My prayer for you in your life together as husband and wife is that you have a “Peek-a-Boo marriage”!
I know that sounds a little silly, but let me explain….
At 14, 12, and 10, my kids are a long way from little, but I can still remember when they were; I can even remember when they were so little that they hadn’t even really started talking much yet–
But that didn’t mean they couldn’t communicate….
I remember playing peek-a-boo with my first baby, my daughter Sarah, and even though she didn’t have many words at her command, she still managed to communicate her utter delight when we played Peek-a-boo!
She would cover her face with her chubby little hands, and I’d say, “Where’s Sarah? Where’d Sarah go?” as if she had disappeared–because if she couldn’t see me, then obviously I couldn’t see her, right?–and then all of a sudden, she’d pull her hands away with a big smile, a squeal, and a giggle, and I’d say, “Peek-a-boo! There she is!”
She seemed thrilled that I could see her again; thrilled, seemingly, that she was being seen—especially by her mama, the one who loved her more than anyone else in the world!
That’s a lot to be said for the joy of being seen, especially by someone who loves you deeply…..
In marriage, perhaps more than in any other relationship, spouses see a lot of each other.
Hopefully, much of what you will see of each other in your life together will be good. But even so, even in a relationship as loving and committed as yours–given that both of you, like the rest of us, are imperfect, fallible human beings–not everything you see will be rainbows and roses!
When you’re married, not only do you see each other in your finest clothes, with your best face on, experiencing moments of beauty and joy and tranquility….
But you also are privileged to see each other with bedhead and sheet marks on the face, with scruffy whiskers and stubbly legs, in ratty old sweatpants with paint stains and holes; and occasionally–and this happens to even the best of us!–experiencing moments of stress, frustration, and impatience that sometimes seem to be reserved especially for our nearest and dearest….
In your marriage you will hopefully see each other at your best…you will possibly see each other at your worst…and you will definitely see each other at every point in-between.
The challenge, as you share a life together, day after day and year after year, the challenge and the opportunity, is to see beyond all of that, to see more deeply, to really see the other person, to know who he is, who she is, in their soul–and to take delight in the person that you see.
Truly seeing one another won’t always be easy. In fact, it will often be difficult. To look beneath the surface takes time, it takes energy, it takes commitment. It takes wanting to see deeper, and a willingness to look beyond ourselves and our own needs and expectations….
To see beyond the walls we put up, the defenses we hide behind, and the masks we wear- –sometimes even unbeknownst to ourselves–takes patience and wisdom and understanding….
Above all, it absolutely requires an environment of love and trust. Because it can be scary to allow our true selves to be seen; it can feel risky to reveal who we really are, in our deepest, innermost core….
…because what if who we really are somehow isn’t lovable?
…what if we reveal our true self and that self is rejected or otherwise judged to be in some way unacceptable?
Imagine how my game of Peek-a-boo with Sarah would have been different if, when she had pulled her hands away from her face, instead of expressing delight in seeing her, I had roared and growled at her, expressing disapproval and disappointment in who was there behind those hands??
I would have completely betrayed her trust; she would not have felt safe; and there would have been no joy in being seen. And, I suspect, she would have been much less likely to want to play again, to want to reveal herself to me in the course of the game…to say nothing about over the course of her life….
But within a relationship of love and trust, such as the two of you have already and, God willing, will be deepening further as you experience life together within the sacred covenant of marriage, there comes an incomparable opportunity–a lifelong challenge, yes, but at the same time the incomparable opportunity–to give each other the immeasurable gift of truly seeing and being seen…of truly knowing and being known…of truly loving and being loved….which can bring a joy and a delight more real, more profound, more life-giving, I believe, than any other.
And so again, my prayer for you in your life together as husband and wife is that you have a “Peek-a-Boo marriage”! Truly seeing, deeply knowing, and unconditionally loving one another as long as you both may live.