What If Your Baggage Is Keeping You From Complete Vulnerability?

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If you’re like me, the idea of someone seeing the real you is terrifying. Until I met my husband, I always had a fear that whoever I dated would eventually see how messed up I was inside and run in the opposite direction.

So I did my best to maintain an image of a person who had it all together, who was nice, God-fearing, and always did the right thing.

But when I got into a relationship with my husband, I experienced something I had never encountered before: unconditional acceptance.

My husband saw every side me-my nice side, my angry side, my brave side, my cowardly side, my pretty smile, and my ugly feet-but still loved all of me.

Experiencing that kind of love felt strange, but so liberating. As the years went by in our marriage, though, I realized that I was still an insecure woman who was afraid of letting anyone too close to me. If a friend hurt me, I just cut them off until I wasn’t hurting anymore. I was afraid to be vocal about my needs to people close to me, and it was keeping me isolated in my relationships.

How Vulnerability Can Hurt Your Relationships

Insecurity can come from low self-esteem, or pain experienced in the past. Wherever it comes from, it causes you to think irrational, distorted thoughts about yourself. And from there, you interpret everything that happens to you in that same light. You think to yourself, “I’m not good enough, I’m not strong enough, I don’t deserve anything good.”

So when a friend hurts you, it feels like they’re saying they agree with those thoughts. If you’re in a relationship, you want to keep your walls up so that your partner can’t see the ugliness that you see in yourself. You make yourself impenetrable so that you won’t experience the pain and disappointment you anticipate will come when the people in your life see you the way you see yourself.

The Truth

In reality, though, we’re all messed up and in need of God’s unconditional love. The thing about knowing you’re loved unconditionally by God-really knowing it and believing it-is that you can look at yourself honestly with all your faults and flaws, and still smile at yourself in the mirror because you know that you are amazing and precious-not because of anything you’ve done, but because of the value God Himself placed on you by making you.

Believing that God loves you unconditionally allows you to acknowledge your past and all of its pain, but still put in the work to experience healing and transformation-because you understand your value.

Finally, believing that God loves you unconditionally frees you to be yourself no matter who you’re with or what you’re doing, because your value gives you influence in your corner of the universe that no one else has.

The Freedom of Being Vulnerable

In the freedom that God wants to give you, there’s no need to hide your flaws from others. Instead, when you acknowledge your flaws, you give people the hope and courage to face theirs. You make your relationship a safe space for you and your partner to be
If you want to experience complete intimacy in your relationship, you have to be able to be vulnerable in every way. That kind of freedom is only possible when you decide to acknowledge the baggage you’ve been carrying and put in the work to get healing from it. Hiding behind walls in your relationship will only give your emotional baggage the power to isolate you and your partner from one another.

Being vulnerable enough to communicate with your partner about the most intimate things will take time, but it’s so worth the effort. It creates a strong bond of trust in your relationship that will stand the test of time and trials.

Ready to put in some work and deal with your baggage? I put together a resource to help you. Check it out here .

Here are some of my other posts about deepening intimacy and communication in your marriage:

Till next time! Stay in touch and get resources to keep your love thriving-while growing into the person you’re meant to by signing up for my weekly newsletter here.


Are You Too Good At Keeping Quiet?

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Jono and I stood in the parking lot of the shopping plaza across from the beach with our 4- and 2-year old kids, cooler in hand, looking forward to getting home and putting the kids to sleep after washing the sand out of their hair. I squinted my eyes against the sun, thinking my eyes were playing tricks on me.

Our car wasn’t where we had parked it that morning.

Jono and my cousin who had come with us stood behind me. “They towed the car,” Jono said in disbelief. “They towed the car?” I repeated dumbly, still not believing what my eyes were seeing.

“Dang!” Jono exclaimed. I turned around, trying to fight the irritation that suddenly flooded me.

“This is my fault,” Jono said, shaking his head regretfully. “Yes it is,” I quickly responded. My frustration bubbled out before I could stop it. “But everyone makes mistakes.”

See, that morning when my husband first pulled into this particular parking lot for our family beach outing, I had warned him that it might not be a good place to park. He dismissed it as me being overly cautious, while reminding me that we had parked there before when we’d come to the beach.

“That was years ago,” I’d told him. “They may have gotten stricter since then.”

But then I convinced myself that maybe my husband was right, maybe I was being overly cautious.

Now we were paying for it. Literally.

An hour later as we were driving home after paying for our towed car, our pockets $151 dollars lighter, my husband apologized for being presumptuous and causing our finances to be affected by his decision. I got over my feelings of irritation, but it reminded me of something that I often have to keep telling myself.

Don’t keep quiet.

There have been times in our relationship where I didn’t agree with what Jono was doing, but instead of speaking out and sticking to my guns, I quieted my voice and convinced myself that it was better to just stay quiet.

