Are You Too Familiar with Your Spouse? And WW Linkup!

Gift of ConfessionThere’s something that’s sadly accurate about the old saying, “familiarity breeds contempt”especially in marriage! When you live in close proximity to another human being for any length of time, you will inevitably feel friction and irritation at some point . . . especially if your spouse is abusive or insensitive in any way.

But even if your spouse were “perfect” like Jesus, that perfection would also become annoying to you at times. You’d be tempted to think, “All he wants to do is pray and preach!” or “Every time I turn around she lets people interrupt our day by answering millions of questions, feeding the multitudes, or responding to their pleas for healing!” Funny how that second one is awfully close to what a mom truly does! 😉

You probably already know that if you focus on the negative in your spouse, you will feel more negatively about your mate. That’s a no-brainer, so I won’t be going there today . . .

But I would like to talk about a practice that I feel softens this harsh tendency towards contempt, and often does it in bigger and better ways than simply focusing on the positive.

What is that powerful practice?

It is the intentional practice of creating a culture of acceptance and confession in your marriage.

The first aspect of that practice—acceptance—may actually be easier to do, since it might not always involve any outward statement to your mate that you accept him or her.

[Tweet “Accepting your spouse can be done in the recesses of your heart—simply between you and the Lord.”]

But the second aspect—confession, or more specifically apology—is much harder to do and swallow, since it involves swallowing that nasty tasting “humble pie.” 😉

We must realize that creating . . .

[Tweet “A confessional culture in your marriage is crucial to removing barriers and deepening intimacy!”]

If you have a pulse and a healthy view of marriage, that should be something you long for!

A couple of weeks ago I talked about how we need to make God the one we turn to for our soul and life satisfaction—instead of our spouses. I promised that I would give a tool for identifying your own sins and faulty thinking, and that’s the place you’ve got to start in order to create a confessional culture in your marriage! You can click here to receive a PDF of that tool.

My hope is that you’ll begin to allow God to search your heart and reveal the ways you’ve hurt—both intentionally AND unintentionally—your spouse. But more than that, I pray that God will give you the courage to express your sorrow to your mate! This is where familiarity with our spouse can take a drastic u-turn! When you and your spouse are familiar with the humble view you each hold of your own sins, healing can begin.

I’ll be sharing more about how to express an apology or how to confess in crucial moments in marriage at my next Wedded Wednesday!

What are some fears you have about confessing your sins, faults and mistakes to your mate?

 

How was a “confessional culture” modeled or not in your family growing up?

 


Joining with my friends at Giving Up on Perfect, Wifey Wednesday, A Little R & R Wednesdays, Mondays @ Soul Survival, Coffee and Conversation, So Much at Home and Wholehearted Wednesday.

Let’s get this Wedded Wednesday Linkup started!

Messy Marriage

Find our other WW buttons and guidelines here.

  • I used to fear that my hubby would leave me if I confessed my sins to him. He never did, though. I am so thankful for him. Growing up, my parents rarely apologized for things, if ever. It just wasn’t something they did. So, there has always been a sense of blame and shame for me. Like there was always something so deeply wrong with me. There is so much freedom in apologizing – even to my kids. Healing comes with confession. My husband and my kids are so full of grace towards me.

    • It sounds like you might have missed a real bonding opportunity if you hadn’t pushed past that fear to confess to your hubby, Aimee! I’m so glad you did! I’m sorry that you grew up in a very non-confessional culture. And there’s something so “sticky” about shame. It’s hard to shake once you feel it descending. But I’m grateful that you’ve found the freedom that comes with confession. It’s an amazing thing to experience, isn’t it? Thanks for your openness here in this space. It is appreciated greatly!

  • This is so powerful… and the realization that we would have those feelings of contempt even if we were married to a perfect person is a great reminder that it has nothing to do with THEM… it has to do with US!

    • Yes, Amanda, it is unfortunately the human condition to get annoyed and then to let that simmer till we have contempt for someone–especially when that someone is our mate! I’m grateful for your encouraging words, my friend! 🙂

  • Nan

    I think that many people struggle with vulnerability and so placing yourself in that situation can be a scary thing, even when you know you’re loved.

    My dad had quite a temper and I don’t ever remember him apologizing (in words, anyway). He once was furious with me about something and so I was sent to my room for three weeks. I was not allowed to come out when he was home, and so every night (and on weekends) I had to stay in my room and my mom brought me dinner.

    He never did apologize but I know he felt bad because he brought me a gift (my own t.v.). He just couldn’t say “I’m sorry” I guess.

    But once I became an adult he did apologize for something once, and I know it was hard for him, which made it all the more meaninful. Thanks for hosting today!

