Eye contact is so difficult because eye-contact requires grace. It requires grace on the part of the receiver and the giver. See, eye-contact is one of the most vulnerable things we could ever embark upon with our spouse because in the eyes we feel either accepance or rejection. Shame tells us we can’t look into our spouse’s eyes because of what we’ve done, what they’ve accused us of doing, or what they would leave us for if they really knew what was going on inside our heads. Judgment tells us the person making eye-contact with us doesn’t deserve our returned eyes, our willing hearts, or open ears.
But this is what I want to say to you.
Make eye-contact with your husband or wife. Period.
Eye-contact is a place where we get to truly extend the gospel to another human being. In eye-contact, I refuse to hold my sin or another person’s sin between us. I refuse to hold their imperfections or my imperfections and inabilities between us. With our spouse, eye-contact isone feature of the relationship that promotes deeper emotional intimacy.
This is where we have to make a separation between the difficulties in the relationship and the value or worth of the other person. When I make eye-contact, when I place my hand on her cheek, arm, or shoulder, I tell her or him, “You have value. Independent of all the misunderstandings, contradictory desires, selfish actions, or feelings hurt, I will make eye-contact with you and make physical contact with you because I know you are good, that God has made you in his own image, and that you have much to offer the world. I may not feel that way right now, but I’m going to separate the two. I’m looking into your eyes because you deserve it based upon your God given value. I’m looking through all sin and shame to see the inner-core of who you are.”
And it is with a heart that contains these types of sentiments that we reveal God to the other person. They begin to have a connection to Him through how we view them. What occurs in these instances are so powerful because as our spouse sees God through us, it is directly through us that this happens. It is sort of like we’re a power line and the current has just run through us. This current or surge of energy we feel is a deep type of joy or gratitude and our own connection with God and the other person. Now I’m not saying its always as epic as what I’ve just portrayed – but sometimes it is.
There are times that I have a hard time looking into my wife’s eyes. Just this morning, in fact, I felt insecure about something I had done and thought she might be angry with me. But, I went to her. I refused to hide. I went to her, made eye-contact, and I shared it with her. She, in turn, was able to enter into the issue with me, clarify, endorse, and we were able to walk into the morning together.
Eye-contact is scary at first, but in time, if you offer your eyes to your spouse, you begin to offer your very being to them, and you begin to slowly walk out of the hiddenness of your heart – the deep fears you are afraid to share with your partner.
Over time, eye-contact becomes addictive. I love to make eye-contact with my wife. You know how you can look at a baby for hours and hours at a time? How can we do that with a baby and not with an adult? It’s because shame has been introduced into all of our relationships and it takes looking straight through that shame into the person’s God given soul in order to make eye-contact. With a baby, there is no shame. Eye-contact can last for prolonged periods of time. But, in a grace-based marriage relationship, just like with an innocent baby, we can begin to practice looking at each other without shame, forgiving all sin, and treating the other person as Christ would treat them. Without shame. Without judgment. Even if we feel shame about ourselves or have contempt towards the other person (in the dark side of our soul) we choose to take a chance and treat them with the part of our selves that wants to treat them with purity and hope.
We make eye-contact.
Photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash
Photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash