Have a ‘Scary Good’ Marriage? And Linkup!

Scary Good

It’s seems crazy to think about it, but the characters, as well as, the audience that clamors for more of the movie 50 Shades of Grey are really seeking the “scary good” that can only be experienced through the deep intimacy of a committed and safe marriage. God’s intimacy with us is represented by the “Holy of Holies” (Click here to read my last post that unpacks that more).

But I believe there’s a Holy of Holies” in our marriages too! This happens when a . . .

[Tweet “Marriage is built upon complete trust & vulnerability, so that true intimacy can be experienced.”]

In the Old Testament we’re told that if a Jewish priest did not carefully follow a certain ceremonial protocol before entering the Holy of Holies, he would die. In fact, they would tie a rope around the leg of any priest who entered, so that if they did not see the rope moving for any length of time, they could pull the  now “dead” priest back out without entering and defiling the Holy of Holies. Scary stuff!

Sadly, . . .

[Tweet “Many marriages die because couples do not seek out intimacy that’s “scary good” by God’s design.”]

So how do you move into that deep place of intimacy and vulnerability with your spouse?

Here are some ways to begin this pursuit . . .

  • Seek God daily and moment-by-moment, asking Christ to illuminate your heart with His truth of who and whose you are.
  • Trust your mate to the Lord. If you continue to try and control or manipulate your spouse, you will stay stuck and never experience the removal of that “veil” where true intimacy with your spouse is revealed.
  • Find ways to be open, confessional and vulnerable with your spouse on a regular basis. This is where the “scary good” often makes its most obvious appearance. However, if you have issues with trust or your spouse has proven himself untrustworthy, then the unpacking of wounds with the help of a professional as well as finding healing must come before the veil can be removed. Don’t make the mistake of forcing it open!

 

But if you’re in a marriage where progress and healing has taken place, then your next move is to . . .

  • Create a daily and ongoing culture of confession by humbly taking personal responsibility. Here’s a shortened version of a self-disclosure exercise that I use in my life-coaching that can help you get this trusting climate revved up in your marriage when you practice it regularly.
  • Give yourself to your mate through affection and sexual intimacy—prayerfully opening yourself up to more and more “scary good” vulnerabilities. These “vulnerabilities” do not and should not include any type of coercion or abuse—like those represented by 50 Shades. That would violate the safety that is necessary for intimacy to flourish. Let the Lord be your guide in this pursuit. Reading the Song of Solomon is another great place for the Lord to open your eyes to what might be your “next adventure.”

 

I’ll be the first one to say that I am not “swimming” in the deep or “scary good” end of this pool. You could say that I still have my “floaties” on! But I do feel God nudging me further and further out of my comfort zone and deeper and deeper into the heart as well as arms of my husband. I want to trust the Lord so much that to not go on this intimate adventure with my man would be to miss one of the greatest adventures God has designed for my life and marriage.

 

What are some ways you have been vulnerable with your mate—pushing into the adventure of “scary good” intimacy? (Please only share “G” rated ways!)

 

What gets in the way of pursuing the “scary good” in your marriage?

 

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

Now it’s time for Wedded Wednesday . . .

Find our other WW buttons and guidelines here.

Messy Marriage

And don’t forget to include a link back here, because the easier people can find me, the more traffic I can send your way!

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  • Beth … I really appreciate the depth and strength of the questions you’ve shared in that self-disclosure coaching exercise. These are such game-changing, powerful, yet kinda scary conversations to venture into. Even 10 minutes at a time would make a world of difference for most of us.

    Thanks for tools that turn relationships upside down. You are a coach’s coach, friend!

    ;-}

    • Yes, Linda, they are powerful questions and the process is equally powerful … and scary. I know that Andrew mentioned above that most men would not be willing to “go there” but I think these questions are intended for couples who know they “must go there” or their marriages may unravel. And if a couple has “proactive mindset” then they will see the value of preventing conflicts or “untangling the knots” during a time when both are calm and ready to give/receive. Thanks for your constant encouragement, my friend! I treasure you!

  • I enjoyed this post. I like how you discussed the Holy of Holies. One thing I realized recently is when the veil of the Holy of Holies was torn with Christ’s death, His flesh became the veil (Hebrews 10:20). Isn’t that amazing? And because of that, we can boldly approach the throne of grace.
    Scary good intimacy?? Well, I think a lot of that was when I was healing from childhood trauma. I trusted Marcus to be gentle and patient with me. That is a very vulnerable place to trust someone. And he proved himself to be very trustworthy with it…and now reaps the benefits!! HAHA!

