You Know (selected parts of) Me

March 12, 2014

in Uncategorized

I think we all have a desire to be fully known and fully accepted by at least one person. We also have a fear of being rejected for who we are. This creates tension in all our relationships, and especially in our marriages. 

It can feel like we are rolling the dice each time we reveal another part of ourselves. Is this too weird? Will he misinterpret what I am saying? If he does not like what I show him, what will it cost me?

 Dice © Michelle Meiklejohn | freedigitalphotos.net

I wish I could tell you the risk is all in your head, but it may not be. Still, I advise you to push forward, with appropriate caution. The better you and your husband know each other, the better your marriage will be. You will feel closer and enjoy being together more. Additionally, other people will be less of a temptation.

A few thoughts on how to proceed: 

  • If you feel the need to reveal yourself one layer at a time, avoid lying or giving the wrong impression – it will cause problems later.
  • Encouraging him to share all of himself – but only if you have the ability to react with love and grace.
  • Accepting what he shares about himself in a loving way will encourage him to do the same with you.
  • I am not suggesting you should ignore sin. If something is past sin, do not treat is as if it is current. If it is current sin, speak the truth with love and grace.
  • Be aware of his injuries and weak places. Do not share anything that might cause him to stumble. There may be things that will be difficult for him no matter when or how you share them – pray about how to discuss those. 
  • Sexuality is a fearful area for most men. They worry fully sharing their sexual thoughts and feelings will cause their wife to hate them or be unwilling to have sex. If you have sexual thoughts, feelings, or desires you have not shared, doing so will help prime the pump. 

~ Paul – I’m XY, and I love that my wife knows me fully!

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

IntimacySeeker March 13, 2014 at 11:03 am

Could you elaborate on why other people are less of a temptation when we know our spouse more fully?

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Paul Byerly March 13, 2014 at 2:34 pm

If we have a need to be fully known by someone, we will seek that out when we do not have it. I think many (most?) affairs are more about emotional connection than sex. A man and a women get closer and know each other better and better until sex is a logical extension of their intimate relationship. When a husband and wife have that intimate connection, they are not interested or tempted to form it with others.

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IntimacySeeker March 27, 2014 at 10:15 am

Could you provide some examples of how a spouse might respond with love and grace when what is shared is painful and hurtful?

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Paul Byerly March 28, 2014 at 11:14 am

For me it starts internally. I know over-reactions on my part are because of something from my past. It is like being slapped on the back when you have a sunburn – it hurts way more than it would if you were not burned. It is right and good for me to let others know I am sensitive, but it is unfair to get mad at them for the extra pain from my being sunburned – especially if they have no idea I am burned.
I also accept that my wife has a right to feel what she feels, even if I don’t like it or think it is “correct”. She too is dealing with pain from her past, which makes her more sensitive than she “should be”.
I have also learned (far too slowly) to think on things before making a final decision. My intimal thoughts and feelings may not be what I will think and feel after I give it some time. I am free to change my mind as I reflect.
With those things in place, I can be hurt, and not need to hide it, but still show love and grace.
Much of this can be summed up as assuming the best. My spouse did not say this just to hurt me. Maybe she knew it would hurt me but still felt it needed to be said. Maybe she is struggling and hurting and talking honestly with me is part of what she needs to work through it. Maybe she had no idea it would hurt me. Maybe she is having a clueless moment (it is probably more common for men than women to do this one). When I assume she was not just trying to hurt me, it is easier to be less upset.

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IntimacySeeker April 6, 2014 at 3:04 am

My husband shared something with me the other night that took some courage on his part. I worked really hard at not overreacting. The next day, I acknowledged that lack of sleep was driving the intensity of my emotions and skewing my perspective. This morning I shared with him that I’m not sure what to do with this information.

Is it typical to feel shaken up and frightened before feeling closer and more connected? I feel now that I don’t know him as I thought I did, or perhaps I had my head in the sand. I am struggling to keep the protective walls from rising back up.

Any words of encouragement?

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Paul Byerly April 6, 2014 at 1:31 pm

Yes, it is normal to feel less close at first. You need to process the information, and the two of you need to adjust your relationship.

I would guess he is seeing growth in you and felt he could share without it being a long term problem. Right or wrong he likely felt this was not the case in the past. His doing it now is a very good sign both about him and your relationship.

Hang in there, it will get better!
Paul Byerly recently posted…The Daily OfficeMy Profile

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IntimacySeeker April 8, 2014 at 11:32 am

Thanks for the encouragement and support. Doing much better now. A couple of comments:

Delivery matters. My hubby’s verbal communication abilities are affected by a stroke he suffered some years ago. There is a tendency to simply blurt things out, often couched in other mundane/routine statements. And there are no preparatory statements nor are there any reassuring statements.

When revealing, it helps if we are able to answer some questions our spouse may have in order to clarify or validate that what they heard matches what we said. I was not given this opportunity and was left for two days (he went on a business trip , so face to face conversation was not an option) to not only process, but fill in the blanks on my own. Kind of like he handed me a hot potato, and then fled the scene.

I made a point to express my appreciation that he was able to share and that I admired his courage and felt honored by his trust in me. With God’s grace, we continue to learn and grow.

Can you say more about “the two of you need to adjust your relationship?” As it is, I feel we merely survived something or avoided a crisis. Maybe there is a period of time when relief is the most noticeable emotion?

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Paul Byerly April 9, 2014 at 11:02 am

Delivery is critical! Put how, and when.
Failure to encourage follow up is a common fault for men. We want to get it out there, deal with it right then, and move on. Most women do not work that way.

At to the adjusting – any time you learn something new about yourself or your spouse, that needs to be interoperated into your relationship. Even when that thing is good, making it a part of your relationship requires some adjustment.

Glad you are doing better – praying for both you and your husband.
Paul Byerly recently posted…Charity and Love Begin at HomeMy Profile

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