Its so important to be honest with each other... especially when you're afraid to. Being honest and open in your relationship benefits you in many ways. Here are just a few:
1. It helps you hold each other accountable in your weaknesses and temptations. Allow for honesty to help each other fight the battles.
2. It eliminates the need for secrects!
3. It opens up your relationship to a whole new level of intimacy!
4. It puts you in the same team and acts as a barrier to outside enemies.
Early on in our marriage we faced a pretty tough battle. We had only been married a few short years and thought our love was invincible! However, one of us didn't know that the other was entangled in a battle of the flesh. Therefore the one couldnt help the other. The day finally came though when the one came to the other in honesty (and brokenness). Whew! The thought of that day still pinches at our hearts a bit. Communicating this was probably the hardest thing the offender had ever done. The "offendee" was able to finally help and offer grace and forgiveness and unconditional love, even though it was the most painful thing we had walked thru. The forgiveness was so worth it! The openness was so worth it! The tears, the tough conversations...all worth it! We were then able to move forward and offer each other accountability and prayer, and set up new boundaries (safety nets) for our marriage so it could be stronger than before and ready for the enemy's attacks.
What a difference it made once we had an honest conversation about our struggles and how we needed to help each other.
Here are just a few things we learned from that trial:
Lessons learned by the Offender:
1. Honestly is always the best policy: Honesty early on in the struggle is best. Much of the battle could have been fought better with honesty early on.
2. The enemy will deceive you into believing that if you are honest, it will ruin your relationship! Be aware of this lie and don't buy into it
3. Moving forward is hard. Trust won't come easy once it's been broken but it will come eventually.
4. You may have to eat humble pie but it will be worth it later.
Lessons learned by the Offendee:
1. Forgive! Forgive! Forgive! Whatever you have to do to say those words "I forgive you" just do it. Especially if you don't feel like it. Practice saying them in the little things so that in the really big things, they come out easier.
2. Feelings follow obedience (not the other way around). When you just do what is right, your heart follows. It may just take time for your heart to catch up with your actions when doing the right thing.
3. Forgiveness frees the offender from guilt and condemnation and paves the way for healing to take place.
4. Be patient with the trust process: 1It's okay that rebuilding trust takes a while and doesn't happen immediately. When trust has been broken, be patient with yourself and your spouse and just keep lovingly checking in with each other. It will get better if you are both open and honest and willing to be humble and patient with each other. Give it time.
5. We can forgive because Christ forgave us: He paid the ultimate price for us and forgave us of our wretchedness...over & over again. How can we not extend that same kind of forgiveness to each other.
6. You get what you give: Eventually you'll be in need of forgiveness from your spouse (if you haven't been already) and you will hope that they will be as forgiving to you as you are to them.
Yes. We are aware that we listed more lessons that the offendee learned than the offender learned. Sometimes, that's just how it is. Here's the thing though. You are 1 in your marriage! So when one of you learns something, the whole marriage benefits. So really lessons learned by the offendee AND offender were lessons for us both, because all of it has greatly benefited our marriage!
Lastly, we wanted to remind you of one very important thing: On your wedding day, you made vows to stick together and be there for each other in good and bad times (or for better and for worse...depending on how you worded it). This is where the rubber meets the road! In these moments, it's time to just buck up and work through these things even whether you feel like it or not. That's just part of being married. It's not all romantic valentines love all the time. Not even for us (no matter what the social media "highlights" may look like). But as we said in the beginning... Honesty breeds intimacy. So the romantic love will come but you may just have to go through the nasty storms to get the gorgeous sunsets. Soo...
- Hang in there with each other.
- Keep communicating!
- Be honest, and whatever you do...
- DON'T GIVE UP!!!
Cheering you on,
Allen & Carol