How Do You Feel?

feelingsMy guy and I are leading a couple’s small group using new curriculum to strengthen marriages. So far it is going very well. We have a nice mixture of couples who have been married for less than six years, with young children and exhaustion, and the others are close to twenty years in, with teens and experience. We have been very impressed with the actual study and also with the willingness of the members to open up and share. It feels like couples really want to experience transformation in their marriages.

Each week we have homework requiring a date night and a couple of hours of concentrated time together. This week the topic is communication, and one small task we were to perform was to make an ‘I feel’ statement each day. Apparently it is pretty easy to go about your life without acknowledging your feelings clearly, or those of the one you love most. I almost snorted at the simplicity of this task, what difference could it possibly make?

The next day my guy eagerly volunteered how he was feeling, and it was so nice to chat about the details for a couple of minutes, but then it was my turn. I didn’t have words. It took me several minutes to truly slow down and reflect; where was each child emotionally and how are they doing? How is my guy? Do I feel connected with those closest to me? I had to go through all these questions just to get to my base feelings for that moment. I finally shared and we talked about it, and then went on with our day, feeling a little more connected.

Suddenly I realized that I was going to need to do this again the next day and the next. Why was this so difficult to do? I think it’s because we are accustomed to responding to the surface feelings of hunger and frustration, but identifying how we truly feel in a given moment takes time and introspection, and it’s not necessarily based on that very moment.

It can be tempting to label our emotions with that temporary feeling of doubt or fear that sometimes rises up, but if we can pull back a little and determine where we truly are, those small feelings can give way to truth. At least that’s what I’m learning this week….

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Proverbs 4:23

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