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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

"Letting your hair down" with your spouse is a good thing, but...

What does the idiom "let your hair down" mean? Here are some dictionary suggestions:
  • To tell someone everything; to tell one's innermost feelings and secrets.
  • To relax and enjoy yourself without worrying what other people will think.
  • To drop one's reserve or inhibitions.

Freedom to be Genuinely You

Intimacy, by definition, must be genuine. I'm a big believer in being who you really are with your spouse, of letting your hair down and losing your inhibitions. It's part of the beauty of being one. In fact, pretense inhibits intimacy, because there is no such thing as fake intimacy.

Intimacy is about being fully known and yet deeply loved and accepted. If fear or shame are keeping you from being real with your spouse, check out my post Shame and Intimacy.

Here are a few excerpts from that post:
In the end shame, which is driven by our fear of disconnection, prevents us from experiencing the very intimacy we fear losing (or not getting in the first place). Shame is a dead end, guaranteed to leave you trapped in loneliness, without the genuine connection you long for. The ultimate conclusion I draw from this is that shame and intimacy simply cannot coexist.
I believe quite strongly that overcoming the shame that is blocking intimacy in your marriage needs to start with a revelation of the love of God for you (and consequently for your spouse). What I’m talking about goes way beyond a vague “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so” kind of understanding. I’m talking about a personal and powerful revelation of just how deeply and endlessly Jesus loves you.
We know that the ideal state for marriage, as described for us in Genesis 2:24-25 is to be "naked without shame." It involves more than just physical nakedness (though it does include that too). It means being transparent and vulnerable in the whole of your marriage: emotionally, financially, spiritually, and physically. In everything. If you fear nakedness with your spouse, if you are holding back in certain areas, read my post Naked Without Shame.

Freedom vs. License - Give the Best of You

However, we have to hold this truth in tension against the other side of the coin. Freedom to be yourself with your spouse is not license to just do whatever you want, to say whatever comes into your mind, or to be unkempt or rude or unkind.

It's not about being fake. It's about giving your spouse the best you have to give.
  • If you don't cuss with your church friends, don't turn into a sailor at home
  • If you smile kindly to the clerk at the store, don't put on your grumpy pout-face for your spouse.
  • If you don't belch in a business meeting, don't subject your wife (or husband) to such things
  • If you are gracious and generous to your friends, don't be any less so with your spouse. Be more so!

Physical appearance/grooming is another area where freedom can be taken too far. While there are times it's nice to just be relaxed and literally "let your hair down," to go without shaving or showering, or to wear your comfy clothes, you also don't want to just "let yourself go" all the time. Out of respect for your spouse, keep good grooming habits.

Wear things you know your spouse finds attractive. Pay attention to their compliments, or just ask him or her before dressing. "Anything special you'd like me to wear?" Use perfume or cologne that your spouse prefers. After all, who else are you wearing it for? Hair and shaving is another area where your spouse's preference in style and color should matter.

Be free. Be yourself. But also be the best version of yourself you can be out of love and respect for the one to whom you are intimately joined as one. Start a conversation by asking, "Is there any area where you feel like I'm giving you less than the best I have to give?"

2 comments:

Andrew said...

Great post, Scott.

I've never been much of a fan for letting my hair down; to me it always had a whiff of self-indulgence, a step back from a 'coiled' posture of operation readiness. But you've put it in terms that make a lot of sense.

http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2016/08/your-dying-spouse-192-ki-to-lift-fmf.html

Scott said...

Thanks for the comment, Andrew. The trick is to be genuine without being self-indulgance. Can be a tricky balance to strike.

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