Learning to Hold your Spouse's Heart Well

Jun 02, 2022

Want to learn how to better hold your spouse's heart? Here is a simple roadmap:




Practice being aware of your own heart. Notice how it moves, what it feels, where its longings hide. Notice what happens in your body when your heart feels poked, turned upside-down, or fired up. Notice the layers of experience your heart has, especially during triggering moments: Do you feel angry at the surface, but scared underneath? Is your confidence being undercut by insecurity? Does your anxiety draw it’s energy from a deeper shame?


As you become more aware of your heart, give it permission to be what/where/how it is. When fear hits you, no matter how irrational, let it exist. Don’t cover, bury, or dismiss any part of your heart’s raw experience. When you feel like a knife just got stuck in your chest, stay with the pain of it, rather than running away. When despair steals the warmth from your blood, don’t beat it over the head with Biblical truths. In short: take the risk to simply be where you are.


Being careful to not skip (or rush through) the first two steps, now it’s time to be kind, soft, and understanding toward your heart. In that moment, give yourself the acceptance and empathy you long for from others. Tending to your heart is not permission to redact the allowance you previously gave yourself. It’s more like tending to a deep cut on your leg – you don’t expect yourself to have a painless experience. You care, tenderly, for the wound, even in the middle of the pain


Notice anything odd about these three steps? NONE of them have anything to do with holding your spouse's heart! The steps are completely focused on you holding your own heart well. Let me explain why this is so crucial.

We wouldn't expect ourselves to teach someone how to play the piano unless we first knew how to play it ourselves. In the same way, how could we possibly be effective in holding our spouse's heart when we rarely hold our own? It is simply a fact that you cannot hold someone else's heart well, in a healthy and effective way, until you have learned to hold your own. So…if you want to learn how to hold your spouse's heart better, do the work to hold your own heart well. The rest will follow automatically.