As I told you in the first blog, I am piggy-backing off of the marriage series at my church. This past Sunday our best friends, Trevor and Jenna preached together for the first time. I literally was beaming with pride as I watched those two “do their thang.” We go way back with these two, which is a whole other blog post, but the neatest thing about all this is seeing God’s faithfulness in every part of it. We dreamed and prayed for years that the 4 of us would someday be able to do ministry together and it is now a beautiful reality. With both Nick and Trevor on staff at our church and Jenna and I not only supporting our husbands in ministry but serving right there alongside them, seriously it chokes me up every. single. time. Any who…sorry I went off on a rabbit trail, but I am still gushing over them from yesterday, love y’all!
They touched on several great topics yesterday as it pertains to marriage but there are a couple I want to park at and dive a little deeper into today…vulnerability and “the one.”
Last year I read a book by Brene Brown called Daring Greatly and it was AMAZING! This is another book I highly recommend for couples to read. Although it is not specifically for marriage, this book talks all about vulnerability and HELLO, that directly relates to marriage and any type of relationship. Her definition of vulnerability is uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. We are all created with this desire to be loved and to love. We are incurably relational. Why? Because we were created in the image of God and God IS love. The most beautiful picture of vulnerability can be found in Genesis chapter 2:25…”The two of them, the Man and his Wife, were naked, but they felt no shame.” In the beginning after God had created a suitable companion for Adam, they became one flesh and the two of them, Adam and Eve, stood naked. They were fully known and felt no shame. Now I don’t know about you, but after having been married almost 8 years and 3 babies later, I still get a little anxiety over the thought of having to don a bathing suit in front of my husband especially after having indulged a little too much over the holidays and being pale as Casper the friendly ghost, can I get an Amen?!? But you know what can be even more scary than exposing your fluffy post-baby, pale-as-casper body? Baring your soul, exposing your true emotions, and the risk of opening your heart. In Ann Voskamp’s newest book The Broken Way she says,” Letting yourself be loved is an act of terrifying vulnerability and surrender. Letting yourself be loved is its own kind of givenness. Letting yourself be loved gives you over to someone’s mercy and leaves you trusting that they will keep loving you, that they will love you the way you want to be loved, that they won’t break your given heart.” You see, vulnerability is the birthplace of everything we hunger for: closeness, intimacy, being heard, loving, and being loved.
So if vulnerability is key to a lasting and healthy marriage, how can we embrace this and live it out…
- Be you: Be authentic. Work towards being more vulnerable. Speak and share your honest experience. Be committed to your spouse; to sharing your true thoughts and feelings, getting them out in the open and then working through them together. This has been huge for us. I am the type of person that would rather keep it all inside until I have formulated exactly what I want to say, but I have learned that there is vulnerability in just “word vomiting” it all out there even if I am afraid I might hurt my husband’s feelings or step on his toes and then us sorting through it together.
- Receive love and give love: sometimes the act of receiving love is far harder than giving love. We think we don’t deserve this kind of love and live in constant self-defeating thoughts. In order to be vulnerable, we need to move past this and shed this “old skin” of ours. And giving love, well these few sentences sums it up perfectly…”Love is so large that is has to live in the holiness of very small moments of sacrifice. Love demands you lie down and die in the small moments, the moments not scripted for screens, but written into the inner hem of a heart that can change how someone breathes (Voskamp).”
- Practice, practice, practice: I imagine vulnerability is a lot like two steps forward and one step back. Somedays are better than others and other days, shame gets the best of you. Vulnerability is like a muscle and must be worked, the more it’s worked the greater your vulnerability muscle expands. Little small steps everyday, remember it’s progress not perfection (motto for life). By practicing being vulnerable in small steps, you can build confidence in being more vulnerable with your spouse.
Shew, that was a lot longer than I had anticipated and really we could talk about shame and vulnerability for days as it relates to relationships, particularly marriage. But one more topic that I really want to cover briefly and it’s the theory of “the one.” For a long time I lived in the assumption that there was just this one person that God had created just for me, just for Lindsey Grayce. While I was praying and waiting for him, he was somewhere doing the same. And on that fateful day when we would meet each other for the first time, our worlds would collide, the angels would sing and we would both know. WRONG!!! Wrong, wrong, wrong. I believe this faulty assumption really hindered me in my relationships prior to meeting me husband and even once I met “the one.” The reason this is faulty thinking is because by believing there is just “one” person out there for you, that puts far too much pressure for any one person to fulfill, especially another broken, human being like yourself. I know for certain I am not perfect and don’t measure up, so why should I believe that someone can do that for me? I remember a pivotal moment in mine and my husband’s dating relationship that happened early on, was when I finally took the grips off “the one” theory. I can’t tell you how much pressure that took off our relationship and freed us up to really get to know each other instead of choking the other one out and repeating “you are the one. you have to be the one.” The truth is, out of the 7 billion people in the world, I am sure there are several guys that I could marry and live a perfectly happy life with but I chose Nicholas Charles and he chose me. And often times love looks more like a daily, on-going choosing of the other. True love is in the daily giving, sacrificing and choosing of the other.
Now to the fun daily stuff that you can do with your spouse:
Day 1: thought-I am genuinely interested in the things my spouse cares about. task- name one interest that the two of you share in common.
Day 2: thought-my spouse is a gift from Good. task-pick one way your spouse has been a blessing and thank God for them.
Day 3: thought-I find joy in spending time with my spouse. task- name a time where you and your spouse share a good laugh together.
Day 4: thought- I have changed in meaningful ways because of my marriage. task- list the positive adjustments you have made since the time you were married.
Day 5: thought- I choose to love my spouse today. task- put your commitment into action by doing something thoughtful today.
Nightly Challenge: Take a moment before the day ends to spend a few minutes in meaningful prayer toward one another. Ask God to be the center of the relationship and the guiding light to your marriage. Ask God to work in your marriage to bring about joy, healing and purpose.