“Stop trying to protect yourself, and be all in.“
Our culture doesn’t always make it easy to stay married, does it? One of the messages we hear is that we should keep a little piece of ourselves private. You know, like feelings you keep from your mate but share with some other friend. Or a secret bank account with a little stash on the side “just in case.”
We’re told that’s the wise thing to do. And yet the research was clear: the actions we take to protect ourselves actually build a wall. They create a lack of trust. They cause suspicion to creep in. (“Why won’t you show me your bank account statement?” “Well, why will you tell your friend this stuff, but not me?”) In other words: they create the very problem we are trying to protect ourselves from.
God has designed marriage to be the ultimate “all in” institution. That is why God joins a man and a woman for life; He wants us to be set free to take what seems like the scary risk of complete, naked, utter transparency with no self-protection, knowing that the other person isn’t going anywhere.
It can indeed feel scary to step out in that way. But once we do, we find that this ultimate risk is what creates the ultimate security.
In the research, many of the couples had moved from being very troubled in their marriage to being very happy. And the change came when they stopped trying to protect themselves and eliminated their other options. They literally removed the word “divorce” from their vocabularies. They took a deep breath and gave each other full access to parts of their life they had previously kept private. They made themselves completely vulnerable to each other.
Is there something you’re holding back? If you’re afraid of the “what if’s,” find boldness in God’s great love for you. Don’t lean on and trust your own understanding, because your own understanding can have hurt feelings and suspicions, and can never truly know the mind of God. Instead, trust Him. Let His love come in and banish the fear that causes you to hold back in your marriage. Then you can live confidently and boldly through Him, letting go of the fears that divide you from your spouse.
In marriage, you truly get what you give. We get so much more when we give our spouses our all, are all in no matter what. So go ahead: jump into the deep end, and get in over your head! You will find God is there with you every inch of the way.
Dear Lord, if there are any areas of my life I have withheld from my spouse, help me to let go of the fears and mistrust that have caused me to do that. I choose to set aside my own understanding, and let Your love fill my heart so I can be confident in You. Give me wisdom as I open up to my spouse so that we can be unified together in our marriage. I trust in You. Amen.