Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Love Dare - Day Seventeen

Love Promotes Intimacy

You can be close to a good friend you’ve known since childhood or college days.  You can be close to a sibling, your parents, or a cousin who’s about your same age.  But nothing rivals the closeness that’s experienced between a husband and wife. Marriage is the most intimate of all human relationships.

That’s why we need it so much.  Each of us comes into life with an inborn hunger to be known, love, and accepted.  The prospect of sharing our home with another person who knows us down to the most intimate detail is part of the deep pleasure of marriage.  Yet this great blessing is also the site of its greatest danger. Someone who knows us this intimately can either love us at a depth we never imagined, or can wound us in ways we may never fully recover from.

If home is not considered a place of safety, you will both be tempted to seek it somewhere else.  Perhaps you might look to another person initiating a relationship that either flirts with adultery or actually enters in.  You may look for comfort in work or outside hobbies, something that partially shields you from intimacy but also keeps you around people who respect and accept you.  But this is your opportunity to wrap all this private information about them in the protective embrace of your love, and promise to be the one who can best help him or her deal with it.

Some of these secrets may need correcting.  Therefore, you can be an agent of healing and repair – not by lecturing, not by criticizing, but by listening in love and offering support.

Some of these secrets just need to be accepted.  They are part of this person’s make-up and history.  And though these issues may not be very pleasant to deal with, they will always require a gentle touch.

In either case, you and you alone wield the power either to reject your spouse because of this or to welcome them in – warts and all.  They will either know they’re in a place of safety where they are free to make mistakes, or they will recoil into themselves and be lost to you, perhaps forever.  Loving them well should be your life’s work.

How much more should we – as imperfect people – reach out to our spouse in grace and understanding, accepting them for who they are and assuring them that their secrets are safe with us?

This may be an area where you’ve really failed in the past. If so, don’t expect your mate to immediately give you wide-open access to their heart.  You must begin to rebuild trust.  

The reality of intimacy always takes time to develop, especially after being compromised.  But your commitment to re-establishing it can happen today – for anyone willing to take the dare.

Today’s Dare

Determine to guard your mate’s secrets (unless they are dangerous to them or to you) and to pray for them.  Talk with your spouse, and resolve to demonstrate love in spite of these issues.  Really listen to them when they share personal thoughts and struggles with you.  Make them feel safe.

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