If there’s one thing I’ve realized over the last ten years of my life, it is how often people have a hard time saying how they feel, verbalizing their needs, their feelings, their desires, their hurts, pains, and disappointments. This lack of ability to communicate is a hindrance in every relationship that we experience.
Communication controls relationships. We withhold communication in order to control a relationship—to prevent others from seeing us in an unpleasant light—and we choose to share information about ourselves with others as a way of bonding with them. This exchange of information is a means of letting them see us—of opening ourselves up to them. And this makes us vulnerable to them.
These are the same reasons why prayer and the reading of God’s Word directly correspond to the level of intimacy we experience with our Father. This is no new revelation. Reading God’s Word is us allowing God to speak to us. Conversely, prayer is us speaking to and opening ourselves up to God. It matters not that God already knows our hearts, except for the intercession of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26-27) and the mediation of our Elder Brother (1 Timothy 2:5) on our behalf. We may know of a secret someone else is trying to keep from us. It’s not specifically the knowledge that changes the relationship, though it can and does, but rather the relationship grows from that person opening up and revealing the secret themselves, or the relationship withers because of the lack of honesty. The revelation is what draws you closer and the lack thereof can subsequently only serve to hinder the same relationship.
Just because knowledge is not shared does not change the truth that it exists. You may, in fact, temporarily be able to control one’s perspective or their view of you. But that view is not who you truly are. It’s a perception. And most often it’s a half truth, if not an outright lie.
Let’s look at some reasons we don’t share our thoughts, feelings, and needs with others. Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend have written a fantasitic book called Boundaries. In this book, they address several reason why people fail to set boundaries, and these reasons are often the same reasons why we don't open up with honesty to those around us. These reasons include: fear of loss of love, or abandonment; fear of others' anger, fear of loneliness, guilt, approval, overidentification with others' loss (pg 93-94).
My husband and I went through a period where quite frankly prayer was the only thing that got us through. We love each other, but unfortunately, love doesn’t always prevent us from hurting each other. To be honest, I didn’t feel at the time like I was able to talk to my husband as I normally would about how I was feeling. I could, however, very openly talk to my Abba Father. I decided to take an extra step and share those prayers with my spouse.
I was ultimately able to take my thoughts, feelings, desires, and hurts to God in full sincerity of heart and by sharing that openness with my husband, he also was able to see to the depths of my soul. And God in the process healed the wounds that were created. Fitting for the One that is the Healer. I didn’t pray with my husband in the way that one typically thinks of prayer. I wrote them down—or rather, typed them up and emailed them to him. He was able to see exactly what I was feeling and struggling with at nearly the exact moment I was feeling it. And as a result, he was able to turn around and pray for me knowing exactly what I needed to be taken to our Father. Ecclesiastes says "Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone?" (4:9-11)
As happens frequently with prayer, God was changing me and my heart with each word I put to paper. And I believe he was opening my husband’s heart to receive my words and feelings and in the process drawing us both closer to Him.