When our church was still small, I didn’t have a Pastoral staff so my wife (Hope) and I would go to Family Court to be there for members struggling through big life issues. It’s truly one of the most horrible places I have ever been. For those of you who have never been, imagine having this guy and this woman, watching as their lawyers eat each other alive. I mean, taking everything this couple ever lived through, all the dirt, all the secrets, all the shame, and throwing it out on the table.
It begins to help you understand why divorce is so incredibly painful and destructive, because they gave each other most of that information inside a covenant in which they vowed to cover each other. Now, the information they gave each other while they covered each other is the same information they’re using as ammunition to win the prize: the kids and the stuff. That’s when they realize: “I gave that information to you thinking you’d protect me, I gave it to you because I trusted you and believed you were a safe place, and now you’re using it against me in a contest?!”
I remember how Hope and I would sit there and watch these people having their guts ripped out, and we’d weep, remembering how that’s the same guy that she couldn’t go to sleep until she called, it’s the same woman from which the scent of her perfume sent him to the seventh heaven, but now they’ve grown familiar and where they once couldn’t keep their hands off each other, now lawyers are trying to keep them from putting their hands back on each other! What went wrong? How did something so beautiful go so terribly wrong? I’ll tell you what happened. At some point, they learned everything about each other, and weren’t equipped to handle it.
Listen carefully, this will change your marriage: Honor is only honor when I know every bad thing about you, and I still respect you, honor and cover you. That’s what God wanted His little girl to feel like, that’s what God wanted His boy to experience, when He destined you to be with each other. That was the safe place He designed for the two of you when you came together and vowed “for better or for worse.” Your marriage is supposed to be a safe place where previous hurts and pains can be shared knowing each of you will cover the other, no matter what. One of the greatest gifts you’ll ever give each other is the gift of being a sanctuary, a safe place of refuge, for your spouse to bring any thought, frustration, fear, temptation, or concern to you knowing you’ll still love, respect, honor and cover them no matter what.
Marriage Builder Action Step:
Take inventory of yourself. In what ways have you created an unsafe place to keep your spouse from feeling the liberty of sharing everything with you? Write them down; don’t filter the list. Then, when you’re ready, share it with each other.