Don’t box me in! Has anyone ever said this to you? Have you ever felt like someone has put a “Keep Out” sign up over their heart? Lonely marriages feel like this.
Anne Beiler, founder of Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, shared with a group of us ladies how during a very low part of her life journey, her counselor, Richard Dobbins, said, “Anne, Satan builds his fortress in the secrets of our lives.” How true this is.
Another friend told me how out of desperation she was going to see a counselor to find out if he could guide her through what she was experiencing in her marriage; she knew something was wrong, but could not put her finger on it. After listening to her, the counselor said, “Your husband has a secret.” After absorbing the shock and simplicity of his answer, she realized this was the problem. It turns out her husband had been sinfully involved with a different women at each of the churches he pastored. Today they have a healed and rebuilt marriage because the secret was revealed, he surrendered and chose to get ongoing biblical counseling and accountability. He repented and asked God to change his idolatrous heart; and God did as he walked out the parts he needed to.
Perhaps you can recall a discussion that headed into a deeper level of emotion or intimacy, one requiring openness and trust, and the other person was unwilling to talk. Most all of us have experienced this in one way or another. A boxed up heart causes marriages to fail, parent-child relationships to grow distant, and destruction in the home because the heart is locked up over some past offense, current sin, or issue in the heart.
Certainly love is the governing foundation to good relationship and must precede questions that deal with heart matters. If we attempt to share our heart with someone and we receive a poor response in return, we shouldn’t just walk away offended, but rather realize there is a work God wants to do in this situation. Pray, seek God for guidance, and attend to the scriptural mandate to speak the truth in love. This IS a demonstration of love for them.
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