Protect your intimacy

So I recently wrote about (why we need time away) to reconnect with our spouses and it got me thinking about what happens when you lose connection. One of my friends commented on the post and this is what she said “by that time, it may just be too late to fix things because you both would have learnt to survive without each other.” This disturbed me so much I just had to write this post, most of us wonder when things changed but the reality is that it is not one event but a series of days, months and even years which led to the gradual disconnect.

It started with that one day you went for a day without saying I love you, I appreciate you and thank you. The next thing you see a text from an unknown number then after fighting about the fact that you had no business looking at his or her phone in the first place you are still hurt, heartbroken and even more confused than before. Life goes on, you say you are okay but because he or she never admitted to being wrong nor did he or she even apologise you are distant and edgy. Even if they apologized and said they never meant to hurt you, you try your best to forgive and move on but pain  because of the you find it hard to trust him or her again.

“Both of you learn to survive without each other,” in Tumi’s words. This is mainly because the one party feels like they should protect themselves from getting hurt again, while the other honestly doesn’t know how to get back to where they used to be only because they feel like they are going to be punished forever anyways, so they simply adapt to the “new normal”. At first it hurts and you want it go back to where it was but you do not know how, so you focus on the kids, at least they still think you are wonderful or you give yourself over to work. Which both cases are really sad really because no one gets married so they can learn to live with pain and disappointment.

My colleague Natalie loves teaching kids (4-5 year old) at her church and one of the things she was asked to explain to them is adultery. She chose to demonstrate this by using a jar with water and jewels at the bottom, she told the kids marriage is this pure water with a treasure of beautiful things that you are meant to enjoy and when one person commits adultery it’s like putting ink in this jar and she asked them if they can see what happens to the purity of the marriage?

The moral of the story is that once the  treasure is hidden under this ink, it looks like you can never enjoy it ever again.  When the clear water starts taking the color of the ink it takes away your focus from the treasure and blessing that comes with  marriage.

The kids were relieved to find out the purity could be regained when you put Jesus Christ in the marriage, well in this case Natalie used another jug of water which she poured into the defiled jar until it was clear again and they realized the treasure was still there.The value of your marriage does not diminish when things go wrong, the ink is like fog, it makes it hard for you to clearly see the goodness that is in your union. I loved this illustration not because I think it is just brilliant for explaining to kids but because it is a revelation from God Himself. He is the only One who can restore broken trust and heal deep wounds that we can’t even bring ourselves to even say out loud because when they fail us we still blame ourselves and feel like we have failed.

Because we are one we continue to feel the need to protect them and we are angry that we still love them regardless.Well if there is one thing marriage will teach you, it is true forgiveness. I do not believe that one incident should override the years of intimacy and love you enjoyed in your marriage but it is our nature to elevate the bad and forget the good. Both emotional and physical adultery hurts and your partner’s pain is real, not acknowledging and making the best effort to reassure them will only delay the healing process.

I remember the year where I avoided my husband’s phone because it was the cause of my insecurities, one day as I was praying for our marriage the Lord said; ” you are not expecting the best from him even after he told you there was nothing happening between him and the  “friend” in his inbox”-I then read 1 Corinthians 13 over and over because I was just not agreeing with God. The scripture says:”love is patient, love is kind (I was unkind with my comments and the name I had given to the friend lol). It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud (I wanted to punish him -pride). It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs (every opportunity I got I reminded him of how disappointed I was). Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres (I had lost trust in him and I was not hoping for the best instead I was waiting to prove that I was  right).”

You can be right yet still lose. May our marriages win instead of your egos. There is no guarantees that our intimacy will never be broken again but I know what I am doing while it is restored. I choose to love like I have never been hurt before. My prayer is  that God gives you the courage to do the same. May God help us protect our intimacy so that we can enjoy the treasure that comes in our jar and the purer the water the more glorious the marriage.

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Portia

Joo Pru, after reading this I realised that I have to do what pleases God and that is to forgive and to always see good in my partner.

Adrian

thank you for this. really, it resonates on many levels in my marriage, what I have learnt over this year is that when God is not at the centre, its near impossible to apply the principles as outlined in 1 Corinthians 13. Love my wife, know I have often failed her. Thanks again for this write-up. Just gave me renewed hope!

Tumi Tjale

Oh Prudence ! Forgiveness is a must ! It sets us free. It’s not easy, but we have to. Our partners are not perfect ! We are not perfect ! We need to humble ourselves and learn from our mistakes. We have to forgive and protect our intimacy. I hope men are also reading this post. In my case, we are not the fighting type. We are a very happy and peaceful bunch. Months and months go by without fighting, without issues, just smiles and happiness around the house. That is peace and it’s a beautiful environment to be on.… Read more »

Margaret

Hi. I believe we should learn to forgive each other. If one partner feel betrayed deeply and can’t bring himself or herself to forgive , should ask the partner for some space to deal with the hurt rather than to punish one another in silent. What I observed recently it’s one partner tagging along the other who hurt him or her for intentionally avenging the hurt without realising that it hurt them both in a worst way. God gave us the humble hearts if we let him help us through the challenges we face in our relationships. Marriage is a… Read more »