Why I can’t tell my spouse everything I’m thinking
Being married and being a Christian does not automatically mean you will connect and relate to your spouse at the deepest part of your personal experience, which is your intimate knowledge of and experience with God.
You could go to church for years and never enjoy this kind communication with your spouse–or any other person. Though you have to be a Christian to experience this kind of community (1Corinthians 2:14; John 16:13), being a Christian does not automatically mean you will have it.
The reason for this is simple: It requires a deeper amount of trust to engage another person at the deepest part of your soul. Maybe you could think about it like you might think about those who babysit your children (if you have children). You would not give your most cherished treasures (children) to someone you do not trust.
If the person babysitting your children cannot steward the high honor of caring for them, then they would be disqualified from caring for them.
As it relates to your relationship with the LORD, you may share part of your experience with God with your spouse.
You may let your spouse know some of the things you are learning or some of the ways you think about God and life.
But if your spouse has a proven record of not being able to steward your deepest secrets, then the deeper things will continue to be between you and the LORD.
There is a level of koinonia you will not go to with your spouse or with any other friend if they are not mature enough to handle the full truth about you (John 16:12).
Why we trust God with our junk
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. — Romans 8:1 (ESV)
There are many things you appreciate about the LORD, but probably nothing ranks higher than the fact that He does not condemn you. There is no more condemnation toward those who have been saved by Christ.
All of your past, present, and future sins are under the blood of Christ, blotted out forever, and never will be held against you in any divine court of law. You have been justified, set free, declared not guilty, and as long as Christ lives, you will live in that freedom (Galatians 5:1). That truth has set you free (John 8:36).
It sets you free to enter into His courts (Psalm 100:4), ready to share all of the thoughts and intentions of your heart with Him–even though He already knows them (Hebrews 4:12–13)–because you are not afraid of Him. You know He is for you (Romans 8:31–39). You can be naked before God and not ashamed (Genesis 2:25).
What I am describing is the kind of relationship every married couple should be pursuing with each other. This kind of koinonia will not happen in a year or a decade but in a lifetime of pressing into God and into each other. Sharing the farthest depths of your experience with God should be the goal for every couple.
One thing thou lackest
It is typical when people come to me for counseling to talk about how they are having communication problems. I do not think many (if any of them) understand all the depths of that word. Communication comes from the Greek word koinonia. I think if they fully understood the depth of their communication problems they would be more discouraged.
What they are typically talking about and asking for are talk tips, some practical advice to help them talk well with each other. I understand. They are trying to get along with each other, but they do not clearly understand how they are a million miles from what the Bible talks about when it talks about getting along with someone.
Christ did not come just to help you get along with others. He came to transform you into Himself (1 John 3:8).
In heaven, there will be perfect koinonia because there will be no sin. On earth, you have to fight for this kind of communication in relationships. There is a high price to pay to be able to enjoy communal participation in the Spirit. The biggest hindrance to koinonia is a lack of trust that others can handle the real truth about your life. So, what do you do? You do not go there with them.
I remember in the early part of our marriage how Lucia would share certain things with her friends — things she had not shared with me. I would become angry each time she did this. It was an insult. It was an affront. I would reason, “Why does she share her more intimate and personal thoughts with other people, but not with me?”
My first response was to be angry with her. It took a long time for me to realize how my jerk-ness was intimidating her from being intimate with me. It did not occur to me the reason she would not share with me was because I was not mature enough to handle her truth. You can’t be harsh with your spouse and expect her to be open and honest with you.
She knew she could share her deeper struggles with others, but she could not share those things with me because I was not trustworthy. Because of how I had responded to her in the past, she felt it would be wiser and safer to not let me into the deeper places of her heart.
It takes two:
- It takes a lot of courage for a person to share their struggles with someone else.
- It takes a lot of other-loving maturity to steward those deeper matters of the heart.
Call to action
- Are you currently experiencing true community with your closest friend? If you are married, that friend should be your spouse.
- If you are not, what is hindering you? Key verse: Matthew 7:3–5. Make this question about you before you start thinking about the other person.
- What are some practical things you can do to begin having a deeper participation with your friend?