The Power of Vulnerability in Relationships

September 14, 2023
by Trisha Walker

Vulnerability Definition:

Vulnerability is the cornerstone of forming authentic connections with others, especially with our partners. It is the willingness to expose our true selves, flaws and all, without the fear of rejection. When we open up about our failures, we demonstrate trust, honesty, and a shared vulnerability that can foster deeper emotional connections within the marriage.

What does vulnerability look like in a Christian marriage?

In the journey of building a strong marital bond despite a fighting relationship, sharing our failures with our partner can be a daunting task. We may fear rejection or judgment, leading us to hide our deepest thoughts and emotions. However, in this blog post, we will explore the importance of vulnerability, what it looks like, how failures can shape us, and how sharing them can contribute to marital success, even in times of hard marriage.

Failure is an inevitable part of life, and it is how we perceive and react to these failures that determine our growth and success. By allowing ourselves to learn from our mistakes, we can evolve and improve our future actions. Embracing failure as a stepping stone toward greatness provides a powerful perspective on personal development. Approaching communication issues in marriage  with humility allows for communication skills to develop.

We recently interviewed Chuck and Linda McCallum on our podcast about how they worked together in their marriage and even grew closer during a time when their children were struggling with addictions. Linda was sharing how failure isn’t a bad thing because it helps us to learn what went wrong, it gives us opportunities to be vulnerable and connect with our spouse about the situation, then provides space for growth both individually and together on ways to do things differently the next time. She said, “God lets us fall and fail in the right places, but He watches over us and He gives us the small failure before we hit the big things.” This only goes to show how failures can indeed strengthen communication in marriage.

“God lets us fall and fail in the right places, but he watches over us and he gives us the small failures before we hit the big things.”
Linda McCallum, wife of Executive Pastor at Infusion Church (Dublin, Ca)

Vulnerability is the cornerstone of forming authentic connections with others, especially with our partners. It is the willingness to expose our true selves, flaws and all, without the fear of rejection. When we open up about our failures, we demonstrate trust, honesty, and a shared vulnerability that can foster deeper emotional connections within the marriage.

In Thomas’s and my relationship, we practice being vulnerable with each other by breaking up conversations into individual topics.  Then, we each have an opportunity to share how we are experiencing that particular topic through the act of being completely self-aware.  We do this by making “I” statements, by not blaming, getting angry, defensive, etc.  We understand that if we are open and vulnerable when sharing, it is the listener's job to be present with the sole objective of gaining understanding into the other person. We have agreed that we will not throw what the other person said back into their face later on.  That would only cause the other person to not feel safe and shut down.

Our willingness to share our failures with our partner is an indication of the level of trust in the relationship. It shows that we have faith in their ability to accept us as we are, flaws and all. When we allow our partner to see our vulnerabilities, we invite them to do the same. When we are authentic in our sharing, it helps create a safe space for emotional intimacy to flourish, and strengthen the marital bond. Openly discussing failures can lead to improved connection in marriage.

Discussing our failures and the lessons learned from them can transform our relationships into a powerful support system. As we share our individual struggles and challenges, we invite our partner to offer support, encouragement, and guidance. This shared experience can cultivate empathy, understanding, and a deeper connection that can weather any storm.

Creating a healthy support system is vital to our emotional, spiritual and physical health.  If our partner isn’t the one we initially feel comfortable sharing with, finding people who we can open up to is an excellent starting point.  Examples are:

  • A relationship coach
  • A pastor 
  • A counselor
  • A support group

Being a part of a Christian small group or having a few solid and sound Christian marriage couples as friends is key to sharing life with the community and not feeling like we are alone.  Then, when we need some encouragement, have questions about relationships or just want to have some fun, we have people we have created a life with, we trust and can begin to be vulnerable with.  This helps to foster deeper and meaningful relationships with our spouse and the community.

People’s identities can be multifaceted, consisting of our successes, failures, the roles we play as a parent, spouse, business owner, employee, friend, etc. True personal growth occurs when we do not allow ourselves to be defined by our failures. Instead our true identity liberates us when we learn from them, inspire others through our successes, and ultimately let our Heavenly Father define who we are by who He says we are.  St. Paul, the Apostle in the New Testament wrote, “And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba Father!”  Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” (Galatians 4:6-7 NKJV)  Recognizing that we are chosen, loved, and His precious children allows us to approach vulnerability with courage and confidence.

“And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba Father!”  Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”
(Galatians 4:6-7 NKJV)

Though opening up about failures can feel intimidating, embracing vulnerability is key for marital success. By learning from mistakes, candidly sharing experiences, and offering mutual support through life's ups and downs, couples build trust, emotional intimacy, and understanding – a firm foundation that endures. Our failures do not define who we are, but the willingness to grow through them shapes us into better partners and individuals. With open and judgment-free communication in relationships, we can discover the transformative power of vulnerability. Let us have the courage to share our imperfections and see how, together, we are made stronger.

Communication challenges don't have to keep harming your marriage. Small changes can make a big difference. Equipping yourselves with just a few simple techniques can help end the fighting and foster understanding. If you're looking for practical, research-backed ways to improve how you communicate as a couple, be sure to check out our free guide. It shares 5 powerful yet easy hacks for improving communication. Don't let destructive arguments continue to damage your relationship - learn how to communicate in a healthier, more productive way and restore peace in your marriage.

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About us

Trisha & Thomas Walker have been married for 27+ years, live in the San Francisco Bay Area and have three children. They are relationship coaches and founding Directors of LGLP Ministries, Inc. (Love God Love People), a 501c3 organization since 2014. They were both certified as Couple Communication™ Coaches in 2010 and then as ThriveSphere™ Relationship Map Facilitators in 2020. The minisry’s vision is to see healed and whole families that impact their communities with the love of God to bring restoration, unity, and transformation

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