The Safest Place on Earth

Feeling the sting of rejection recently and with tears in my eyes, I said to my husband, “I just want to know where I belong and I want to hang out there for a while.” With tenderness in his eyes and in his voice he reached out and brought me in close to him, saying, “You belong right here.”

We all want to know we belong somewhere, with someone. Marriage creates an opportunity for this but it doesn’t just happen because a name is changed or because vows are spoken.

Many couples don’t seem to have much problem being close or physically affectionate (especially men), but how familiar are most couples? Yes, couples may be familiar with each other on the surface, but are they familiar with feelings, desires and dreams? Does your spouse feel safe enough to express feelings of inadequacy, insecurity, or shame? If your spouse has a dream, do you know what it is? Would they risk sharing it with you or would they feel belittled or silly? How is anger expressed in your relationship? Can you be vulnerable enough with your spouse to express anger and hurt? Do you mask it with rage or pretend it’s not there by stuffing it?

One of the greatest gifts we can give to our spouse is to be their safest place on earth. This didn’t come easy to Stephen and me—it still doesn’t come easy on some days. We all bring our own “baggage” into a marriage and there ain’t nothing like a marriage to reveal just what that baggage is! Sometimes, in order to learn how to do this, we need the guidance of someone else who is safe. This could be a counselor, a pastor, or another couple. If this is an area in which you desire to grow, but right now feel fearful when your spouse shares a struggle or temptation they deal with (because you’ve been wounded before or you don’t know how to respond) take this Proverb to heart:

Where there is no guidance, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” ~Proverbs 11:14

This is what it took for us. We needed the counsel of older, wiser, and grace-filled Believers to help us grasp our new identity—in Christ AND as a couple—and to learn how to trust the Christ in us with our authentic selves. Before “the Fall” in the Book of Genesis, the Bible tells us that the Man Adam and his wife Eve were naked and felt no shame. This is the ideal for marriage: to be fully known and to fully know one another and to feel NO shame. This is intimacy. Intimacy is defined “a close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person …” This is why “becoming one” takes time. It’s a sad reality that far too many couples give up on this process because of the pain that often accompanies this level of intimacy. But for those who choose to stay in the race, the process, the rewards are absolutely amazing!!

(Written with help and wisdom from my own safest place on earth: Stephen Hendrix, MA, CADC II)


Shelley Hendrix is the author of Why Can't We Just Get Along? as well as other titles. She is a speaker and television talk show host for Atlanta Live on WATC TV 57, and the founder of Church 4 Chicks. Shelley is honored to be married to her best friend, Stephen Hendrix, CADC II, and together, they are raising their two teenage girls and one spunky 10 year old boy. Find out more about Shelley at her website. Connect on Facebook and Twitter.

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