“It’s okay to cry,” Leslie whimpered.
We were having lunch at a favorite restaurant, talking about I don’t know what when out of nowhere, or so it seemed, Leslie’s eyes flooded with tears. Only moments before they were sparkling. “I know it’s okay to cry,” I confessed, “but can’t you wait until we get in the car?”
My simple request only exacerbated the emotion I was trying to stifle. Leslie dabbed her eyes with a napkin, trying to retain her mascara, but the floodgates soon opened and the tears flowed like a stream.
I can’t tell you how many times we have lived through similar scenes and neither of us could tell you what the issues were, but we can assure you that tears are a part of every marriage relationship. And it’s a good thing.
Research on crying has shown that tears contain chemicals related to stress. When people cry they are actually washing away the harmful effects of stress.
William Frey, in his book Crying: The Mystery of Tears, suggests that women, whom society allows to cry more openly and frequently, are able to excrete their “stress waste” more readily than men, who are conditioned to block this natural cleansing system. Whatever the scientists have discovered about crying, God understood in the beginning.
Did you know that God keeps a record of your tears?
The psalmist says they are listed on a scroll (see Psalm 56:8). God values our tears. Consider who God chose to be His spokesperson at the most critical time in Israel’s history — Jeremiah, “the weeping prophet”! Jeremiah didn’t always have the words to describe his feelings, but his tears often served as his message. He was not ashamed to bury his head in his hands and sob aloud. He was not ashamed to cry.
How about you? When your words fail, can you let the tears flow? Can you identify with the woman in the opening chapter of Lamentations:
Bitterly she weeps at night, tears are on her cheeks. — Lamentations 1:2
Can you identify with the prophet who said,
Streams of tears flow from my eyes because my people are destroyed. My eyes will flow unceasingly, without relief, until the Lord looks down from heaven and sees. — Lamentations 3:48-51?
How about with Jesus as He wept at the death of His friend Lazarus (John 11:35)?
Let me be honest I’m not totally comfortable with tears. When Leslie cries I still cringe. But I have learned that tears, hers and mine, are essential to a growing marriage. And I have learned to value the tears of my wife — just as God does.
Part of becoming soul mates is learning that there is no shame in tears. Sure, crying in the middle of a restaurant is nobody’s idea of a good time, but if onlookers don’t understand the tenderness of tears between a married couple, that’s their problem!
From God’s Word
And He who sits on the throne will shelter them with His presence. ‘Never again will they hunger, never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat down on them,’ nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘He will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’ — Revelation 7:15-17
- How have tears played a part in your marriage? How would each of you rate on a “tearfulness scale”?
- Give an example of a time you personally cried with your spouse. How comfortable was that experience for you?
- How does Christ’s response to the death of Lazarus impact you? What does it tell you about expressing your feelings through tears?
- Discuss how your spiritual well-being may be linked to your emotional well-being in marriage.
- How can each of you more effectively take into account the emotional well-being of your partner? How can you give him or her the freedom to express even sad emotions?
Soul to Soul
To deepen your spiritual intimacy this next week, make note of:
- What you gained from this session together
- A pressure point in your partner’s upcoming week you will pray about
- A concrete kindness you can offer your partner this week
God of compassion, You who have known true joy and experienced true sorrow, help us to understand our emotions deeply. Enable us to draw on the gift of tears as a source of strength for our marriage. Let us learn, even this week, to be comfortable with tears in our marriage. Amen.
Excerpted with permission from Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts Devotional by Les and Leslie Parrott, copyright Les and Leslie Parrott.
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One translation of Psalm 56:8 says that God collects our tears in a bottle. What a beautiful, poetic description of how poignant our sadness and griefs are to the Lord. We can learn so much about how to relate to our spouse by how God Himself relates to us. How have tears affected your marriage? Come share with us on our blog. We would love to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily
Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts Devotional
Les and Leslie Parrott
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