Make Your Marriage a Safe Haven during Uncertain Times
- April Motl Crosswalk.com Contributor
- 2009 29 Jun
Oh, the comfort - the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person - having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away. ~Dinah Craik, A Life for a Life, 1859
We live in a performance driven culture with stress that can make even the most emotionally steady person start to pull apart at the seams. One wrong word or false step can get us plastered on someone’s blog, YouTube or some other form of wide spread communiqué. Corporations are down sizing and the pressure to “get ahead” is greater than ever for many in the business world.
I started thinking about the importance of being a “safe place” when my husband became a source of comfort and truth after I recently found myself rather unbecomingly plastered on one of those wide spread communiqués. He reminded me of the truth to help me get perspective, prayed for me and gave me what this girl always needs when she’s down -- a good hug.
As my mind turned over how important it is for marriage to be a source of comfort, I started noticing how many times people share marital problems that have a common root -- one spouse has an insecurity/weakness and the other is throwing salt in the wound.
Marriage was intended to be a relationship of intimacy and that means vulnerability. After God, your spouse is the one who sees nearly every flaw. How we respond to each other’s weaknesses and insecurities can make or break the trust so vital to the intimacy of marriage.
Responding with compassion and understanding creates an atmosphere of comfort, safety and trust. Not only will your marriage be stronger, but as individuals you will be able to conquer more of those daunting tasks in life because you know you have a cheerleader right there beside you. As a husband or a wife, you have a place of influence that no one else has! We are wise to learn how to be our spouse’s safe place.
The following are some of the ways God prescribes we offer comfort and encouragement to our family in Christ:
2 Corinthians 1:3-5: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
All of us feel overwhelmed or discouraged at times. When you see your spouse in that predicament instead of reminding him that he needs to work harder to climb the ladder of success or poking a finger at her struggle to juggle the demands of kids, the house and work, choose to comfort them with grace and love. God allows us to experience trials for many reasons, but one of them is because he wants us to reach out with compassion and understanding to others.
2 Corinthians 1:7: …knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.
The context of this verse describes a ministry partnership relationship, but doesn’t it also well describe how our marriages work? We ought to experience each others sufferings, but also share our comforts.
2 Corinthians 2:7: …forgive and comfort him, otherwise such a one might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.
This verse references the sin of one of the members of the church Paul is writing to. In our marriages we, will see each other fail. If your spouse is repentant, God’s heart is for you to respond with comfort and forgiveness. It is so easy to keep that long list of offenses and mistakes our spouse has made and use it as our trump card whenever we need a little leverage in a dispute. But what an opportunity we miss when we keep score!
Isaiah 35:3: Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble.
This verse isn’t hard to understand how to apply -- is your honey worn out? Find a way to tangibly come along side him or her to give encouragement and strength to them. Maybe it is some time away from the responsibilities of life, a shoulder rub, making and cleaning up dinner or just listening to them process life.
1 Thessalonians 5:11-12: Therefore, encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.
Use words that build your spouse up in love and truth!
Hebrews 3:13-14: But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
Keep encouraging your spouse! Don’t get weary of it because they need it! I have watched marriages fall apart as one spouse picks the other apart and the other gets bitter. If nothing else, that spouse gets a heart hardened by bitterness. But a hard heart can also get tangled in affairs and other deceitful sin.
One of the other ways we can comfort our spouse (and my hubby thought of this) is through sexual intimacy. Now, just for fun, I want to share his thought process with you.
I asked him if he knew of any good comfort verses that applied directly to marriage, since the ones above pertained to the general Christian life. He said, “God made Adam and Eve naked in the garden.”
“So, nakedness is comfort?” I responded with a little doubt because I was looking for a direct word correlation.
“Yes. They were comfortable being naked -- so comfortable, comfort -- that works!”
Not only were Adam and Eve partaking in physical intimacy, but there was no part of their physical, emotional, or spiritual union that held the slightest hint of uncomfortableness. They were free to be open and vulnerable with each other.
Marriage was designed to be a completely safe relationship. Think about how you can direct your relationship toward its design as you interact with your spouse. And enjoy God’s design for marital intimacy along the way!
However the Lord moves your heart to apply these truths to your marriage, I am praying that God opens your eyes to new opportunities to proactively comfort, encourage and strengthen your sweetheart!
April Motl and her husband, Eric, minister at their church in Southern California where he is a pastor on staff. April is the founder of In His Eyes Ministries; a teaching ministry devoted to helping women see their life from God’s perspective. For more information about the ministry visit www.InHisEyesMinistries.com. For a list of ideas to help your marriage through these four “full plate” issues, contact [email protected]. Also, for the ladies out there, check out the new Bible study My Reflection In His Eyes: Seeing Yourself as God Sees You to dig deeper into understanding the Lord’s love for you.