Lesson Two: Soul Mates

Chapter two of our lesson teaches about the next level to intimacy, emotional intimacy.  In order to achieve emotional intimacy each spouse has to learn to nurture the other.  Nurturing is the skill to praise and affirm another person’s heart.  Dr. Weiss uses the metaphor of a sponge to describe the importance of nurturing our spouse’s soul.  We know what happens to sponges that are allowed to dry out. They become dry and brittle. Eventually, they become so dry that they are no longer functional. Likewise, people who do not receive regular praise also become dry and brittle.  What results is often sarcasm, anger, bitterness, and rigidity. The irony is that the person also has even less of an ability (and willingness) to give love to the person who withheld the praise! What a vicious cycle but how often we find ourselves in this place!

He makes an amazing point – many of us are very willing to nurture our children but are not willing to do the same for our spouses. We are all children of God and truthfully, we are all children in our deepest places. Why should we be willing to love our children unreservedly and not do the same for the person with whom we should be aspiring to spend the rest of our lives? Doesn’t make sense, does it?

Many of us were not nurtured as children and that is quite unfortunate. I certainly know the deep wounds that this neglect causes. However, we cannot let our past determine our futures! Even if we were not nurtured and praised God can heal our own wounds as we begin to pour into our spouses that which we did not receive.   If you aren’t sure how to be a nurturer, ask someone. Seek help. Come to Sunday School class and ask questions! You can learn… and your marriage will be so much better for the effort.

Doug Weiss poses three questions that we believed in our class discussion that all of us should ask. In fact, it was suggested that these questions be given to engaged couples.  These are questions that we could realistically expect God to ask when we get to heaven.

1. What did you do with Jesus?

2. What did you do with the spouse I gave to you?

3. What did you do with the children I gave you?

These are excellent questions.  Are you sharing Jesus? Do you view your spouse as a gift, a sacred trust that God expects you to honor? Do you view your children as gifts? Good questions, huh?  How do you think God will respond knowing that you WERE WILLFULLY NEGLECTING your spouse?  If you’ve been guilty of neglect in the past, you still have time to do what God has called you to do! Start today.

I particularly liked the image he used for people who do not know how to share their emotions. He called it ’emotional constipation.’  This can be a roadblock to connecting emotionally, a critical component to a healthy marriage.  Each one of us – men and women – NEED to be connected emotionally. This is a need, not a want.   We like to think that women are emotional and men are not (some smarty in class said that men were emotionally constipated and women had emotional diarrhea). We are all emotional beings since we were made in the image of God. Read the scriptures and you will see that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit exhibited emotions!   In order to connect emotionally, we must learn to honor emotions… immediately. Feelings are real but they are not necessarily truth and they change often. Sometimes feelings are not even rational. Yet, they ARE how the person is feeling at the time.  Allow your spouse the opportunity to share emotions and honor them for trusting you enough to do so!

Recap!

Stage 2 – EMOTIONAL INTIMACY (safety)

Stage 1 – SPIRITUAL INTIMACY (foundation)

Without spiritual intimacy you will not have emotional intimacy in your marriage.

Next week we talk about physical intimacy. If you want to have physical intimacy then you must attend to the foundation – spiritual intimacy and safety – emotional intimacy.

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4 Responses

  1. Thanks for the words. This was very helpful to me.

  2. man, this is good! I needed this reminder. I get so selfish! And I told him I know that I am selfish. It’s hard not to get caught up in self when I’m in the midst of my crazy life.

    THANKS for the reminder!

  3. The one thing I’m learning- and it is learning as opposed to learned – is that you have to work on you and let God handle your spouse. Work on self, pray for spouse. We all need these words etched on our mirrors or somewhere – maybe in our shoe closet (haha). I believe that you might want to apply the principle of the sowing and reaping to your relationship. Whatever you want to reap, sow! If you want your hubby to be more aware, to be more vested in the relationship, sow that into his life. One of the lessons in the book is about how people who have been hurt as a child or who have been taught to be detached end up being that way in their marriages. Well, for sure you won’t change that with badgering, whining or crying. I know coz I’ve tried it. God’s word is true and it’s life. Whatsoever a person sows, that will they also reap. Now, when we put a seed in the ground we don’t get a harvest right away. And if you’re like me, you can be very impatient. Sometimes you might want to just dig up the seed you planted. Do that, and no harvest.
    hang in there my sis!

  4. this is right on time for me. it answers the blog I posted today. heres a question (sorry) how does one go about helping their spouse to see the need? for the emotionally detached man… how do u help them invest?

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