our lives. Some people do a good job of putting things on the outside that conceal what is truly happening on the inside. They add leaves of business, jobs, or hobbies. Even destructive things can be a cover. Things like drinking, unhealthy amounts of TV time, or video games can be a false cover.
We are never going to have true intimacy in our marriage relationships until we remove the covering and allow our spouse to see the truth that is hiding inside each of us. What are your fears? Where do you feel insecure? What keeps you up at night? Allowing that amount of transparency puts us in a vulnerable position. Isn’t marriage where we should feel the most comfortable to show honesty, love, and grace?
You may struggle with the thought of letting your spouse have that much insight into your feelings, fears, and dreams. I want to challenge you to trust the Lord and your spouse enough to be open and honest. Ask God to give you the trust to believe that your spouse loves you and wants the best for you. Pray that you can get to a place where you feel the freedom to share openly without fear of judgment.
One effective way to begin helping your spouse peel back the layers of protection they may be hiding under is to ask each other questions. If sitting across the table from your spouse answering personal questions while staring into each other’s eyes feels overwhelming, hop in the car and take a drive together. Sitting side-by-side while looking at the beautiful scenery around you may be the perfect setting for a deep dive into emotional intimacy.
Here are some questions you can use to get your discussion started:
- What are your dreams for the future?
- What fears do you have about the future?
- What encourages you in our relationship?
- What brings you discouragement in our relationship?
- Tell your spouse three things you appreciate about them.
- How can I serve you better emotionally, physically, and spiritually?
- How can I pray for you in this season of life?
It may have been a while since you sat down as a couple and had a genuine conversation like this. You may read this list and feel the sweat on your palms at the awkwardness that you see coming with this exercise. It may take a few discussions to ease the tension, but it will get easier. Maybe the first time you decide to talk, you only cover a couple of questions. As you get comfortable with each other again, you will likely see more ease in your conversation.
My prayer is that these talks will be a way to strip back the stuff we use to cover our hearts and show our spouses what we are really dealing with on the inside. There is no better person on this earth than your spouse to find comfort and peace with as you walk through the emotions of life.
The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18