    • Oh wow! Very amazing verse, Aimee. Thanks for sharing. I just recently finished studying Matthew (very sloooowly!). It was only about two weeks ago that I read where Christ’s death ushered in the tearing of the veil. Ironically this movie has coincided with the timing of my Bible reading and God has used it to draw a correlation in my mind. Our society is so confused and blind to the perversion that this movie is bringing to the idea of “romantic love,” when there’s so much more offered in and through our Lord! Thanks for your encouragement, my friend!

  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    What a fascinating post, and concept!

    From a male perspective, I’d like to offer this observation – most men will look for some sort of quid pro quo in offering vulnerability, and it has to be one that is direct and clear.

    Men are pretty simple, and in terms of relationships…stupid. They also tend to a form of cowardice. They simply can’t make the intellectual/emotional leap required to see that vulnerability and emotional nudity, so to speak, are the way forward.

    They want their armor, with the visor down, thank you very much.

    It’s no wonder that God left childbirth to women. men could not take pregnancy, let alone the experience of birth.

    This much I think is true – this is an area in which women have to take the lead, and expect, at least for a while…perhaps a long while.,..to feel like they are walking alone.

    But most men are trainable, and eventually…in God’s time, and not yours…you may find that there is a true husband by your side.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2015/02/surviving-porn-2-killing-evil.html

    • Thanks, Andrew, for sharing the male perspective! Much needed as we women tend to expect too much in this relational area. It’s good to know my man isn’t the only one who is “stupid” when it comes to relationships. :o) I will share this with him. Much appreciated input.

    • I agree, Andrew, that many (even most) men feel that this kind of vulnerability is too much and not worth the effort. But I’d also venture to say that many women feel the same about the vulnerability of going deeper or giving more in their sexual relationship with their husbands. And since that is the case, I think we can leverage what we are most comfortable with to encourage our spouse in the ways that he/she is least comfortable with. We help each other or spur one another on as we give in the areas that are most threatening to us personally. I also believe that since God exhorts us to “confess your sins to one another” (James 5:16), we don’t really have an excuse for not pursuing this deep intimacy and self-disclosure especially with our mates. I’m not saying it’s easy–hence the title, “Scary Good.” But it is possible with the Lord enabling and emboldening us.

      All I’m saying is that it should be the target that we aim for if we hope to deepen our connection with our mates and move into that “Holy of Holies” in our marital relationship. My husband is considering responding to this issue from his male perspective in the weeks ahead. Perhaps that will give a more balanced view to this conundrum in marriage. Thanks for adding to the discussion, Andrew!

  • Mary

    I love your insight and realistic approach to marriage and in this case intimacy. I am soaking it in as a resource for two sons who will be marrying someday. I find that it doesn’t take much to lose the vulnerability that might be present in a marriage and was intrigued by Andrew’s perspective below. Thank you for “going there” and giving your readers a real perspective as well as real tools to aid in intimacy. Blessings my friend!

    • Thanks so much, Mary. I do think it’s something that we don’t put much stock in within our culture or even in our church culture. I’ve heard many a sermon on improving the sex life in marriage at my church but rarely hear the call to confess my sins to my spouse as a way to deepen intimacy in my marriage. It’s something that God has convicted me about and I’ve seen the amazing fruits that humble confession has yielded in my marriage. I just think it’s sad that we are okay with settling for less than that because it is threatening. I agree that Andrew raises an important issue in this whole process, but because something is threatening is, in my mind, no reason to abandon the pursuit of God’s “scary good.” My husband may make a rare writing appearance to address his side of the equation here in the weeks ahead, so I hope you’ll keep on coming back by, sweet friend!

  • Beth, I love the wisdom shared in this post. Every one of the suggestions starts with us and God. Not our mate. As we tend to ourselves before Him, God will tend to our mates. So wise as we often wait for change to begin or start with the other person. Blessings!

    • Yes, that’s a great observation, Joanne. God gives us so much power when we quit focusing on what our mates aren’t doing and do what WE can do to bring perspective, healing and affection to our marriages. And I would add to your wise statement above . . . “As we tend to ourselves before the Lord, God tends to our hearts as well.” No one goes without when the Lord is in the center of our marriage and our focus. Thanks for your kind words, my friend!

  • I am loving the first quote! Sharing now 🙂

  • Wow! This is really good. My much needed take away is, “If you continue to try and control or manipulate your spouse, you will stay stuck and never experience the removal of that “veil” where true intimacy with your spouse is revealed.” Thanks!

