If you ever want to get to know people, go camping with them for a week. Not only will you get to know them, they will get to know you. Somehow who we really are starts to poke out whenever we get close to others over an extended period of time. How we act under pressure in unguarded moments is always telling. Most of us are pretty good at covering up our negative parts under normal conditions; we even fool ourselves into thinking we are better than we are. But close relationships rat us out. This is especially true in marriage.
In the beginning, the Scriptures teach us, Adam and Eve “were both naked, and they felt no shame.” In an open, naked relationship, if there are things to discuss, they are discussed. If there are issues to resolve, they are resolved. (Anyone up for naked arguing?) An open relationship means you can discuss misunderstandings and miscommunications, as well as how one spouse feels about what the other is doing. In a relationship free of shame, a husband and wife can even risk sharing their different ways of approaching love, friendship, and life in general, and do it openly—no smoke and mirrors.
In marriage, God intended that we be “naked” (so to speak)—that all the ways we are unique and different from each other come to the forefront. But sin changed our willingness to do that. Because of sin’s effect on the human race, most are not comfortable with marriage being a revealer; we want marriage to be a cover. We don’t go into marriage to face ourselves; we get married to get away from ourselves, to camouflage who we are.
Hello! I have found in studying my own relationships, that my best friendships have the qualities that a marriage should possess. There is love, trust, the ability to speak openly, the ability to disagree and respect each other’s opinions and thoughts…. all the things a good marriage needs and should have. And yet I look at my own marriage and those of my friends and wonder what went so horribly wrong. We are defensive toward one another, and unkind with words when trying to discuss a tough subject. I know that I have flaws but no one wants those things flung in their face during an arguement or in a move to gain power or control. Why is it so hard to communicate with your spouse without it turning into a who does what competition?
You will find lots of great information on communication and navigating conflict in Mark’s book Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage that will help answer this question. The book is available through our online store.