Monday, March 5, 2012

Vulnerability Invites Romance (and a book give-away)

This is the final guest blog from Sandy Ralya, author of The Beautiful Wife.  If you haven't read her book, I would recommend you check it out for more great insights.  The book has an accompanying mentor guide and prayer journal for personal or group study. 

When I signed up to review the book, Litfuse Publicity Group provided me with a second set (The Beautiful Wife and companion materials) to use as a give-away.  If you're interested in receiving the books, comment below this post; include your email address.  I'll randomly select a winner sometime after 5 p.m. this Wednesday, March 7.

Vulnerability Invites Romance

It has become second nature for women to defend themselves. For untold generations, women have been hurt, taken advantage of, and diminished in their value. With the advent of the Women’s Liberation Movement, women came out swinging against the injustices they’d endured and, in the process, they lost something of great value—their vulnerability.

There is something so inviting about vulnerability.

Vulnerability is armorless.

Vulnerability draws others in.

It invites others to look deep inside.

This invitation to look inside is exactly why so many avoid vulnerability at all cost.

It’s dangerous.

If you offer vulnerability to your husband, what will he do with it?

Hurt you?

Take advantage of you?
Think less of you?

These risks overshadow vulnerability’s beauty until you consider the consequences of a life lived defensively.

Living defensively is like living in a fortress—walls built up and weapons ready. The face behind the wall is tense, scanning for threat.

A life lived on the defense is a life spent without rest, joy, or freedom.

Many women dwell behind walls that inadvertently keep their husbands out, and they wonder why they do not feel known.

Since true romance involves being known and desired, to invite your husband to romance you must take the risk of being vulnerable, tearing down your defensive walls.

For instance, when you get hurt, do you retaliate in anger, or are you vulnerable with your husband and admit your feelings?

Retaliating in anger may satisfy your thirst for justice, but it won’t give you the increased romance and intimacy you want.

No one approaches a fortress when arrows are flying from it—unless they are prepared for battle!

It takes more courage to admit your feelings of hurt than to defend yourself. It requires you to trust God to keep you safe when you expose your hurts, and to heal you if your husband is not gentle. The good news is that God promises to do all these things and more in Psalm 91:

. . . The Lord says, "I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name."

You must come to recognize what triggers you to defend yourself rather than to admit your pain.

Perhaps it’s a fear that your needs won’t be met or that you’re not valuable.

When the triggers come
, remind yourself that God loves you and He’ll defend and protect you if you put your trust in Him.

Shooting arrows of anger over your walls doesn’t provide your husband the safety he needs to know, desire, and pursue you.

Allow God to protect you and go before you, leveling your defenses and making way for your husband to romance you.

Do you offer your husband vulnerability?

Special Note:
If you are in an emotionally or physically abusive marriage, exposing your vulnerability could be damaging to you instead of healing. I urge you to seek the help you need. Contact the Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE, or call your church and ask to be referred to a reputable Christian counselor.

Sandy Ralya is the founder and director of Beautiful Womanhood, a marriage mentoring ministry based near Grand Rapids, Mich. Her marriage testimony was the focus of a popular three-day interview on FamilyLife Today, TV's Walking by Faith, and Time Out for Women. Sandy is a sought-after speaker, presenting Beautiful Womanhood seminars to hundreds of women each year at MOPS groups, women's retreats, and church leadership conferences across the country and in Canada. Sandy and her husband Tom have been married since 1980, and have a growing number of grandchildren.

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