Marriage is one of the most precious gifts God has given His children, yet our daily experience in marriage doesn’t always mirror that reality. Selfishness, conflict, and other fruits of sin work to break the notion that marriage is a good thing; they can even begin making a spouse feel more like an enemy than a blessing.
One negative byproduct that can spring from two sinners doing life together is the presence of shame in a marriage. Heather Davis Nelson writes about this in an article entitled, “The Silent Marriage-Killer.”
Most Christian couples would not list shame as one of the top struggles in their marriage. However, in almost a decade of counseling, I’ve seen very few marriages that aren’t hampered by shame on some level. It’s just not often the first thing that’s identified, but it underlies so many other common struggles, especially communication and sex.
How can you know if this silent marriage-killer is present in your relationship?
Nelson goes on to list twelve evaluative questions to help couples recognize where shame may have made its mark in their marriage, and offers practical helps for pursuing healing and oneness.
None of us have a perfect marriage, or should expect it, but what holds us back too often is the presence of shame — the fear that I will be rejected if I am vulnerable with you. The way to fight shame, and be part of shame’s healing for one another, is to risk openness in these areas where we want to hide from one another.
The twelve questions for self-evaluation, and the article as a whole, are well worth some time spent reading, praying, and talking through as husband and wife. May God bless your marriage through them.
Link: Desiring God