In my younger years I lived behind invisible but real walls. Somewhere in my youth I noticed how girls talked about other girls and used any vulnerability against them. As a result I made an inward decision not to open my heart to others because, I believed what I shared, could and would be used against me.
At the age of 18, when my older brother died, and my world as I knew it, came shattering down; I added another layer to my already thick wall. The lie “no one understands what I’m going through”, became the separating point between me and everyone else.
After Don and I were married the walls I had created became glaringly apparent. When I was hurt, I retreated behind my wall of “he doesn’t understand anyway” so why talk about it. But, I married a relentless and loving man, whose consistent, verbal affirmation, helped me remove sections of my wall a little at a time. He continually exemplified God’s unconditional love to me, and consequently I gradually began to move out from behind my self-imposed prison.
I remember clearly, the day God’s Spirit prompted me to verbally affirm Don. It was one aspect of my wall I had not yet stepped beyond. My previous experiences clearly warned against this kind of vulnerability. But God, was asking me to lay down the bricks of self-protection, open my heart, and speak my love and affirmation directly to him. When at last I obeyed and complimented Don, an enormous sense of love and admiration exploded inside. Like the heart of The Grinch, my heart finally expanded and I felt a deeper love than ever before!
Our marriage took on a whole new level of love and respect. Our communication deepened when I began to verbalize to him my admiration for his talents, his loving acts of kindness and service, his faithfulness at his work, his outgoing nature, his strength to stand in the face of trials, and so much more.
Once I stepped beyond my comfort zone, the walls crumbled, as God took the debris and built instead, a firm foundation upon which our marriage stands today.
I Peter 3:2 Amplified Bible
“When they observe the pure and modest way in which you conduct yourselves, together with your reverence (for your husband; you are to feel for him all that reverence includes: to respect, defer to, revere him – to honor, esteem, appreciate, prize, and in the human sense, to adore him, that is, to admire, praise, be devoted to, deeply love, and enjoy your husband.”