    So what am I working on…really trying to listen and not translate what my husband is saying, no matter if I feel I know why he’s saying it. This helps him trust me leading to more intimacy.

    What prevents me from going there? Fearing that things will never be different, that I must help things along, rather than trusting God.
    We must trust God’s ways over our own. Thanks again!

    • I like the “take away” you encapsulated, Terry. That’s a great way to put it. Control or a blaming focus really poisons a marriage. If you want your spouse to remain the same or get worse, try changing them! ha! I think if you really focus on what you want to work on above, then you’ll see your husband moving towards you and responding with more openness and appreciation as well. Thanks also for sharing vulnerably here in this space! That fear is a big one for a lot of folks. When will we wake up to the reality that we are not God and therefore leave God’s job up to Him?! Thanks so much for stopping in to comment, my friend! It’s a pleasure to get to know you better. 🙂

  • This such a wondercul post. I foind it quite encouraging. Thanks too for hosting..ahead of time since I am not home and commenting from my tablet….vettinv techy here.

    • I’m so glad you liked it, Judith. You’re a sweetheart and I appreciate your kindness to me.

  • Spending time reading the Bible, praying regularly, even reading these blogs. They are like a spiritual yoga that gives me some kind of energy, reminds me to turn to and appreciate my wife. Like I used to, I stop what I’m doing and listen to her, I touch and kiss.

    As for vulnerability, no. Like Andrew says, I am in full plate.

    Your self-disclosure exercises look good. I’ll re-read and use them.

    David

    • Is that your answer to how you’re pushing into the “scary good” in marriage, David? If so, I wholeheartedly agree that filling your heart up with God, His Word and godly friends will give you much that overflows into your marriage. I love that you are also doing simple and meaningful things like stopping what you’re doing to listen, touch and kiss her. We underestimate the power behind these simple gestures of love and respect. And you know, David, as long as I’m conversing with you here and through emails, I will encourage you to be vulnerable and open with your wife. Perhaps one day you’ll receive the courage God wants to pour into your lap and you’ll be able to do the unthinkable. And that will be the greatest adventure, that “scary good” that’s waiting for you if you dare! Thanks so much for stopping in to comment!

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  • JosephPote

    I know this isn’t exactly what you are writing about, but our recent weekend adventure is what keeps coming to mind as I read this post. http://josephjpote.com/2015/02/faith-love-joy/

    Thank you, Beth, for continuing to challenge us to grow in our marriages, and for using a popular secular movie to make a point.

    And…once again…I love how you tie this to the intimacy and awe of the Holy-of-Holies. That’s rich!

    • I’m so glad that it reminded you of your weekend with your sweet wife, Joe. I think it’s great that you are cultivating all parts of your marriage. And thanks for your kind words to me. Your support and encouragement here at MM means a lot!

  • bluecottonmemory

    Letting my husband be his independent, fearless self – and not faltering to fear – that weaves a bond of trust – both with God, my spouse and me. It’s not always easy:)

    • Yes, appreciating and embracing our spouse’s unique wiring is an important aspect of deepening intimacy and the bond we have with our mates, Maryleigh. And I wholeheartedly agree about the “not easy” part! But anything of deep worth is not easily gained–except for God’s grace. But even that was not easy for Him to offer us, since it cost Christ His life! Thanks so much for stopping in and adding to the discussion, my friend! Hugs to you!

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  • Just yesterday morning as I was getting ready for work I listened to a podcast on Vulnerability in marriage. Reading this make me confirm that God wants me to BE VULNERABLE with my husband, because like you Beth, I still have my floaties on.
    Thanks so much for sharing this with us, I have decided to deliberately start the process of releasing ALL of me and my heart and enjoy the Scary Good Marriage God has in store for me.

    • Oh wow, Ugochi! I love it when God makes it very clear what He’s trying to get across to me. So glad this came at that right time and way. Thanks for also sharing that you are in the same “floatie” situation. It’s easy to stay in the shallow end of the marriage pool, but I want to go deep. Let’s take that plunge, my friend!

  • Candy Reid

    A little late getting to the party this week…But I love your post! So much power-packed truth and challenge in so few words. 🙂 Thanks for sharing.
    I’ll be on time next week with a marriage post to link up. 😉
    Blessings,
    ~Candy
    http://momsmorningcoffee.com

    • Thanks so much, Candy! I’m so glad you felt it was a powerful challenge . . . because it is a powerful challenge for me as well! I sure don’t want to be alone in this “scary good” marriage challenge! 😉 Thanks for stopping in and encouraging me!