The challenge of an open heart

flowering cactusEvery marriage (and every dating relationship that has deepened enough to reach true love) has its vulnerable areas. One or the other spouse does something or says something or fails to do something that triggers a reaction that is unpleasant for both.

And here we go again. Another argument. Or silent suffering. Or losing the enjoyment of being together. We feel the painful side of love.

The feeling is unavoidable in any marriage. And yet we aim to find a way to prevent it from ever happening again. How foolish! Working to avoid a feeling merely keeps us focused on that feeling. We can avoid the circumstance or alter the behavior that triggered the unpleasantness, but then something else will trigger that painful side of love.

And there’s the challenge. The effort we put into protecting ourselves from the painful side of love cripples our ability to give our best to our beloved. In trying to shield ourselves from a short-term feeling, we build a long-term wall around our hearts, and our beloved suffers from the separation we have built.

Accepting the challenge makes our relationship stronger. Instead of hiding our vulnerable hearts, we need to take time away from everything else and focus on giving the gift of an open heart, forgiving our beloved for failing to be perfect, and giving him or her the opportunity to give us the healing love of Jesus.

Reflection Questions:

  1. How can I help my beloved feel safer with me?
  2. What did my beloved do recently that healed a wound in my heart?

Strengthen your relationship:
Write a list of your beloved’s good qualities that help you feel loved. After reading each other’s lists, choose one from her/his list that you value most, and explain why. Finish your discussion with a prayer by asking Jesus to heal you both from old wounds and to deliver you from the fear of opening up to each other more fully.

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
© 2016 by Terry Modica of Good News Ministries

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