Coming Out of Hiding
[There is] a time to keep silence, and a time to speak. Ecclesiastes 3:7
"Nothing's wrong." "It really doesn't matter!"
These are classic lines from a person who hides feelings of hurt, irritation, and unmet needs, but who seethes inside with pain or anger. Rather than "cause problems" or risk rejection, the "hider" seeks to suffer in silence. But when we hide our own feelings and desires, we undermine our own self-worth and sow the seeds for inevitable retaliation.
Often those who've hidden their true feelings for years complain that they can't feel love. Resentments have quenched romance, and bitterness has squelched affection. Much marital pain comes from the mind-set of, "I'll not tell you what I need, but I'm angry that you're not meeting that need."
The wisdom of Solomon says that there are times for silence and times to speak. The appropriate "speaking the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15) is critical to a deepened relationship. Christ modeled this in the Garden when He vulnerably shared His need for prayer: "Stay here and watch with Me" (Matthew 26:38).
Christ's openness with His needs is an important encouragement. Vulnerability with need is a testimony of trust. When we are secure in our relationship, we are able to tell the other person of our needs, knowing that he or she won't reject us or fail to meet our needs.
We can see in this same Garden account that Christ didn't hide His disappointment when the disciples fell asleep but openly asked them, "Could you not watch with Me one hour?" (Matthew 26:40).
A caring, loving relationship is built on the secure knowledge that if I'm feeling lonely, hurt, or disappointed, my spouse will want to know about it. Then I won't feel the need to "hide."
What steps do you need to take in order to be more open and vulnerable with your spouse about your needs?
Thank You, Father, that we can openly and vulnerably share our hurts and needs with our spouse.