It's Hard to Hear


Holding back truth for fear of rejection or retaliation has no place in an intimate relationship.

Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed. Proverbs 27:5

Teresa has always been able to speak her mind, and that's why I knew something was wrong when she was so quiet in the car one day. We had embarked on the "Ferguson family home tour," which meant we were traveling the streets of Austin, showing the kids the twelve homes we had lived in when they were growing up. There were plenty of comments like, "Dad, are you sure we lived there?" As we rounded the corner to our current home, Teresa was unusu­ally quiet.

When the kids were settled at home, I asked Teresa what was bothering her. She hesitated, spent a few minutes collecting her thoughts, and then began to tell me: "David, I felt saddened and hurt by some of the memories attached to all those homes. I was struck with this thought: Why did we have to move all those times? The answer was, David thought these homes were good investments. I began to reflect on how many times we uprooted our family, all in the name of a good investment. It seemed like the main agenda was yours, not the well-being of the family."

Teresa's words stung my heart. We spent a few minutes holding one another in silence, and then I confessed my selfishness. It was true; in those days of moving I had very little sensitivity to the needs of my family. I mainly thought about things that concerned me. I felt deeply grieved for Teresa and the kids but relieved that she felt the freedom to tell me what she was thinking. It felt good to know that she loved me enough to speak honestly.

Intimate relationships exist only in openness and flourish only in vulnerability. Holding back truth for fear of rejection or retaliation has no place in an intimate relationship.

How will you begin responding when your spouse speaks difficult-to-hear truth?

Father, when Your loving correction is needed, involve my spouse in communicating Your truth.

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