Our Mr. Coffee holds enough coffee to fill four large mugs. Bob drinks two in the morning; I drink one in the morning and one in the afternoon. What happens if I go to pour my afternoon cup and it’s GONE? (For the purpose of this blog post, let’s say this happens on a regular basis.) I could be a big girl and make some more coffee. Or, I could pour my second cup in the morning (before Bob consumes it), push it into a corner of the counter and hide it under a napkin. I might be protecting the coffee, but what does it do to the relationship if I feel I have to hide things from my husband?
Hiding my coffee is a silly example. We protect ourselves in other ways that are more serious. You may know someone who is reluctant to share the details of his life for fear of being hurt. Perhaps you refrain from sharing certain opinions with others because you think they will reject or criticize you if you express them. You lay low, keep your eyes down, and don’t say anything. Both hiding the coffee and hiding what I think are aimed at protecting myself.
Getting Rid Of Deep, Dark Secrets
We can even go beyond protecting a tangible object for our own use or protecting ourselves when we fear we might be rejected to hiding something about ourselves that we are ashamed of—a bad habit or addiction—a deep, dark secret. The problem with doing this is we accept a relationship based on a façade in exchange for a relationship based on loving the real us—warts and all.
It’s bad when these forms of self-protection creep into our everyday relationships. It’s far worse when they become part of our marriage. I don’t want my rights to be stepped on or my property marred so I stake out my territory and post an invisible “Keep Out” sign. That’s not an effective way to share everything and become one. I know that I’m guilty of doing it too—but I don’t think it’s worth the trade.
And isn’t it counter-productive to hide your true self from your spouse? You hide what you think or feel or do from your mate hoping they won’t criticize you or push you away—and if you hide, you’ll never know whether they really love the real you or only the fake you that you let them see.
Talk About It Together
What do you hide from your spouse? This week, identify one way in which you hide. Pray, gather your courage, and broach the subject with your spouse. Bob told me he was glad when I hid the coffee because he didn’t want to drink more than two cups. On some of the deeper issues, your spouse may become your best ally in offering the love and acceptance that helps resolve your fears and unhealthy habits.
I have only touched the surface. Would you be willing to supply me with a few more real-life examples? You can email us or send an anonymous note by snail mail to:
The Marriage Dance
6185 Magnolia #350
Riverside, CA 92506
May God bless all of us as we strive to become straightforward like Jesus who never hid to protect himself.