By Jennifer Waddle, Crosswalk.com
Last September, my husband and I celebrated 25 years of marriage. And the one thing that kept coming to mind (as I frequently woke myself up snoring on the beach), was how authentic our relationship had become.
It’s not that we’d had a “fake” marriage—not at all. But somewhere along the way, we’d found it easier to pretend in certain areas of our relationship than to risk being completely real with one another.
Pretending is defined as: making it appear that something is the case when in fact it is not.
Are you pretending in marriage? Perhaps, one or more of these will resonate with you.
1. You are pretending to be happy in your job, but would give anything to do something different.
Fear is a big factor when it comes to being honest about our jobs. We are afraid our spouses won’t support us. Especially when the household income is dependent on our work, we resist speaking up about it. But life is too short to live outside of our spiritual gifts and strengths! Yes, we may need to be “tent-makers” for a season—to pay the bills, but we should always be seeking the call of God on our lives.
So try this: Make a date with your spouse to discuss your dreams and goals. Ask your spouse to join you in prayer about other job opportunities that will utilize your God-given strengths. Perhaps together you can form a plan to help you reach that goal.
*If you would like more help in rediscovering your God-given strengths, click HERE for my FREE Amazing Life Blueprint.
2. You pretend to be satisfied with communication in your marriage, but desire something deeper.
Most couples have plenty of “surface” stuff to talk about but don’t often challenge themselves to communicate on a deeper level. Keep in mind, intimacy in marriage is so much more than the physical. It involves many heart-to-heart discussions. And we need to feel free to open up with our spouses in order to cultivate authenticity.
So try this: Purchase a copy of the 101 Conversation Starters for Couples, by Gary Chapman, and add it to your bedtime routine. You may just need a little help in the communication area, and that’s okay!
3. You pretend to accept your spouse’s beliefs when you really don’t.
When it comes to faith, we can feel like we are walking on eggshells. Even in Christian marriages, there may be doctrinal differences that really bother us. Take a look at this statement from Focus on the Family regarding faith:
“You should not only share your faith with your spouse, but your concerns as well. It would be hypocritical to pretend you're not worried when a spouse struggles spiritually.”
So try this: First of all, remember that it’s God’s job to change hearts. Commit to praying daily concerning the heart of your spouse. Here is a fantastic resource for couples who struggle in this area: http://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/growing-together-spiritually/spiritual-intimacy/helping-your-spouse-grow-spiritually
4. You pretend to accept the other person’s love language, but it feels more like fingernails on a chalkboard.
My husband’s love language is “physical touch,” while mine is “words of affirmation.”
You can imagine the conflict!
In the early years of marriage, I just wanted him to TELL ME how much he appreciated me, (and how yummy my spaghetti was). He, on the other hand, was a man of few words. Instead, he preferred lots of hugs, kisses, and hand holding. In fact, he still sleeps so close to me I feel like I only have four inches of sleeping space! But once we understand our spouse’s love language, we can stop enduring it and actually find ways to cultivate it.
So try this: Study your spouse. Learn what you can about how they do things and why. Also take a few minutes to figure out your own love language. It might just make a world of difference! http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/
Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask questions like, “Can I be real with you for a minute?”
You might be pleasantly surprised at how a simple question can open up the doors of honesty. Give yourself permission to disagree, but also commit to communicating well. Make it a goal to be authentic at all times. Not mean. Not critical. But real.
Listen, it doesn’t have to take 25 years of marriage for couples to ditch the pretending. In fact, you can decide today that you are going to wake up on the “beach of life” with a renewed sense of purpose to simply be authentic—snoring included!
Jennifer Waddle is best known for words of encouragement as an Author, Speaker and Musician for Women’s Ministry. She currently has three published books on Amazon and is a regular contributor for WomensMinistryTools.com and GotQuestions.org. Jennifer is committed to sharing authentic messages of hope to women of all walks of life. She loves being a wife of 24 years, mom of four, and nana of two. Most of all, she cherishes her time spent in the Word of God, with a cup of coffee and a beautiful view of the Rocky Mountains. Contact Jennifer here: www.jenniferwaddleonline.com or [email protected]
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com