Each of those times, I later realized that I should’ve stuck to my guns instead of playing the “submissive” wife.

There are definitely times to be quiet and let the other person learn from their mistakes, but when the decision affects more than just that person, when it affects the family, that is not a time to stay silent. Decisions that affect the family are definitely battles worth fighting, even if in the end, you end up at a standstill.

Making your voice heard in your relationship is about more than just equality. It’s about the fact spouses are supposed to complement one another’s characters. There’s stuff you’re great at that your spouse needs your help with and vice versa. By keeping quiet, you’re robbing your relationship of the richness that comes when two people learn from each other and make each other better people.

Getting your car towed may not be a hill to die on for you, but there are other things that people keep quiet about that have more serious consequences. In our relationship Jono tends to be the homebody who likes to save money by-you guessed it-staying home. In fact, you can read about our tug-of-war over finances here. I like making memories, and sometimes that does involve spending money. Now, I’m not a crazy spender, but my husband grew up poor and the idea of us experiencing that gives him anxiety. But I can’t let that make me keep quiet. He knows how to go without and be content with what he has; I know how to have fun for cheap, and I’m not into having lots of stuff. Together we balance each other. He helps me not to go out of control when I go to the store, and I help him loosen up and enjoy life instead of just working all the time.

If I keep quiet and let him make us homebodies, I would be very unhappy, and that unhappiness would ripple into the rest of our family’s well-being. If he let me buy everything I want, he’d live in a constant state of worry and stress, trying to clean up after my (potentially) irresponsible spending decisions. That too would eat away at our relationship. Submission doesn’t mean keeping quiet. It means doing the work to get on the same page with one another.

By coming together and constantly having conversations about the things that matter to us both, we figure out ways to compromise and make each other happy. That’s what God had in mind when He made Eve from Adam’s rib. We’re supposed to stand side-by-side, tackling life together through communication and love.

So don’t keep quiet. Keeping quiet means that your marriage is missing out on major growth and fulfillment. Keeping quiet means that you’re not being true to yourself and that you’re being stifled. You’re fearfully and wonderfully made. You bring something of value to the table.

So speak up.

P.S. I wrote an article a while back on what to do when your husband is doing things that damage your relationship and refuses to change. You can read it here. Remember to speak up! It may be the thing that saves your relationship (or you!).

Make your relationship better by working on yourself!

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3 Ways A Vision Board Will Put Life Back in Your Marriage

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When you’re married, it seems like all you do is work to pay bills every weekday, looking forward to the weekend, which always seems to end way too quickly. Before you know it, you’re just…..surviving. Day to day, year to year, and slowly but surely, your relationship gets stale.

But I’m here to tell you...don’t get caught up!

If you’re feeling like your marriage and life as a whole has gotten blah and you no longer look forward to the newness of every day, week, and year, pump the brakes and have a vision board date night together. Planning your vision for your future as a family is guaranteed to help you connect and and help you re-evaluate where your lives are headed. Couple goals are super important to the growth of your relationship, and the both of you as individuals.

1. Goals keep you focused on the important things in life.

When you first got married, each of you had dreams for yourselves and for your future together. What happened to those dreams? Have you been actively working on them, or have you gotten caught up in survival mode?

Doing a vision board together will bring you and your spouse back to the basics of your lives-and your marriage. The most important things in life are your relationships with the people you love. Doing a vision board together will help you get intentional about putting first things first and making sure it stays that way every day.

2. Goals help you make the most of each moment.

When you don’t have a clear focus, you take on a lot of different responsibilities. All those little extra things may be taking valuable time and energy away from the things you really want to achieve in your life. When you do your vision board, talk about the top 3 priorities for your marriage and family. As you make more time (and money) for those things, you have to cut out all the unnecessary stuff. This will leave you free to make lots of progress in your lives and get rid of all the fluff that you only think you need.

3. Goals challenge you to keep growing.

No one wants to be in a stale marriage, but every couple has spent some time in the dead zone where it feels like you’re just existing as housemates, but you don’t have to stay there! Getting together regularly to update your vision board and talk about your progress will keep you accountable for working on those goals (and yourself) every day. As you become a better version of yourself, growing and learning, the quality of your marriage will get enhanced too. That’s the beauty of growth-you bring something to the table in every area of your life. Your focus on your goals will make your life better because you’ll be actively working on your family, not just for your family.

At some point every couple falls into survival mode where life becomes all about bills, debt payments, your careers, and raising the kids. Your vision board date night will get you out of that rut and get you back on track. Re-visit the dreams and goals you originally had when you got married, or had last year even. Think about where you want your family to be in a 1 year, 5 years, and even 10 years. Think far ahead, then figure out what things you want to tackle this year.

Want to have your vision board date night? Download my Vision Board Planner!

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