Why we don’t strive to have a good marriage anymore
A few hours ago, Benny and I came back from a workshop on marriage, called LAM (Love after marriage).
I am still filled with all those impressions, it was so amazing.
The most amazing, life transforming reality in this workshop was the tangible presence of the Holy Spirit, or in other words, the transforming reality of a God who cares for each and everyone who is present – addressing each one’s individual needs.
There were many couples with great sufferings in their marriage.
My heart ached for what they had been going through in the past and celebrated every step into freedom, transformation and fulfillment in their intimacy. I loved to see how hope was rebuilt during this workshop.
After only four days we could hear many testimonies of couples who took steps toward healing, freedom and restoration.
Benny and I loved to be part of this seminar, to be among all these precious people.
We didn’t go for any urgency in our own marriage. There was no big issue we were aware of that needed to be fixed.
However, at the end of that workshop, Benny told me:
“Jeanne, until now I thought that a successful marriage relationship consisted of harmonious quality times, cuddling and sex. Now I understand that there is a beauty and an intimacy we only start to discover! “
He is so right!
We know how to be together in harmony. We don’t fight often. When we do, we make sure to not hurt the other person unnecessarily. We love and honor each other. We have good sex. We can talk about everything. We don’t do the manipulating, blaming or controlling game.
But in those four days we came in touch with something much deeper than a “good marriage”.
We came in touch with the beauty of feeling deeply connected and intimate in a way we didn’t know before.
“For some people it is easier to have sex than to share deeply who they are”.
This was a statement during the workshop that touched me deeply.
I could identify. I find it easier to have sex with my husband than to accept to be vulnerable to a point of sharing who I deeply am. I find it easier to laugh and make jokes with people than to show how I feel deep down in my heart.
I am well capable to share what I think about many subjects – but am always challenged to share my deepest desires, wishes or dreams. I feel that It is easier to show what I think is acceptable to show – and hide the parts I am ashamed of.
In the beginning of our marriage, I was like a deer, ready to escape into hiding any time I felt scared, hurt or insecure. Benny was very gentle and sensitive, and ten years into our marriage, my “deery behavior” like he used to call it, only shows up very rarely.
However, there were still areas I felt like “don’t touch me there -. It’s too painful”!
Like I said, our marriage was already good.
But deeply connected?
We thought we were.
But we discovered that there is a difference between a good marriage – and a thriving marriage.
We realized that there is much more. More intimacy, more closeness. More vulnerability and more fulfillment.
And like anything precious and valuable – this reality takes time. It takes commitment and the willingness to integrate the Holy Spirit into marriage. It involves decision making. It involves desiring it enough to make it a priority. It involves the risk to get hurt.
We understood in a much deeper way that having a good marriage is not so much about the bliss of being compatible or not fighting much. Drifting apart, growing cold in love or other differences is a reality in many marriages – even marriages that, from the outside, seem to be “good marriages”.
Maybe you can’t identify with a “good marriage”.
So let me tell you something, I experienced in many areas in my own life. Seeing it on countless times other lives who decided to entrust God their situation, claim to him when there is this dark hopelessness, this sadness and pain occupy their whole being:
With God there is always hope. There are no hopeless situations.
No Person, in his eyes, is a loser. And whatever the struggles are –pornography, affairs and other hurts that happen in marriages – God is able.
Not only that. He has individual solutions for our individual stories. And what is best of all, he never shames us, but treats us with dignity, even if we are entangled in sin. During the workshop, we heard so many stories about people, who were close to a divorce, and experienced this reality. And during the final testimonies, everyone had the chance to testify what God did during these four days of the workshop.
Many times finding the way into a successful marriage is a process. Often, we have to take step by step and hold on to the truth for a period of time. But you know if you experience the view of God over your spouse, over your own life – impossible things start becoming possible. Things that are “over” suddenly have a new beginning. Incompatibility becomes compatible – and even becomes an asset.
Restoration can take place.
And I love to see that.
The amazing thing about this workshop was that the love of God was tangible.
There was an atmosphere of openness, vulnerability, faith and hope.
The many subjects that were brought up lead us deeper into the understanding of how to grow in our marriage, no matter at what point a marriage is.
- We talked about how to deal with past hurts.
- How to experience reconciliation – for little things but also for big issues.
- We talked about emotional intimacy –
- and sexual intimacy.
- How to deal with problems.
- We received tools to deal differently (and constructively) with conflict.
- How to see our partners with God’s eyes.
For every point, we could go through times of application with our spouse.
- We even had a sex-challenge for homework.
I would like to share the concrete steps we take as a couple in the reality of our marriage. How we go for this beauty, this intimacy, this closeness in our marriage. I will list points we already applied and things we were not purposeful about:
- Every day, we take some time to share our daily happenings and challenges. We pray for each other
- We take weekly times, away from stress, cellphones, hectic and even children. During those times we share our hearts. We try to go deeper than the things we talk about daily. We focus on who we truly are. We focus on the things we need to address in order to bring back closeness into our relationship (with the tools we received at the workshop) And we bring those things before God.
- We strive to see the spouse the way God sees him or her, and we pronounce His truth over them – striving to understand His truth even in situations that are painful or difficult.
- We commit ourselves daily to grow in our sexual intimacy. To share our selves, not only body contact and pleasure.
We highly recommend this marriage workshop, which offers many tools to grow into a marriage filled with wonder, beauty, intimacy, purpose and closeness. It brings beauty that doesn’t lie in a perfect marriage – but a thriving marriage. To know more go to Nothing hidden ministries
I love this scripture about intimacy that you find in the bible, 2 Corinthians 3:16-18:
But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
God loves us deeply and he tenderly wants to lead us into the reality of freedom, joy and life in abundance. He wants to lead us out of our shame, pain and insecurities into his glory and make us capable to experience this intimacy, this closeness with him – as well as our spouse.
A few days have passed since our marriage seminar. Since then, we have noticed that our children have become much more open, even more vulnerable towards us. They have absorbed the atmosphere of deep attachment and are now closer to us than ever before. Isn’t it great how children benefit in the process when we work on our marriage?