I read an article by Ann Voskamp about marriage which said that in every interaction, the question under the words we are saying is always, "Can I depend on you?" She stated that "we are always the child", vulnerable and unsure, desperately needing to know if we can rely on the other person to be there and not to hurt us.
This simple statement unhinged me emotionally. Something shifted deep in my heart, making room for old hurts and fears which I didn't have the courage to look at before. It gave me permission, in some strange way, to recognize that I am always the child, insecure and looking for love and care, and afraid to be hurt.
We all are. We grow up into adults, and make our own choices, wearing grown-up clothes and jewelry and looking the part, but deep in our soul we are afraid to rely on someone and offer our vulnerable hearts up to be wounded. This is particularly true with our spouses. Marriage offers incredible opportunities for us to heal by loving each other well, but we can also wound and be wounded. Vulnerability is a double-edged sword.
Ever since I read this article, I pay more attention to the subtext in my emotionally charged discussions with Jason or with others. I really need to know if I can count on the person I am in relationship with. And can they count on me? If I offer up my heart, will you treat it with respect? Will you love me as I am, or only if I pretend to be something I'm not?
We are always the child. We can cover it over with a million angry words. We can say we don't care when the reality is the exact opposite. We can (and do) lash out when we are hurting and want to cause someone else the kind of pain we are feeling. But under it all, we are a five year old child, desiring in all innocence to be loved, exactly as we are.