He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends. -- Proverbs 17:9 NIV
Determine to guard your mate's secrets (unless they are dangerous to them or to you) and to pray for them. Talk with your spouse, and resolve to demonstrate love in spite of these issues. Really listen to them when they share personal thoughts and struggles with you. Make them feel safe.
How much of an effort is it for you to hold back from saying something, critical or otherwise? What have you learned about your spouse today, simply from listening?
This chapter and dare was striking for me. It was an easy dare to complete, but another one of those life changing things. This book/experience continues to amaze me. These sentences said it all for me "You mate should not feel pressured to be perfect in order to receive your approval. They should not walk on eggshells in the very place where they ought to feel the most comfortable in their bare feet." Wow...
I actually completed this dare on Saturday, but didn't have time yesterday to blog. I had to push back day 18 because of the holiday too. Anyway, Havie and I went to the movies Saturday night. On the way home I struck up a conversation with him. Stealing a line from the book, I asked him, "Do you feel safe with me, or scared?" Of course, he wanted more information from me. I went on to ask that when it comes to things he has told me, does he feel safe or scared? He said that when we were dating, he was scared to tell me things because I was always breaking up with him. He didn't want to tell me something that might be negative. He said that now he can tell me things and he knows that he's safe. I wasn't expecting that response, so I pushed a little further. I asked him if he feels like I use things against him. He said no. I was thinking (screaming) to myself "Then why do you never tall me anything!?!" BUT I refrained.
The truth is that while I don't use his secrets as ammo, I am very guilty of being critical and expecting him to be perfect. I have a very hard time holding back from saying what I want to say with him. I tell myself it's because I want total honesty, but it's not healthy. It is something that I've been working on this entire process, but I am still struggling. I am making progress, but it's taking longer than I would like.
What I've learned about Havie by listening is that he gives me more credit than I deserve. He and I are more alike that I'd like to admit at times. What bothers him about me are the same things that bother me about him. He has a lot of pain and self-esteem issues, just like me. We could be healing each other and instead- we have continued to hurt one another.