Hurts and anxieties and the temptations of the world often cause us to withdraw and close in ourselves. This is a danger to marriage. When we close ourselves in, we close out the one whom God has put into our lives to serve us as his comforting voice, his healing hands, and his protective embrace. Rest assured that God wants to help us open doors of love through his healing presence.
Marriage, as the earthly image of God’s radical love for us, is designed to thrive when both spouses are open, humbly honest, and helpful. When it’s our beloved who’s feeling self-protectively closed or uncommunicative and distant, the Holy Spirit wants to give us words, wisdom, and insights that will help our sweetheart. When it’s we who have shut out our beloved, the Holy Spirit wants to assure us that a miracle awaits us if we but choose to trust Jesus and let him redeem whatever has caused us to withdraw.
Turning to the Holy Spirit for assistance in helping our beloved is key to finding the right words and the right tone of voice that will open our beloved to hope and healing. Do we need supernatural patience so that we don’t push our sweetheart into deeper withdrawal? The Holy Spirit will give us the grace to overcome our own shortcomings so we can successfully find our way in to our beloved’s trust. But first we have to ask for this grace in a prayerful spirit of our own openness.
Trusting Jesus is essential when we’ve been unwilling or unable to entrust our closed-up hearts to our beloved. Consciously giving Jesus our trust is a first step out of our self-enclosed prison. It turns our attention from ourselves (from our hurts, fears, or whatever has made us close the door on our beloved) to Jesus, the Great Other who is bigger than all our problems. And from this change within, healing begins.
God designed marriage to have the same openness between spouses as between us and God. The more open we are — both husband and wife — with Jesus, receiving communication from him as well as giving him our attention and our needs and our hopes, the more open we become with our spouse.
- Am I closed off to my sweetheart in any way? Why? What am I afraid of?
- Has my beloved shut him/herself off to me in any way? Have I been Christ-like in trying to remedy this?
Strengthen your relationship:
Pray together for the Holy Spirit to inspire your conversation and provide gentle healing. Then take turns sharing one thing you’ve felt withdrawn or self-protective about, and ask your beloved to minister to you as Christ’s comforting voice, his healing hands, and his protective embrace.
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© 2017 by Terry Modica of Good News Ministries
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