Why You Need to Take off Your Mask in Marriage


take off your mask

As mothers and wives, we try so hard to put our best foot and our best face forward.  That’s admirable, but it’s not really possible.  There will be times when we are tired, grouchy, or sad.  At those moments, we need to give ourselves permission to let our feelings show.  When we do this in our marriage, we’re saying to our husband that we trust him to deal lovingly with us and our emotions.

Author Jill Savage talks about taking off the mask in her life.  It made her stronger as a person, and it helped her to get through a very rough time in her own marriage.  Here’s how and why she took off her mask.

Wearing masks prevents us from being known and from knowing others. Not being real isn’t healthy for anybody, including yourself and your kids. Vulnerability is scary, but it is the backbone of strength in healthy relationships. When you know yourself and allow yourself to be known, it’s easier to know your spouse and your children.

I speak from experience. In my early parenting years, I was not very in tune with myself emotionally. If I cried, I did so in private. If I was sad, I pushed the feeling away. I was afraid to be honest with my kids about my struggles because I didn’t want them to be burdened with them. Of course, when they are younger, this is appropriate. However, as they grew older, I missed the opportunity to be known to myself, my husband, and my children.

It wasn’t until my husband experienced a midlife crisis and left for three months that I allowed myself to be known. At the time, my children ranged from ages fifteen to twenty-seven, and I couldn’t fix this hurt in their lives. I could only cry with them. In this dark season, I learned the value of vulnerability. Taking off my mask allowed myself to be known and therefore enabled me to actually know my children better as well. If your children are small, begin practicing “being known” in your marriage and friendships. As your children grow older, give your kids the gift of yourself—real, imperfect, and exactly what they need.

Taken with permission from No More Perfect Kids by Jill Savage. 

Comments


  • Lorin Greer-Cardona

    I hate to admit it but I am absolutely way too high maintenance. I wasn’t raised that way by any means. If anything things didn’t go my way98% of the time so I’m not sure why I expect so much from my dear husband. Something to certainly be mindful of though.

  • Lonesome

    I am very low maintenance in every aspect, but there is Z E R O intimacy in my marriage. We have been together for 17 years & for 16 of those 17 years, I have had to BEG for any attention. Even when I have solved every single issue he has used as an excuse.
    I take care of myself, I believe an attractive, in pretty good shape 52 year old wife who adores her husband and this rejection is sucking the life out of me.

    • Jessica deJong

      I too have struggled with wanting my husbands attention and every time the comforting answer is to love myself. There is nothing wrong with me and instead of wondering why he doesn’t show love to me – I love myself. Massage. Exercise. Meditation. Serving and helping others. I even have started “tapping” and other self worth practices. I try hard not to hold a grudge or withhold my love from him – I’m hoping that my unconditional love for him will set the example and maybe one day he will be able to do the same for me. With much love and respect for you I pray that you will find what you need. Jess

    • Libby

      Lonesome, I wanted to let you know that I am praying for you.

  • Laurie Morales

    So I will sadly admit I’m high very high maintenance. My husband and I have been together for 8yrs. We were both previously married, both have two children with our ex’s and two children together, yes we’re the updated version of the Brady Bunch lol. From the beganing he’s been very attentive, loving and goes above and beyond for me and all our children! He works very very hard and is a wonderful provider and I’ve been blessed to be a stay at home mom the last 8 yrs. In my previous marriage I was the one who did everything, worked, took care of children, most of the time by myself as my ex was a workaholic. My ex never was very attentive towards my needs or wants. I think because of that and the fact that my current husband really has me spoiled, and has from the start of our relationship I’ve grown use to it so when he starts to neglect me (of course unintentionally) I tend to get a little upset. I know that it’s not ok and that I really need to start being somewhat independent again. It’s hard because until I met and fell in love with him I had never had anyone treat me as special and sweet as he does. Now that I’m actually admitting it I see that I need to value him and his role in our family a lot more, so tonight I think I’ll maybe give him a long back rub. I love my husband very much he’s my everything, I’m a very lucky lady to have a husband who works hard, cooks, cleans, helps with kids all the time, he’s understanding and tries so hard to please me, I void today I start treating him like the king he is!!! After all he gets me like a queen!! 😉 thanks for sharing this blog it’s opened my eyes or at least it’s helped me to see the error of my ways!!!

  • Melancholy

    I’m low maintenance and my husband is the high maintenance one. It drains me and affects his relationships with the kids such that he is not on speaking terms with our eldest teenage son for a few days now. He has promised to change and has, for the most part..but old habits die hard I guess. How do I make him realize the effect this is having on our marriage and family if he chooses to close his eyes, ears and heart and assumes it his right to demand priority attention because he is the head of the family?

    • ME

      This sounds somewhat familiar in my family. It is sad.

    • Andrew Mayer

      Hey “Melancholy”,

      It sounds like you’re in a really frustrating place. I hope some of this has been resolved over the last few months. If not, you might want to check out a book that has been really helpful for me and my wife. It’s called “Love and Respect” by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. I think the book can be particularly helpful for helping women understand how to connect with the hearts of their husbands when they’re behaving in ways that aren’t ideal. I’ve prayed for you and your husband.

    • Jeremy

      Melancholy, I’ll be praying for and your husband’s relationship. I encourage you to pray for your husband.

  • Frustrated

    I think I have learned to be pretty low maintenance.
    One thing that frustrates me, is that I do communicate my needs to my husband, but he still doesn’t do much to meet them. For example, touch is my love language. His job takes him out of town for days or weeks at a time so I have learned to go without hugs when he is away. I have told him repeatedly that I need hugs and affectionate touches when he is home – he can still go for days at home without really touching me.

    • Robin

      Same with me, except my husband doesn’t have a job that takes him out of town. The only time he seems to want to touch me is for sex. Sometimes I just want him to hold my hand, put his arm around me, or give me a hug without it having to do with sex! I’ve told him over and over for years – doesn’t seem to get it, which has left it pretty “cold” in our bedroom.

      • Jeremy

        Robin, I’m lifting up your marriage in prayer.

      • Andrew Mayer

        Hey Robin,

        It sounds like you share a similar perspective as my wife. Have you ever read the book “The 5 Love Languages”? I think this may be what “Frustrated” was referring to above. The concept is that people both show and understand love in 5 primary ways. One of my wife’s top love languages is Physical Touch. However, this is NOT mine! (I’m more of a Words of Affirmation kind of guy.) My wife and I read this book together, and it opened up some really great conversation between us. Once both of us understood that we had unique needs in this area, we were able to identify when we were trying to make steps toward each other, and it even gave us the vocabulary to do so. As silly as it sounds, we would often say things like “I’ll hold your hand if you’ll say something nice to me.” Up until that point (and this makes me sound like such an ignorant husband), I had assumed that the only “reason” why you show physical affection was for the purpose of initiating sex! My wife had tried to explain this to me, but it wasn’t until I had my own love language to compare it to that I realized that behavior that was foreign to me (non-intimate touch) was actually AS MEANINGFUL TO HER AS encouraging words were to me. The lightbulb turned on, and we’ve been making gradual process ever since. I definitely recommend checking it out!

    • Andrew Mayer

      Hey “Frustrated!”

      I read the posts from both you and Robin (below). I responded to hers and then thought my response may be encouraging to you too. Please don’t give up on your husband. We men can be a little dense sometimes, but there’s always hope! I’m praying your relationship with your husband deepens.