Hi there! Thank you for being here. Below is an excerpt from our book, See Through Marriage: Experiencing the Freedom and Joy of Being Fully Known and Fully Loved. We pray these words would give you the confidence and courage to live in full transparency with your spouse. We believe God made us to be fully known and fully loved and that can all be made possible through living a see-through life beside the person you love the most. Enjoy!
The Science of Being See-Through
Modern research only illuminates these ancient truths given in Scripture. Decades of psychological studies have reinforced the Bible’s theme that walking in the light is the healthiest way to live one’s life. Swiss psychiatrist and author. Paul Tournier once said,
“At the very heart of all psychotherapy is this type of relationship in which one can tell everything, just as a little child will tell all to his mother. No one can develop freely in this world and find a full life without feeling understood by at least one person…. Listen to all the conversations of our world, between nations as well as those between couples. They are for the most part dialogues of the deaf.” ¹
We all want the type of relationship Dr. Tournier describes—one where we can be completely, utterly known. We long for it on a deep spiritual and psychological level. Somewhere in our lives, however, the instinctual desire to be fully known becomes clouded by the cares of this world. Maybe past hurts are the reason we hide our true self. Or perhaps current insecurities, shame, fear, or pride are among our reasons for remaining opaque. Personally, I know I’ve hidden for every reason I just listed. At the core of each one? Sin and brokenness.
Our greatest desire is to be known and still loved, and our most persistent fear is that if we’re ever truly known, then we won’t be loved.
Not long ago, Selena and I were in church and our pastor said something that triggered two memories of things I did when I was a kid that I had all but forgotten. My memories brought with them feelings of deep shame and regret. That whole week, God had been working on my heart and causing me to reflect on areas of my past I had hidden and reasons I had done so. In that moment in church when these particular memories surfaced, my heart sank. I knew I had to share these parts of my past with Selena—simply for the reason of being known by her and trusting her to love me in return.
I didn’t want to share, but I knew I had to.
Church ended, and we went to a friend’s house for lunch. The kids played, we all talked, and everything seemed normal … except the whole time I was dreading sharing my shameful past with Selena. By God’s grace, our daughters fell asleep in the car on the way home so we had a quiet, focused, and private place for me to bring it all up. And I did.
After I shared, I braced for Selena’s response, fully expecting her to express disgust and rejection. What did she do? Instead of piling on more shame, she simply reminded me, “I still love you. This changes nothing.” I teared up and breathed a deep sigh of relief.
She then went on to share moments from her past that she had felt were too shameful and embarrassing to share with me. It was one of the most visceral moments in our entire marriage (fifteen years in), and it happened in a moment of honest, ugly, mutual, and gospel-fueled vulnerability.
While I’d agree that what Dr. Tournier said in the above quote is true, I think the problem is much deeper than just feeling dissonance between who we are and who we aspire to be. We hide because we forget our very identities in Christ. We forget to stake our identities on him and live honestly from a place of unshakeable security in who he says we are: loved, righteous, forgiven, adopted, and chosen. When we seek to find significance outside of Jesus, we are forever at risk of losing our sense of self, purpose, and significance.
Making matters worse, we live in an age of comparison. Now more than any other time in history, we compare. If it’s valuable, we compare ourselves by it. Comparisons of our public selves, our accomplishments, our failures, and our material wealth will always lead us to a place of posturing and pretending.
¹ Paul Tournier, To Understand Each Other (Atlanta: John Knox, 1967), 8.
If you enjoyed reading this excerpt from See Through Marriage: Experiencing the Freedom and Joy of Being Fully Known and Fully Loved, be sure to check out the full copy available on Amazon.com here! We hope it blesses you.
Have you heard of the The 31-Day Pursuit Challenge?
Every marriage begins with passion, purpose, and pursuit, but few stay that way. That’s why we wrote Husband in Pursuit and Wife in Pursuit Together, they make what we’re calling the 31-Day Pursuit Challenge. Couples are encouraged take the challenge together. We’re already starting to hear stories of transformed marriages! Are you up for the challenge?