Connection is Costly
By Bonnie Hoover
It happened on mile 3 of our 5-mile hike down from an overnight stay at the Len Foote Hike Inn. The kids walked ahead while Daniel and I lagged behind, enjoying the crisp mountain air. Daniel reached out and grabbed my hand as we talked about what a fun two days we’d had off the grid and away from the world. We talked about our life, family, ministry, and dreams. Our hearts connected.
Isn’t that what we sign up for in marriage? Sure, we want someone to enjoy life and grow old with, but it’s more than that. At the heart of it, we all desire to be seen, understood, loved, and valued. We long for someone we can share our deepest desires, passions, dreams, insecurities, fears, failures, and hurts with who will value them because they treasure us.
So, why do we sometimes settle for less than a deep heart connection with our spouse? We may have different reasons in different seasons of marriage. But maybe we’ve lost trust and put up an emotional wall somewhere along the way, and we don’t feel safe to be vulnerable. Perhaps we haven’t reserved the time or energy required to dig into the wells of our spouse’s heart. Or maybe we just aren’t wired to handle emotional conversation like our spouse is. Whatever obstacle to emotional intimacy may stand in the way of our closeness, it may be time to work to overcome it.
God created us to share our heart with our spouse. Genesis 2:18a, 24-24 says, Therefore, a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and not ashamed.
Part of becoming one is learning to connect with our spouse emotionally. In God’s perfect design, before sin entered the world, “The man and his wife” weren’t just physically unclothed before each other. They withheld nothing because they had nothing to hide. There was no shame between them, complete vulnerability. Building that kind of intimacy in marriage will require us to roll up our sleeves and strive to create safety in our relationship.
The kind of emotional connection we all desire must have trust as its foundation. I’ve earned trust because I’ve proven that your heart is safe with me over time. I’ve shown you that I won’t hurt you or that I won’t hurt you again if I have in the past. I’ve been a soft place for you to land when you’ve fallen and have given you the courage to stand again. I’ve been both available and accessible to listen and respond with grace on your worst days and never held it against you because I love you.
Yes, this kind of connection is costly. It bears our soul’s deepest passions to someone, praying they will protect our secrets and champion our dreams. It lays bare raw wounds and scars in search of a covering of grace and compassion. This connection moves through pain to offer our hearts to each other again and again. Isn’t this what we hoped for when we pledged our love? To know and be known by someone who sees us deeply, the real us, and loves us anyway? This is the Marriage Adventure!
Enjoying the Adventure,
Daniel & Bonnie