In our first 12 years of marriage, we had both done so much damage to ourselves, each other and our marriage, intimacy and vulnerability weren't on our radar...we were back in the garden, putting on fig leaves and blaming each other for the mess we were in.
Immediately the two of them did “see what’s really going on”—saw themselves naked! They sewed fig leaves together as makeshift clothes for themselves. ~Genesis 3:7
We had stopped sharing with each other, we had put our own needs first instead of considering each other, and we had been hiding ourselves from each other, just like Adam and Eve covered up with fig leaves. In marriage, we weren't created to live covered up from each other. Marriage was designed as a safe place for husbands and wives to be naked and unashamed emotionally, spiritually, and physically:
The Man said,“Finally! Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh! Name her Woman for she was made from Man.” Therefore a man leaves his father and mother and embraces his wife. They become one flesh. The two of them, the Man and his Wife, were naked, but they felt no shame. ~Genesis 2:23-25 (MSG)
When Scott's world fell apart, everything was stripped away from him, and he decided to stop running and surrender his heart to God, he gently began to pursue me. It was a long, tender process of sharing with each other how we'd hurt each other, taking responsibility, then seeking and granting forgiveness. What does that look like?
Me: When you _________________________, I felt __________________.
Scott: Wow, I didn't realize you felt ________________. I didn't mean to hurt you, I was in a hurry and not thinking. I'm so sorry, would you forgive me?
Me: Yes, I forgive you. *smooch*
And with that exchange, a fig leaf falls off and we draw closer to being naked and unashamed. Do the conversations always go this way? No. And they don't always feel good in the midst of having them. Releasing that hurt and the need to punish him for hurting you can be difficult. But forgiveness is doing just that, releasing your perceived right to punish someone for hurting you.
In Strive to be Vulnerable, Chapter 15 of The Surrendered Wife, author Laura Doyle is describing the importance of taking those steps to remove fig leaves, getting vulnerable, naked and unashamed, with your husband. Inviting him into your heart, life and world, not through the "honey-do" list, but through sharing your desire to spend time with him because you love him and value him.
As you take the risk of sharing your desires, your feelings and what you need, in a way that invites, not condemns, you invite your husband into your life. He may be a little unsure and suspicious of your motives at first, but press through standing on the Word.
#1 Know the source of your strength. Being strong enough to be vulnerable comes from knowing who you are in Christ Jesus, and standing firmly on that understanding.
#2 Know your areas of responsibility and concern. Take responsibility where you need to, and recognize areas where you need to be concerned, but that are not your responsibility. Give your best time and energy to areas of your responsibility.
#3 Admit when you're wrong and seek his forgiveness.
#4 Recognize when you're reacting out of fear. When you respond in fear, you are putting the fig leaves back on. Is your fear False Evidence Appearing Real? Revisit #1, know the source of your strength, and trust God as you walk out His Word.
The woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved. ~ Matthew Henry
NOTE: One thing I want to mention here is that yes, I am disappointed that with all God has to say about the role of wives and submission, the author doesn’t cite any scripture, yet manages to quote Buddha. It’s still a great book, it still lines up with God’s Word, the author’s frankness was a practical wake up call for me…I just wish she’d embrace and share that God is the author of surrender.
In case you've missed it, this post is part of a series following along with The Surrendered Wife. I'd strongly encourage you to pick up the book and read along! Catch up on the blog series now by reading: Control or Intimacy, Did You Marry a Loser?, Chauffeur or VIP, Shhhh!, Crazy Resentful, Your Heart's Desire, You Bought a What?!, Just Say Thank You, Girlfriends, Button Pusher, Expectations, a Wife's Role, and It's Okay to Say I Can't.
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