"Marriage is the most intimate of all human relationships."
"Someone who knows us this intimately can either love us at great depths we never imagined, or can wound us in ways we may never fully recover from."
"Are the secrets your spouse knows about you reasons for shame, or reasons for drawing you closer?"
The text goes on to compare marriage to our relationship with God. He created us and knows our thoughts, fears, dreams. Inside and out. And with all of our faults, all of our sins, all of our shame, He loves us.
"Determine to guard your mate's secrets (unless they are dangerous to them or to you) and to pray for them. Talk with your spouse, and resolve to demonstrate love in spite of these issues. Really listen to them when they share personal thoughts and struggles with you. Make them feel safe."
"How much of an effort is it for you to hold back from saying something, critical or otherwise? What have you learned about your spouse today, simply from listening?"
Here's Jeff's big secret.... ha! Not going to tell you!
Early in our relationship, Jeff and I shared some very personal things with each other. Not really "secrets," per se, but definitely sensitive information about ourselves. Information that someone untrustworthy would use against you. He knows the mistakes I've made, the regrets I have, the "shame" of things in my past. And ditto me for him. These are things that we never throw in each other's faces. These are things that don't come up when we have disagreements. There are some areas where it would be easy to bring up these things and really hurt each other. But we respect each other too much for that. We love each other too much for that.
So no new struggles to talk about. Jeff and I already talk and talk about just about everything. Lots of info about our days, our friends, our daily experiences. He knows things about my thoughts and I know things about his thoughts.
Intimacy, trust, respect, love... it all goes together.