Marriage Staff Meeting: Roadblocks to Closeness


A loving relationship takes effort! Dr. David and Teresa Ferguson discuss roadblocks to intimacy and offer suggestions on how to overcome them.

This little thing called “love” is hard to figure out. It’s not enough just to fall in love with that special someone; love takes effort. It’s not too long before every couple figures out this truth: Learning to love takes practice. Couples may not realize it, but there are also obstacles along the road toward marital closeness. These obstacles distract us, deter us and even make it harder to experience love. We’ve identified three of the biggest obstacles to relational closeness. Take a look at the descriptions below and ask yourself: Which obstacle seems to get in the way for you?

  1. SELF-RELIANCE is the first road block to closeness. You might be self-reliant if you tend to be more task-focused, rather than people focused. You may miss the needs of your partner because you’re busy getting things done or checking off the list. You may be self-reliant if you often act independently from your spouse, neglecting to consider the other person’s view, opinion, preference or schedule.  You might be self-reliant if you tend to do your own thing, meet your own needs, and resist needing anyone else. You may even view others who are vulnerable or express their need as weak and needy.
  2. A second road-block to closeness is SELFISHNESS.  You may be self-centered if you tend to have your own agenda; it is centered primarily on your desires and your goals. You might be self-centered if you often demand, control or manipulate in order to get your way. You might have a tendency to talk more than you listen, take more than you give. You may be self-centered if you are frequently disappointed when others don’t notice or feel that others always let you down.
  3. SELF-CONDEMNATION is a final road-block to close relationships. You may struggle with self-condemnation if you have a difficult time receiving care from your partner.  You may often feel unworthy of or undeserving of your partner’s love.  You may be experiencing condemnation if you seem to take everything as a personal attack or accusation. Or, you might even have a tendency to apologize too much, or apologize often for things that are beyond your control. You might be self-condemning if you seem to reject your spouse’s love – even when they express it freely.

Discuss your answers to the following: 

1 I think I have a tendency toward the road block of _______________ because…

2. I’m wondering if this road block hurts our relationship by…

3. I can imagine that this road block also hurts my relationship with God by…

4. I can also see how this road block hurts me. I see now that…

5. I think my family-of-origin possibly contributed to this obstacle in me by… 

Now Do the Book!

Do the Scripture passage: James 5:16

Admit your faults to one another and pray for each other so that you may be healed.

  1. Admit your faults. Share a confession with your partner, especially your feelings of sorrow about how this road-block has impacted him/her. Express your sadness about how your road-block has painfully impacted your relationship and hindered your experience of love.  

Here are some samples of what that confession might sound like. Be sure to make your confession sincere and from the heart.

  • Sweetheart, I regret that my self-reliance keeps me from being more compassionate.  I know that this has impacted our relationship because you’ve felt hurt by my insensitivity.  Will you forgive me?
  • I am so sad that my self-centeredness has left you feeling used and taken for granted. I know this has impacted our relationship because there are times when you’ve felt controlled rather than loved by me. Will you forgive me?
  • It hurts my heart to think about the way my self-condemnation has impacted you. I see now how you have felt discouraged and defeated because I have such a hard time receiving your love. Will you forgive me?

Pray for each other that you may be healed. Now pray together. Say a pray to God that your partner can overhear. Ask God to remind you often of these hindrances and how they have impacted your partner. Ask Him to prompt you and empower you to love your spouse differently. Ask Him to heal your partner’s hurt.

Here is a sample prayer. Pray it out loud so that your spouse can hear your conversation with God.

Heavenly Father, I ask your forgiveness for my ______________. It has been wrong of me. I also ask for you to heal my wife/husband. Heal her/his heart and then change me.

Dr. Michael Smalley
The Biblical View of Marriage
Dr. Michael Youssef
Growing Together in Marriage
Pastor Rick Warren
A Deeper Healing - Suffering and Transformation
Dr. Tony Evans
The Unselfish Marriage
Pastor Rick Warren
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