    • Absolutely, Nan! That’s the true rub–that fear that our mates will take advantage of us when we let them peek inside our hearts. I’m so sorry to hear that your dad was that hateful with you. I’m sure that’s left some scars that make being vulnerable hard at times. I’m so glad though that he has worked on that with you since then. It’s never too late to mend and tend to those old wounds! I am honored that you’ve been brave enough to share what you have here, my friend! It makes me feel compassion for you and closer to you! That’s the power of confession at work! 🙂

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  • Definitely was not in my household growing up 🙁 and I admit it is hard to do but with God’s help I keep persevering and confessing or apologizing. My dad had a terrible temper and I look back now and remember Mother always having a list of things all four of us had done to hand to him every night when he came home from work.No wonder he was in a bad mood all the time! The pressure of feeding a family of six and coming home to tension…well, enough said. But there wasn’t a lot of apologies in the household 🙁 May God help me in not repeating that pattern! Blessings, Beth!

    • It wasn’t a huge part of my family’s way of doing things either, Nannette. Although there were defining moments when I saw it happening and I think that gave me an even greater desire to have that kind of confessional culture in my own family/marriage. I’m glad that you’ve worked on developing this practice in your present family. It sounds like you’ve sorted through some issues even as you shared what you have here. I hope so! It’s always easier to see things from hindsight or from a different angle or place in life. I’m praying that same prayer too–that God would help me to not repeat the unhealthy patterns of my parents. Thanks so much for being open and vulnerable about your family of origin. It’s always great to have courageous commenters! Encourages me and I hope the MM readers!

  • Mary

    Interesting questions! The confessional culture growing up was done in privacy. It was what we learned in church and it followed through at home. I also felt that many times it was so private because we were brushing things under the rug rather than addressing them more openly. When you grow up a certain way, you take those things with you into marriage because you model after what you already know. This has given me food for thought and I will be interested to hear more next week. Thanks Beth! I hope you and your family have a blessed Easter.

    • Oh yes, Mary! We definitely live what we’ve known and seen modeled from our families. We don’t even realize it much of the time until we stop to think about those family patterns like we’re doing today. I’m sorry that things weren’t more open in your family growing up. I truly think that old saying, “We’re only as sick as our secrets” rings true. We must bring the “sickness” out into the open to know what we’re dealing with. And then we can take the appropriate steps to change or improve the situation. If we leave it “under the rug” we trip over it–over and over! 😉 Thanks so much for weighing in, my friend!

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  • JosephPote

    Yes…confession…a powerful tool, indeed.

    As a spouse…as a parent…as a friend…as a child of God…confession of errors and a willingness to try to improve is essential.

    Most of us don’t really expect our spouse to be perfect, nor for them to see us as perfect. It’s enough to know we each are aware of our own imperfections and see the other as a treasured blessing in our lives.

    Thanks for sharing, Beth!

    • Yes, it is enough to know that we are aware of the imperfections, Joe! So well put! It really isn’t even a promise of change as much as being willing to be humble about our mistakes and sins. Who doesn’t love someone who does that? Thanks for weighing in, my friend!

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  • From the beginning, before we got married I had shared the terrible things I had done with my spouse, things I had scars to show for, yet he married me.
    Right now, I cannot think of anything I cannot confess to my husband.
    Confession of sin or fault is very liberating…
    Thanks for sharing this and hosting us Beth.
    Do have a super blessed day!
    Love

    • That sounds like a beautiful story of redemption and grace, Ugochi! What a wonderful way to begin a marriage and life together! I’m so glad you were courageous enough to do that. I was talking with a single gal today and she was telling me how so many of the guys she dated were fakers and liars. Thankfully, she found a great guy at some point–someone who was honest right off the bat! That’s so crucial to a healthy relationship! Happy Easter to you and yours, Ugochi!

  • What a great quote! Ryan and I were talking last night and our conversation were along these lines! We trust our spouses because that is what we are suppose to do, but our relationship is only as open and honest as they are with what they tell us and visa versa. It is a hard thing to accept when their have been previous hurts. That is when we have to turn to God to ask him to lead us and our marriage.

    • I couldn’t agree more, Cassie. We must trust God when we go about the risky business of opening up our hearts–laying bare our flaws and sins before our mates. It sounds as if you’ve discovered the importance of it. Thanks so much for coming by and encouraging me! Happy Easter to you and Ryan!

  • Mary Flaherty

    I never thought about the fact that if I had a perfect husband, he’d always be preaching! I like that! A few months ago, Hubster and I were doing some errands, and I wanted to go into a store that was closing and had huge discounts (or so they claimed), but I really couldn’t enjoy myself. I told him this: “I feel like I can’t relax and shop when you’re with me because I feel like you don’t approve of my spending money.” He laughed! I said, “Why is that funny?” His response: “I didn’t know I had that much power over you.” That was a very telling, but funny moment. I confessed a fear that was completely unfounded.

    • I’m just now looking back over these comments, Mary, because I think there’s rich material here for future posts–directions these conversations have gone that inspire me. And I realized that I failed to respond to your comment. I’m sorry about that! But yes! Wouldn’t that be annoying (here on earth, still steeped in our flawed humanity) to be married to someone just like Jesus? I know I’d get irritated with him ALL.THE.TIME!! And I’m also very glad that you and your hubby had something of a break-through. It’s amazing the stuff we let stay up in our head–where it grows into this sick and twisted story that we live by! I love that you and your hubby are learning to be real with each other and sort out these issues in life and marriage. Hugs to you!