Last week I started my article with the word “Guaranteed” and I talked about things I thought I could guarantee in my ministry. One illustration was about a woman, another about a man but the two had this in common: I could guarantee that there would be no growth in their married intimacy and relationships as long as they hid “the real me” within an internal room (most commonly on the basis of the belief, “If they knew or saw the real me, they would reject me and leave.”). While I freely admit that I do not know how the other person will respond if an individual cracks the door to that room and decides to let them in, I can promise them it will not ever get better as long as the door is shut and locked.
I recall a couple that had come because of increasing discord and fighting in their marriage, as recently as the night before our session. As I listened to them describe their lives together I could sense how they were feeding off of each other’s hurt, pain and fear and, although these had a present day manifestation, in both of their lives the roots were in the past events and interpretations of those events of their individual lives. After I prayed I begin to share the fundamental principles and effects of lie-based thinking, including how I had personally experienced the impact of that kind of thinking when, in years past, I had been filled with anger, rage and hopelessness. The husband began to deeply sob as I was talking so I asked him what was going on inside. He simply said, “You are describing me.” I did not finish my personal story. Instead I asked him if he would be willing to follow the trail of his present emotion to its origin. He said he would and, with his wife present and praying, we looked at an initial moment that the Lord bought to mind. However, that moment was just a stepping stone to the root of his pain and when the Lord brought an earlier memory he said, “Oh, this is too embarrassing.” His wife offered to go to the waiting room so he and I could continue. It was a very intense, shameful moment to him but when the Lord brought His truth into it, the transformation to peace and calm was amazing.
After he had rested for a moment he asked if he should share this experience with his wife. Although he felt tremendous freedom within himself and could sense the Lord’s acceptance and embrace, he still had a concern that his wife would view him as gross and disgusting and therefore turn away. I told him I did not know what would be best but we could definitely ask the Lord, so we did. Then I invited his wife back into the room and quickly explained in a general way that her husband had just had a wonderful experience with the Lord. I turned to him and asked it there was anything he wanted to share with her about it. Yes, he wanted her to hear the whole story but asked if I would tell her; I gladly and carefully did. And then it happened. When I had finished she stood up – and came to kneel at his feet and hug him like a little boy. She told him, “You are not gross or disgusting. You are very brave. I love you so very much. Thank you for letting me in.”
The struggles are not over for this couple but this was a major step in the healing process. Some of the facade they had built into their marriage was cracked that day and, much to the husband’s surprise, his wife stayed – in fact, she moved closer. Please pray with me that folks would stop robbing their relationships of growth and intimacy because they are already convinced they know the way their spouses will respond. They could very well be wrong, also.