Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Being Vulnerable With Your Spouse
I have been listening to a podcast called Marriage is Funny, which is produced by a married couple that has been married about as long as Adam and I have. I have only listened to a few episodes and have started from the beginning (there are currently 40+ episodes). I love that they speak honestly about things that they have experienced and are able to insert a little humor into serious topics. From the first episode I have felt like we are kindred spirits and that they can relate to my experience of marriage (they talked about fighting about hanging a chandelier early in their marriage, our tension stemmed from making homemade pizza and painting our new house). It seems like we might be good friends even though our life paths have veered slightly (and the small fact that we don't live anywhere close to one another). I love how they are willing to be vulnerable with one another and their listeners. It has endeared me to them.
A few days ago I listened to their seventh episode "Putting On A Bikini is the Best Way to Cheer Up A Crying Husband". The woman, Jessie, was talking about wearing bikinis, Gerard's perspective and the conflict some people have regarding Christianity and modesty. She then kind of veered off topic to share with Gerard (and the listening audience) that she sometimes struggled with feeling attractive to Gerard and needed him to tell her that he thinks she is beautiful more frequently.
I, too, have struggled with the very same thing. The fact that she got choked up a bit sharing this, encouraged me because I also got the weird tear-strangled voice when I once said this to Adam. My immediate thought was relief that I am not the only one who has felt this need for their spouse to reassure them of their beauty. It seems anti-feminist to want to be attractive to my spouse, but the need is there regardless. It doesn't matter what others may think as long as I know the man who has won my heart thinks I'm pretty.
I know that I am God's beloved. I know that he created me and did not err in the features I have. I know that I have his heart and that I am a delight to him. I suppose that ought to be enough, but I am human. I desire that reassurance from the person who knows me more intimately than anyone else.
I remember how I hated to bring it up because I knew it might make him feel like he was somehow lacking. He loves me so well and demonstrates it in so many ways that I don't want to negate all that he does for me over one thing. Sometimes I wonder if what I feel is a need is actually the devil trying to drive a wedge between us. Regardless, I felt it was important to share something that felt important to me so that I did not feel resentful (and truly put something between us) and perhaps might receive the reassurance I desired.
I am sharing this because I have now learned that I am not the only one who has struggled with this and am wondering if you, too, have also felt this way at some point. I want you to know that I understand and that your feelings are valid and normal. Please be courageous and share your heart with your spouse. It's very difficult for your spouse to meet an unexpressed need or desire. I pray that God would give you wisdom on when and how to express your desire and that your spouse would have a heart to receive your request without feeling personally attacked.