This week, on my blog www.peacefulwife.com, we are examining a topic that is VERY difficult for many wives – giving space to their husbands. I think that is pretty counterintuitive to a lot of us as women, because many of us get married because we DON’T want to have space. We want constant emotional/spiritual/verbal connection. We think, “once we are married, we will never be lonely again!”
In all human relationships, there will be an element of “giving space.”
- people with more introverted personalities need more space than extroverts
- children need time to play independently to learn to handle being alone and to learn to enjoy being alone sometimes
- coworkers need space and may not be available to talk all the time – there is probably work that needs to be done and needs to be done well
- friends sometimes need space to unwind, take care of responsibilities, work, sleep, and do things they enjoy by themselves
- men who are unavailable to us need a bit more space – physically and emotionally – so that we do not become entangled in temptation (giving space in these situations is a way we help to protect our hearts)
- boyfriends will need space to do their own thing and to focus on various areas of their lives
- parents need space to get work done, to take care of chores and responsibilities, and to rest
- even in marriage, our husbands will need space and time to themselves in most cases in order to recharge (or there will be scheduling issues, business trips, deployments, illnesses, projects around the house, mission work, ministry work, issues with extended family that force a couple apart with time or space)
- when we have our own children, they need more and more space as they grow up, there is a continual process of “letting go” that loving parents go through in order for their children to grow up to be responsible, emotionally whole, independent adults.
We cannot depend on another person to meet all of our emotional/spiritual needs. When I become totally needy and dependent on another person to meet all of my needs – that is idolatry of that person (I am putting that person above God in my heart as the most important one in my world). Being overly attached emotionally to someone else creates unhealthy relationship dynamics, dysfunction, and a type of relationship called “codependency” or that is sometimes referred to as being “enmeshed.” I was this way with my identical twin sister – overly dependent on her emotionally. I became this way with Greg, too. All that does is make both people in the relationship miserable!
Giving space to another person involves things like giving them physical space and distance, time, and silence (verbal and texting/emailing), and involves us having a gentle, peaceful, tranquil, calm spirit that is not filled with resentment or bitterness toward the person to whom we are giving space.
Giving space that other people need is a way we show respect to them.
But here is some great news!
God doesn’t need space. We cannot smother God!
Now, I love to use the time and space I have to myself to lavish on God. I cherish those private times of emotional and spiritual connection with Him more than anything in my life! I can ALWAYS be fully connected with Him. He always welcomes my full attention. I can be silent and just rest in His presence. Or I can listen as I read His Word. I can praise Him in prayers or in singing. I can lift up my needs and the needs of others to Him. I can fill my heart with thanksgiving for all that He has done for me. I can listen to His voice of conviction when there is sin in my heart that needs to go.
God is big enough and powerful enough that we can “abide in Him constantly” (John 15). This is the only relationship where being “enmeshed” is a healthy thing. We are then firmly attached to Christ – He is the Vine and we are the branches. We continually receive spiritual nourishment and abundance from Him. He is our Source for everything! We become one with Him in Spirit. We can know that He never leaves us and never forsakes us. We are never alone.
I am praying for you to find that beautiful connection with Christ and that you might savor Him and cherish Him greatly. He alone can meet the deepest needs of your soul. He alone can heal those scars and wounds in your heart. He can be a fountain of never-ending Living Water in your soul.
Much love to each of you!
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30