The Value of Vulnerability
By: Amanda Idleman
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” - Genesis 2:18
You are not made to be alone. All the way back at the start of creation, God saw man was in need of a companion, helper, friend, and one to love. So why then do we fight leaning in and leaning on our spouses? We resist dependence because of how vulnerable it makes us feel. Not only that, but pride stops us from being fully open with one another.
The word “helper” from this text describes an equal who provides vital strength to their partner. Man and woman as a team were made as equal partners who together create a balanced partnership. Each needs what the other possesses.
To be vulnerable means you are exposed. Making yourself fully known means you are susceptible to harm. For most of us, being fully known and unprotected from emotional harm is terrifying. By adulthood, we’ve learned too many times and in too many ways the value of guarding ourselves against possible emotional scars from others.
We get married and are supposed to somehow unlearn our emotional survival instincts. It’s time to finally fully let down our guard and let another person in. Yet, it doesn’t actually happen naturally. We have to choose to push past pride, fear, and the instinct to protect ourselves in order to be vulnerable together.
Thankfully, God helps us achieve this kind of open love. He knows that without His help, fear paralyzes us from experiencing vulnerable love. Romans 5:5 says, “And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” The Holy Spirit empowers us to be able to love others with God’s love. 1 John 4 tells us that God’s perfect love casts out all fear in our lives.
Cultivating Vulnerability in Our Relationships
How can we practically cultivate more vulnerability in our relationships? How can we better recognize that we were made for each other and relying on each other is God’s plan not our failure?
1. Pray for more vulnerability
We can’t love on our own. We need God’s help to overcome our sinful nature that holds us back from living love-filled lives. Pray and invite the power of God’s spirit to help you move past the lies of the enemy that may be holding you back from growing closer to your spouse.
2. Quiet your “inner critic”
Most of us are in a daily struggle with an “inner critic” that likes to point out both the failures of ourselves and our spouses. This is the voice of pride saying that you should be able to get everything right on your own. It tells you that your spouse is incompetent and therefore shutting down the chance to see them as an equal partner to lean on.
When you start hearing those voices of negativity, start flipping the script in your mind. Remind yourself that God designed you for interdependence! You were not made to get everything right on your own. You were made for community.
God created men and women as equal partners. When we start entertaining negative thoughts about our spouse's abilities, start thinking through the ways you are thankful for them. Focus your mind on their strengths rather than their weaknesses.
3. Practice sharing your thoughts and feelings with each other
Practice makes perfect in all things! If we want to have a vulnerable relationship, then we have to practice sharing our thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Set a daily time to express how you are doing and what challenges and joys that day brought your way. It may feel awkward at first but one day those daily check-ins will become the lifeline of your relationship.
In marriage truly no thought, fear, joy, or experience is too insignificant to be worth sharing with one another. If in doubt talk it out. Openness begets more openness. Start the cycle of sharing and watch your mutual vulnerability with one another bloom!
Amanda Idleman is a writer whose passion is to encourage others to live joyfully. She writes devotions for the Daily Bible Devotions App, she has work published with Her View from Home, also for the MOPS Blog, and is a regular contributor for Crosswalk.com. You can find out more about Amanda on her blog or follow her on Instagram.
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