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December 4, 2014

Understanding Women, Part 4

“… speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, ….” Ephesians 4:15 (NLT)

Honesty and openness take a relationship to a whole new level.  Marriage expert, Dr. Willard Harley, Jr. says a wife finds her husband irresistible when he tells her everything about himself, leaving nothing out that might later surprise her.  “He describes his positive and negative feelings, events of his past, his daily schedule, and his plans for the future.  He never leaves her with a false impression and is truthful about his thoughts, feelings, intentions, and behavior.”  Honesty and openness build trust.  Maybe you have noticed that kind of relationship among those married 30-plus years.  There’s predictability, a blending of thoughts that exist between the husband and the wife.  “When a woman reaches that level of trust,” Harley says, “she is able to love her husband more fully.”  Honesty and openness can be one of the greatest challenges in your relationship.  In Ephesians 4:15, the Bible encourages us to “speak the truth in love….”  When we speak the truth in love, the Bible says we grow more and more like Christ.  Isn’t that the goal?  Our marriage should publicly display the love that God has for us. Sometimes, speaking the truth in love is painful.  It’s hard to share negative emotions for fear of hurting the feelings of another.  But, when the truth is spoken in love, there is an understanding that the intent is not to add pain but to promote healing and growth.  When God convicts us by the Holy Spirit, He speaks the truth in love to us to correct behavior that would be destructive.  The Bible says that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ, so the truth He speaks to us is never condemning.  In addition, God doesn’t hold back in our relationship to Him.  In Colossians 2, we are told that all of the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Christ and that, in Him, we are also filled with all the fullness of God.  He longs to disclose Himself to us when we are honest and open with Him, when we seek Him with all our heart. Relationships break down when we keep secrets.  Harley says, “I hold firm to my conviction that privacy, keeping part of yourself hidden from your spouse, has no place between a husband and wife.”  How open and honest are you with your spouse?  Oneness in marriage can never be achieved when we withhold areas of our lives from one another.  Do you maintain openness or privacy in your email accounts?  Your finances?  Your texts and phone conversations?  Harley adds, “When I ‘protect my privacy,’ it makes me less transparent to my wife.  She is the one person who needs to know me best, and I need to provide her with all the information – including the warts.  Not only must I answer her questions truthfully, but I must avoid ‘lies of silence’ and readily volunteer information as well.  In other words, I must share myself with her in every way possible.”