Safe Haven - More Than A Movie

Last week, I had a major meltdown in the bathroom.

I mean, the kind of wracking sobs that made me lose my breath.

It wasn't a death, or the news of a devastating diagnosis that brought me to my knees.

But a mistake I made.

A simple mistake.

I won't even dwell on the mistake, for that's not the point of this writing. I won't even write about what triggered me into sobbing.

It's what happened afterwards, that I now see is so poignant.

As I sat in the locked bathroom, totally inconsolable, my husband was knocking on the door, begging me to let him in so he could console me. I wouldn't let him in.

I was embarrassed.


Livid with myself.

I didn't feel that my husband was "safe" to be around. He assured me he was, but I wasn't having it. I didn't believe him.

There wasn't any reason to not trust him now. In the past...yeah, there was, 'cause neither of us were in a healthy place to be there for each other. Neither of us were 'safe' for each other. Now we're in a more healthy place as a couple and relating feelings...

...but this night?

Nope. Not for me.  (Thank you locked door for keeping him out.)

I know I hurt his heart. I know he wonders what he could have done to prove his 'safeness' with me. The answer?

Not a thing.

It wasn't about him.

It was about me.

I was in such a fix for being angry with myself that I didn't have the heart to bring this sniveling mess of myself to my husband for consoling.  I was too busy giving myself the right-act, and feeling that what I deserved to hear from Brent was the right act too. After all, in a way, this mistake concerned him too. He had every right to read me the right act. The 'come on out, baby' approach was just a ruse, right? I mean, bait me with the good cop routine, get me out the bathroom door and beat me up with the bad cop routine I deserved, right?

Well, I didn't come out for a while, and he gave up.   When I did finally emerge, though he was cordial, he was still hurting, and still puzzled by my over-reactive emotions anyway. I could tell by his demeanor.  I don't blame him.

I apologized to him, told him that he was safe for me to come to - it's just hard for me to expose myself to him like this. I'm still learning that he is safe to bring my whole heart too. I'm not even sure if he believed me in that moment. Can't blame him for that either, because I'm not sure I even believed myself.

And even now, I'm sad that I missed the actual opportunity to be consoled by my husband. It's a great gift, really. One I turned down, without thinking of the cost to both of our hearts.

I never really saw the spiritual implication of practicing this form of relating to my spouse, whether it be coming in vulnerability and asking Brent to be there for me, or being a safe refuge for Brent when he needs me in this way.  I just saw it as one more way of healing our marriage. A great "tool", but not much more than that.

Yet, when I read the following "His Princess Love Letter" from Sheri Rose Shepherd, I had an epiphany:

"If you will come to Me and confess, I will gladly wash over your mind, your body, and your spirit to make you clean. You will never need to feel shame again, because I covered you with My life..."
"You will never need to FEEL shame again..."

Wow. That's what I was experiencing in the bathroom.


Bucket loads of it.

And while my husband pleaded with me, offering his love - I shut out his comfort and consolation. I shut out feeling his arms wrap around me and him letting me know that it was okay. My tender-warrior was here and he wasn't going to let me drown myself in shame.


Why do I beat myself up over the fact that I struggle with run(ning) boldly to the throne of grace to find help in time of need, (Hebrews 4:16) if I can't even unlock the bathroom door to let my very physically present husband in?

If I can't learn to be vulnerable with my heart in Brent's arms...

...why do I beat myself up that I struggle with being vulnerable in God's arms with my heart - when learning to lean and love this way is so much harder, because it's on a spiritual plane and requires much more faith and trust?

I realize that not everyone has a spouse to practice with - or a safe, healthy spouse to practice this with.

But I do.

Practicing "safe relating" isn't just about healing and deepening my marriage. It's a way to practice fighting the tendency of backing up - hiding in shame when I make a mistake, and instead choosing to run to relationship - accepting the place of safe refuge offered that comes after confession.  The more I practice vulnerability in sharing my mistakes and/or confessing sinful choices with Brent, and other safe people in my world, the more clearly I see the One who sits on the Throne of Grace in heaven...waiting for me to run to Him too.

What a gift that marriage can provide - that I never understood before.

A place to practice running to a Safe Haven.

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