My marriage enjoyed a significant boost a couple of summers ago on a family vacation to Glacier National Park in Montana.
Jean, the boys, and I hiked to a place called Hidden Lake but were stopped several hundred yards away. It was spawning season for the trout, and the bears were especially active. Still, from where we were, we could see the bears splashing through the water hunting for fish.
I should say my boys and I could see them.
Jean is nearsighted, and we didn’t have our binoculars. She couldn’t see anything.
That was a huge disappointment for her. She loves wild animals and was particularly looking forward to seeing a few. In fact, she wanted to return the next day, but we had already scheduled a fishing trip.
I knew how excited she’d be to watch the bears, so I encouraged her to go back on her own. The next morning, she did. She hiked back to the lake – this time with binoculars – and spent the whole day watching the bears. She came back later that night, exhausted from one of the best days of her life.
That experience drew us closer together by opening our hearts to one another. She felt valued, and I was happy to see her so happy.
A fulfilling marriage has a lot of parts to it, like strong communication, physical and emotional intimacy, and spiritual unity. But at the core of it all is an open heart.
King Solomon said, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23). Love for our spouse can only flow out of our hearts and into theirs if our hearts are open.
I think all of us could use a little help knowing how to encourage our spouse’s heart to open to us. That can be the difference between a marriage that’s hurting or muddling along and one that’s headed toward a thriving future.
We discuss that on our broadcast today with vice president of Family Ministries here at Focus, Dr. Greg Smalley. He shares some fun stories and offers practical suggestions along the way.