Summary: Last in the series, "Life After the Wedding," this message features more spiritual perspectives on marriage, and practical tips for staying far from adultery.
The Heart Reader
Series: Life After the Wedding, part 6
Wildwind Community Church
February 26, 2006
Big thought for today: If God wants marriages to be healthy, and if marriages are the product of a union between two spirit beings (which we are if you believe human beings have spirits), and if each spirit is eternal, then is it any wonder that marriage is supposed to last forever? Isn’t that consistent with who we are at the core? Doesn’t it make sense of the sex thing we talked about last week – the way sex seems to reach right down into the human soul and spirit? Is it possible that adultery actually begins with something that goes wrong in one or both spirits – something that has gone wrong a long time before the affair – heck, something that has gone wrong a long time before the marriage?
That’s where I want to start with you today, picking up where we left off last week, only today I want to get away from the more sexual aspects and focus on heart issues. Because if my idea is right – if adultery begins with something that goes wrong in the human spirit before the wedding day, then we can do nothing greater than to pay close attention to matters of spirit this morning.
I read a book several years ago by an anonymous author. It was called The Heart Reader. The main character in the book awakes one morning to find himself capable of reading the emotions of those around him. Though he had always wanted this power, he quickly wishes he had not acquired it. He immediately becomes aware of the fact that every man and woman is existing on a level completely different inside than what would appear on the outside. He hears the pain of the waitress serving him at the restaurant. He hears the fear of the big burly biker. He hears the loneliness of the party animal and the doubt of the preacher. He finds himself in a world completely different than the one he thought he lived in. Though initially freaked out and depressed by this gift, he soon realizes that it is in fact a gift and begins to go around helping people based not on how they present themselves, but based on who he really knows them to be. He says encouraging words to the waitress to soothe her pain. He attempts to reassure the fearful biker. He tries to come alongside the party animal and be a real friend, and makes himself available to listen to the doubts of the preacher. Some respond well to his efforts, but many do not. Many refuse to acknowledge the realities that are inside of them and respond by lashing out, walking away, or making fun. He eventually loses this gift, but what he never loses is the perspective it gave him on who people really are.
As we wrap up our series on marriage today, I want to do my best to impart this gift to you. I want to encourage you to think below the surface about this issue of marriage. I want you to think about your spouse. I want you to imagine what you might hear if you could suddenly read their heart.
So you receive this gift – this strange ability - suddenly at work one day. After spending the day “getting to know” your coworkers, you return home. And there, for the first time, you really hear your spouse. I mean, you hear not words, not even actions – you hear their heart. For the first time, you realize her, “Honey, does this make me look fat,” actually means “I’m feeling insecure and I need your reassurance that you love me no matter what.” For the first time you realize that his stony silence means, “I’m afraid I can’t make you happy and that no matter what I say I’m going to humiliate myself or hurt your feelings.” For the first time in quite a while, when he approaches you for sex, you hear, “I love you and want to be close to you.” For the first time, when you want to go out with the guys and she angrily objects, you hear, “I would give anything to be the person you would choose to spend your time with. What’s the matter with me?” For the first time when he gets angry and throws a tantrum, you hear “I’m not really angry – I’m hurt. But it’s too embarrassing to tell you that, and I’m not sure it’s safe.”
You are suddenly hearing your partner in a whole new way – you hear their heart reaching out to you. And you know what happens? It disarms you. It forces you to stop being suspicious, stop being defensive, stop being critical, stop stonewalling, stop being contemptuous, and perhaps for the first time see your spouse not as a need-meeter, not as a parent, not as a roommate, but as a profoundly spiritual being – a person with infinite depth and complexity who is sometimes – and sometimes frequently – lost in their own depths. A spirit being crying out from behind a physical body, longing to make contact with you but unsure how.