A healthy marriage requires every aspect of who we are.
Yes/No: My spouse is fully invested in our relationship--mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Why Does This Issue Matter?
A good marriage isn't a half-hearted affair. It requires hard work, intentional effort, and every aspect of who we are. Whenever we hold part of ourselves from the intimacy of a relationship, we rob our spouse of the fullness of who we are. All of me and all of you, that is what a good marriage consists of. Anything less is not acceptable.
What If You Said Yes?
Value the gift your spouse is giving to you. It's a scary world. We are full of hurt. It's tempting to hold back and not fully trust others with the totality of who we are. If your spouse has given their full selves to you, value that. Treat their heart right. Handle their emotions with care. Love them well. Even as you value the gift you are receiving, recognize that knowing and being known is an ongoing process. Keep acting with intention to know and value your spouse.
What If You Said No?
Don't be surprised, but don't settle for less than all. Because our sorrows and hurts are so deep, it shouldn't surprise us when we hold part of ourselves from another or they withhold part of themselves from us. Yet having empathy about action does not mean we continue with the action. When you said "I do" to one another, you were promising all of you. To give anything less is a failure to fully live out the vows you have made. But recognize it's a process. For most, the next step isn't just diving in. It's developing deeper levels of trust and respect. As you grow your levels of respect and trust, it will empower you to deeper levels of vulnerability--mental, physical, and emotional.
It might be an over-generalization, but in many relationships, the husband struggles to be fully present emotionally. Our culture does not cultivate emotional understanding and expression in men. This handcuffs us in recognizing our emotions and easily dealing with the emotions of others. In nearly every case, a man needs to specifically work on recognizing, understanding, and expressing emotions. Not only will he benefit from the experience, but his marriage will as well.
Article: How To Succeed In Marriage
Book: Friends, Partners & Lovers by Kevin A. Thompson