In the latter days of our engagement I, like any bride to be, was looking forward to our wedding night, where I would “become one” with my Groom. (Genesis 2:24). I was nervous and excited to be “fully Known” by the man I loved. What I didn’t know was what fully known actually means.
After nearly 4 years of marriage I have learned that it’s about so much more than sex. To be fully known is to allow yourself to be fully given.
Naked and Shamed
We see this in the first marriage in Genesis:
And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. (Genesis 2:25 ESV)
My wedding night was beautiful except for one big elephant in the room: shame. And my unwelcome friend, Shame, followed me all throughout our honeymoon. Why are you here, Shame?!
“Remember how you used to use sex as a tool to make you feel loved? He can’t possibly love you for you.” Old lies whispered straight to my heart. I slipped into old ways of thinking and began believing that my husband only loved me when we were making love. I had forgotten that he pledged his love for me long before sex was in the picture.
It was at that point in our marriage, that I discovered there had to be more depth to this idea of being fully known.
Naked and Unashamed
To be fully known is to be completely open and transparent with our spouse, spiritually as well as physically. We allow him to see the deep wells of wickedness that reside in our souls, not just the springs on the surface.
The more I open my heart to my husband, the more fully I am known by him. And when he accepts me as I am –wicked heart and all– I am enabled to be spiritually “naked and unashamed” in his sight. This naturally helps us to be physically naked and unashamed as well. It’s basically a win-win if you ask me.
Just as couples fumble and learn together sexually, they also stumble and grow together spiritually.
This is part of being fully known. You are two sinners pursuing Christ while offering grace as needed when the other one falls. It’s saying, “I know we’re not perfect, I know we will sin against each other. But I am not ashamed to be yours.”
This takes time. Not everyone is immediately comfortable bearing their hearts to someone, because honestly, it’s scary! What if they hurt us? But biblical love calls us to these hard things. It calls us to a love like Christ. A fierce love that doesn’t fear the loss.
You must cultivate an environment in your marriage that has open ears to your husband’s struggles, and grace to cover a multitude of sins.
Like many women, I have a husband who is not generally an open person. He keeps to himself, and tends to want to work through issues on his own. And then he married me –the most transparent women he’s ever met. It’s quite comical, actually. At first, I felt I was the only one sharing my heart, which was difficult at times. But the more I shared, I realized the more willing he became to do the same.
I had created a safe place for him to lay his worries.
This is vital in marriage. Someone has to take that first brave step of opening up.
Part of being fully known is being fully seen for who we are. When we open our hearts to our spouse, they may see sin or wrong thinking hidden in our blind-spots.
Before we are husband and wife, my husband and I are brother and sister in Christ. This means the command to lovingly confront sin in each others lives still stands.
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. (Galatians 6:1 ESV)
Allowing our husband to confront sin in our lives is vulnerable. But that is a good thing. The Lord has given each married person a built-in accountability partner. My Husband can speak to the lies I’m believing like no one else. God has used him to reveal the sinfulness of my heart which has caused me to, “put to death what is earthly in me.”(Colossians 3:5).
Pray for hearts that are humble before the Lord and each other, so that when either of you are in sin, you welcome the wise counsel of your spouse, knowing it is because they love you that they bring these things to your attention.
Fully Known, Fully Loved
This doesn’t come naturally. We are constantly changing and growing. We have different trials and struggles that press upon us. The pursuit of fully knowing your spouse never ends. But there’s beauty in that. You have many years ahead to grow closer to each other and closer to God together.
I love what Tim Keller says about this:
“When over the years someone has seen you at your worst, and knows you with all your strengths and flaws, yet commits him or herself to you wholly, it is a consummate experience. To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberated us from any pretense, humbled us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.” -Tim Keller, The Meaning of Marriage
It’s easier to hide, isn’t it? It can be painful and difficult but allowing yourself to be known completely by another human being is a treasure from the Lord. Don’t run from it.