intimacy in marriage

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.

3 Questions To Ask About His Past

Welcome back to Part 4 of the Are We Ready For Marriage series. We’ve been tackling some pretty serious questions and today is no different.

If you’re just catching up on this series, here are the previous posts:

Part 1: Do Our Values and Goals Match and Do We Have Chemistry?

Part 2: How Do We Work Out Disagreements?

Part 3: Do We Have Communication Issues?

Today I want to talk about the 3 questions you should have conversations about on a continual basis.

When Jono and I became friends, we used to talk on the phone for hours about everything. We still do.  I’ve realized that the deep intimacy in our relationship has a lot to do with the fact that we’re completely vulnerable with each other, and honest about everything. But after years of giving people relationship advice, I’ve realized that a lot of people don’t have that type of relationship with their partner.  

It’s hard for me to imagine marrying and sharing my life with someone that I don’t really know that well. When you marry someone, you should know everything there is to know about them. You should be able to write a small book about their life with the information you know about them, that’s how well you should know the person you’re going to marry.

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But so many people focus on the happiness they have in the moment, then get married and quickly become disillusioned at all the stuff that starts coming out the closet once they say “I do.”

Sure, you’re always going to be learning more and more about your partner even after you get married. But you should know the significant things that have shaped them into the person they are today.

Here are some things to talk to your partner about. Remember that a lot of people (especially men!) have a hard time opening up about things that make them feel vulnerable. So if you don’t get very far in the first conversation, keep trying! So many communication issues can be avoided by just understanding your partner’s past. This is why it’s important to make your relationship a safe space where you can tell each other anything.

Here are the most important things to ask about the past

  1. Trauma:

    Was your partner ever the victim of abuse, rape, or bullying? Were they abandoned or neglected by their parents? Trauma literally changes the pathways in your brain. It affects the way you perceive things that happen to you. It shapes the way you think. For a person who has been through trauma, a word, touch, or smell could bring back painful memories or cause them to react in an unexpected way.

  2. Past relationships:

    How long was your partner’s last relationship? Why did they break up? How did it start? It’s important that you hear what there is to know about past relationships from your partner, and not from gossips or people who aren’t looking out for your best interests. Also, patterns in relationships are often repeated, so you need to know exactly why things didn’t work out.

  3. Their childhood:

    Where did they grow up? What kinds of family traditions did they have? What was their family culture like? Who raised your partner? What was marriage like between their parents?

The past shapes the person you are today. Know your partner’s past will go a long way to helping to establish trust and intimacy in your relationship.  If you have that kind of relationship, sometimes your partner may not be able to communicate their needs to you clearly, but knowing their past will give you the clues you need to figure out their pain and their priorities. You’ll have a much greater insight into the way they think and feel.

Get your ebook bundle here “Love From The Inside Out”

Get your ebook bundle here “Love From The Inside Out”

If that’s the type of relationship you want, and the kind of foundation you want for your marriage, start having those conversations now, and keep having them until it’s a practice in your relationship to share your innermost thoughts with each other.

That’s when you know that you’re truly one.  

Want to get the rest of the series in your inbox? Let’s keep in touch here.

P.S. Want more marriage prep? Here’s an ebook bundle I put together for you!

Seven Things That May Be Driving You and Your Spouse Apart

Seven Things That May Be Driving You and Your Spouse Apart

Today's article tackles some things that you may be doing that will sooner or later cause cracks in your marriage. Read on and find out why these habits are toxic to your marriage.