Couples need to see their relationship through the eyes of the heart.
Think: What’s deeper, what’s underneath, what is really going on inside? We can’t just look at the outside, and the “what’s happening,” at the event or circumstances, or just what is being said. We have to look deeper. There is always more going on underneath.
We start with the heart.
Phil and Brenda have been married for 15 years, have three kids, and both work. They have plenty of issues, debt and finances, parenting differences, and family of origin issues. Phil is a very friendly guy, and everyone likes him. The big issue in their relationship has become Phil’s friendship with other females at his work. Brenda has always been ok with his friendships because she knew most of them. She has met, socialized with them, and Phil talks with her openly about them.
But she found out that he has not talked about one of his co-workers. It seems to be a closer relationship than with the others. It is a secret, so to speak, and she feels it is inappropriate. Phil disagrees. He has done nothing wrong and has no intentions of doing anything wrong. Phil loves and is committed to Brenda.
Although Brenda doesn’t believe he’s been unfaithful, she feels lied to, not as important, and it brings out all the other differences, conflicts and insecurities of the relationship. He would not end the relationship with the co-worker because he is not doing anything wrong. Brenda is angry, anxious and distant; she is hurt. She feels betrayed and insecure. It is an issue of the heart.
The condition of your heart will determine the quality of your relationship!
What is the Heart?
What are we talking about? Well, we are not talking about the pumping organ inside your chest. In terms of marriage relationships, the heart is the center of one’s being. This includes the mind, will, emotions, passions, and appetites. It is the center of moral, spiritual, and intellectual life. Also it is the center of the human spirit and includes motivations, courage, and action. The “whole soul.”
One of the reasons we look at the heart is that when relationships feel emotionally unsafe, we naturally protect ourselves by shutting down and closing our hearts & spirits. All Kinds of “fears” can creep in like rejection, disrespect, am I good enough? Am I loved? Will I be accepted?
When a relationship has fears couples:
- Close Their Hearts & Spirit
- Get Defensive & Reactive
- Become Disconnected & Conflicted
- Have a Lack of Understanding
- Show Little Empathy/Compassion
- Are Unsafe Emotionally
So how should we see our partners in terms of their heart?
We see the heart as a treasure.
And the characteristics of a treasure are that they are very valuable and very vulnerable
As couples, we must see each other as a treasure. That our hearts are valuable; we are created in God’s image, and we are dearly loved. But our hearts are easily hurt. They are vulnerable. And so we must be very careful with each other.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Back to our story:
So Brenda’s heart is closed and defensive. Her and Phil’s relationship is emotionally disconnected and distant. Conflicts are easier to become fights, there is avoidance, withdrawal and they are getting farther and farther apart.
It is an issue of the heart. Phil needs to open his heart and see that his actions are hurting his wife. It isn’t about ”right and wrong” as much as a deep longing she has to feel like her heart is being cared for above all others. He needs to care about her pain and make a decision for Brenda.
It is an issue of the heart. Brenda needs to open hers too. She needs to express her need to feel valuable and loved without the anger and punishing withdrawal. She needs to express her desire to be important to him and close to him. And to speak from her deep desire to be safe and secure in his love.
They begin talking about their hearts, that both have deep desires to be chosen, accepted, heard and understood, to be wanted. They open their hearts, and attitudes and behaviors begin changing.
An open heart is the key to life!
What do you think? Are there “heart” issues in your relationship? Ones where you can think or do something different because you want to be careful and sensitive to another’s valuable and vulnerable heart?