Recently I was working in Branson, Missouri. It was a great week. Despite several challenging marriage crises with the participants, I had a front row seat to watch God work miracles. These miracles took place because God showed up in a HUGE way. However, each individual showed up as well, physically and emotionally, and took risks to be vulnerable with themselves and others.
It’s easier to see how each showed up physically but often that’s not enough for transformation to occur. Physically showing up is only part of the game. Stating that one is committed to the spouse is important, too. However, the miracles took place was when individuals were willing to go past the facts, past what the other person did or did not do, and find the feelings. This is taking a risk, going past just feeling fine.
I had an opportunity to dig into my own feelings too.
When the week was over, I had the gift of a day and half in Branson before I had get home to my family. I looked at the facts and determined it was not a problem to stay. My kids were well cared for at home, I had friends to visit, and outlet malls to explore. I could relax and do whatever I wanted for a day and a half. Logically, it looked like staying in Branson for the extra time would be a good plan.
These facts and logic were not enough against my feelings. I missed my family. I was lonely and longed to spend time with my husband and kids. I went to bed Thursday night, assuming the facts were okay, fine. After all, they made sense. But I couldn’t sleep. I was dreaming of ways to get home!
When I woke up, I knew my feelings about getting home were important. I knew something was unsettled in me and I needed to dig deeper, asking myself questions about why I was so unsettled. I prayed God would help me get clarity. Through this process, it became clear that getting home soon was more important than the logic in staying to enjoy my time away.
When I shared my feelings with my husband, Peter, he was willing to help me find a way home sooner than planned. Had I stuck with the facts and the logic, I would have been fine.
This is what a number of couples discovered during the week. Many marriages assume that feeling fine is enough to make it. It isn’t. The slow divide happens when couples just work towards fine and not into deeper emotions.
When I feel I’m settling into feeling fine again, I want to remind myself to move beyond that place. I want to find the feelings. I want to be in a marriage where Peter can share his feelings as well, and neither of us is living in the land of fine. It is a lonely place. Finding the feelings is one way out of the loneliness and into intimacy in marriage.
Where are you settling for fine? How can you find the feelings?
By Heather Larson, speaker, author, and life coach at Bridgewell Coaching.