Now I’m no marriage guru, but being a woman of the people, and a girl’s girl (we’re all in this together), I’m here to share the insight that I do have with you guys…because you guys have asked me to. So here we are!
If you’ve known me for two seconds you know that I’m obsessed with my husband (he’s a gift from God, my BFF, and I married UP) and that we love marriage. We’re on a mission to live a life that invites others into more freedom by being open and honest about our experiences, and what we’re learning along the way. That being said, one of the most asked questions lately has been about what has been challenging in marriage.
I think we’re in a time where people’s go to response about marriage when people ask is, “Oh my gosh it’s amazinggg!!” And that statement is 100% true. On the other hand, I wholeheartedly belive that we need to be cautious and use wisdom in who we let into our lives on a deep level (especially with who we let into the journey of marriage). That being said, I think there’s definitely space to talk more candidly about marriage and some of the challenges that arise. Because let’s be honest two completely different people trying to become one is not always rainbows and butterflies. Hear me on this-that statement doesn’t take away from the statement that marriage is amazing. Because although it is challenging (remember, I always say challenging doesn’t equal bad!) it is possible to completely enjoy your marriage day-in-and-day-out and grow in love for your spouse with each passing day; marriage should be a fun adventure! I do think though that the challenge and fun adventure co-exist together simultaneously through life. The amazingness and the challenge are both good in their own way and they exist together through our entire lives (not even just in marriage but life in general too). So today I’m sharing what I believe to be the biggest stumbling block to an out-of-this-world marriage- an unwillingmess to be vulnerable.
When I got married I definitely thought that communication and vulnerability would be easy peasy because there is no one in this world that I trust more, love more, or admire more than Collier. To my surprise, that wasn’t the case. I chose (and sometimes still do) silence instead of speaking up because it feels risky as all-get-out. It feels this way because the closer I am to someone, the more I have to lose-this is also what I like to call fear. Collier has the most ability to love me, receive me, and speak into my life but he also has the most power to hurt me, hinder me, and disappoint me. I promise you that it will always be easier to speak to a full arena of people (speaking in faith that that will happen one day, guys) than share an intimate moment or “deep dark secret” with Coll. There’s just way more on the line with my closest relationship compared to speaking of things close to my heart to total randos that I may never even meet. A word of rejection from a stranger is a feather compared to the anvil that it would be from a loved one. Am I making sense?
…way back when we started dating in 2011…tiny babies!
See when Collier and I were dating, things were a lot easier in ways because there was room for image management, which also means there’s room to back off or back out in situations where I heard vulnerability knocking at my door. Now don’t get me wrong, that space can still be present in marriage, but to operate as fully and as powerfully as intended to in marriage, all of that has to go. Now I know that not everyone reading this is married, but this still applies, regardless of relationship status. Let me translate: What would community look like if we gave ourselves grace, learned to embrace who we are, all the gray areas included? Without comparison? This would also compel us to be more gracious toward others. What would community look like if we all committed to stepping out consistently as well as showing up consistently? And I’m not talking about surfacey bs here. I mean really showing up, allowing the ugly, untamed, overgrown areas to play part just as much as the picturesque, pleasant, sweet parts?
Maybe this analogy will help you see what I’m saying. Since we’re keeping things real here, I’m 100% the messy one out of Collier and me. I just am. And Collier is beyond gracious as I learn that a clean kitchen is in fact one of Collier’s love languages. Well, 20 minutes before we have company over I do a quick sweep of the house and get it looking orderly and presentable. People come over, “your house is so cute! Blah blah blah.” But what only Collier (and me) knows is that there is a mountain of clothes, household items, etc. piled on our bed. And you know what? Most of the time Coll shakes his head and sighs, “Babe,” with a chuckle and loves me anyway. Other times, on rare occasion, he gets exacerbated and says, “Babe, you gotta get this cleaned up.” And you know what? Both responses are as equally loving, ok, and true. THIS paints the picture of true intimacy and vulnerability. It’s letting people see our hidden mess, our hidden crap, and in spite of it still loving us. Collier loves me and shakes his head because my mess is not my identity and he sees and knows that. But at times when my mess gets out of hand he calls me out- just like true community lovingly calls you out when you’re not living in the fullness of who you are or when you live in a counterfeit of your true identity-like a superhero wears a mask.
All of what I’m saying comes down to is this: We think that we need to feel totally safe and secure to risk ourselves in being vulnerable when in reality vulnerability actually requires us to step outside of security, act, and then the safety and security is built- a little more with each time we step out and put ourselves on the line-regardless of how we’ll be received.
Meet me here next week and I’ll be sharing some tools in avoiding or overcoming this stumbling block. What do you think?! Did any of this resonate with you? I want to hear from you!