As a guy, if I view my culture through “husband eyes,” I begin to get a picture of how I am expected to be – tough and strong, suck-it-up, singularly-focused, don’t let them see you cry, we’re always wrong, non-commital, non-pursuing, not quite sure what to say at the right time, with an “emotions are only for guys on the Hallmark Channel” type of attitude.
For the last three weeks, I have been focusing my posts on marriage and some critical components that help to shape and mold us as guys in looking more like Jesus pursuing His church.
Because if we do not have a reliable compass to lead us, we are going to stray and wander.
The pull to go off into the woods is constant and it is strong.
Allowing your wife to see through you
Today we are looking at a character trait that I think often gets overlooked, and that is the quality of transparency.
It is challenging to find a lot of good material out on the web about being transparent with our wives. But if you think of the defition, it is easy to make the transfer over to our relationship with our wife.
easily seen through, recognized, or detected; manifest, obvious; open or candid.
My wife and I have had some very helpful discussions about the term intimacy and what it means to each of us. That is a good conversation to have because just because you and your wife use the same word does not mean you are defining it the same way.
It was insightful for me to hear that my wife views part of intimacy as talking deeply about our lives to each other. Being open with emotions, feelings, and perspectives, and getting past the fluff to who we really are and how we really view life at times.
I came away thinking about terms such as authenticity, genuiness, and full disclosure.
I have to be honest that there are too many times when I just do not feel like being transparent with my wife. I have already lived [some experience] and why do I now want to relive it?
A biblical view of transparency
So what does it mean for a husband to be transparent with his wife?
Well, I think it is always wise to begin with our best example, Jesus Christ.
Take a stroll through the gospels and you will see full transparency with Jesus Christ:
I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.
When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me.
Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.
And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
My soul is very sorrowful, even to death.
When I think of Jesus, I want to think of Him like in the end when He rides in on a white horse and with His sword takes care of those who oppose Him.
But this Jesus? The one in agony? The one with the sorrowful soul? We are seeing Jesus in His rawest form.
In my 26 years of marriage, I have come to see transparency with my wife as something that my wife greatly values. It is the ability as her husband to lead beside her and not above her.
Keeping the real you hidden
If you are a husband and feel like it is your role to always appear strong and in control, I have piece of advice. Your wife is not buying it. She most likely knows you better than you know yourself.
She sees and knows your weaknesses and desperately just wants you to tell her what she is already thinking.
For years I felt as if I had to keep certain parts of me hidden – my struggles, my fears, my disappointments. And I will tell you, as she can also attest, that all it did was stunt the growth of our relationship.
It kept a boundary around our relationship that prevented us from moving to another level of trust.
My wife could not force me to be transparent with her. She was wise enough to let God do the spiritual butt-kicking that I needed.
There have been some key moments in our marriage that I can look back to that have been pretty monumental for us that involved my transparency.
God simply compelled me to draw her into my world and let her know of situations going on for which I needed her prayers and help. And there were four takeaways that I noted:
- Being transparent with my wife did not result in her stepping on my neck in my weakness. Disclosed weakness did not result in my destruction by her.
- There was a sense of freedom in being transparent that I had not known before. There is something truly of God when your wife can see you as you are, truly are, and say to you “Always know that I love you and I am your biggest fan.”
- There was a new level of commitment and trust that evolved between us. Our love grew.
- A lack of transparency was rooted in selfishness and pride. It was not for the protecting of my wife that I kept her out; it was a protection of me, my reputation, and how she percieved me that I was wanting to protect.
Transparency is not reserved for certain topics or discussions. It is a quality that must be nurtured and developed by us as husbands. And one reason for this is that because, as guys, we tend to want to be mavericks, to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps (whatever that means), and show that we are strong in isolation. That we can handle it ourselves.
Transparency does not come because we just choose to do it. It is a response to what God is doing within us. The gospel frees us from having to protect our image and frees us to display our brokenness to our wives.
The first steps in being transparent
So how is transparency born in a life?
There has been a verse that I heard preached on some years ago that has become a mantra for me – and one of its fruits has been a spirit of transparency.
Isaiah 66:2 says this about God…
All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the LORD. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.
God is omni-aware. He sees all and knows all. And yet He makes a curious statement – He notices a specific type of person and this person has three traits:
- he is humble
- he is quick to repent
- he fears God enough that what God’s word says, he does
Perhaps you are a husband today desiring transparency with your wife and just not knowing what to do. Start with these three traits that God notices.
Ask God to bear these fruits in you.
And then get with your wife. Ask her if she thinks you are transparent with her and then tell her of the deep waters of your soul. And over time, tell her your fears, your apprehensions, your failings, your discouragements, your aspirations, and your joys.
Let her in. I can tell you firsthand that it has revolutionized our marriage. There have been some notable times in my life where I have been uncomfortably transparent with my wife and then watch grace overwhelm the both of us and lead us to new heights of intimacy.
I get it. Being transparent is a fearful thing. She might see your weakness and brokenness. She might be disappointed. But know this, as Paul said, where sin increased, grace did much more abound.
Andrew Murray made a very sightful stateement when he said…
Humility is the only soil in which the graces root; the lack of humility is the sufficient explanation of every defect and failure. Humility is not so much a grace or virtue along with others; it is the root of all, because it alone takes the right attitude before God, and allows Him as God to do all.
Get after this one guys. Ask God to do the work and then pursue your bride in being transparent with her. Allow her to accompany you on your journey and show God’s grace in your life.
I’d love to hear from you — please leave a reply below if you have any thoughts to add to the conversation.
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