Hiding some of your feelings and concerns is easy when you are thousands of miles away from your spouse. Even if your communication was steady during deployment, having your military man at home can be up close and personal. For some, “up close and personal” can translate to “in my space and awkward.”
Nehemiah’s job description was cupbearer to the king. Persian kings were famous for their drinking parties. The cupbearer was the designated person to carry the wine and give it to the king. Chapter 2 of Nehemiah takes place about four months after Nehemiah received the bad news about the poor condition of Jerusalem. As Nehemiah handed a cup of wine to the king, the king noticed Nehemiah’s sad countenance. Not wanting gloominess to overcome his party and showing some genuine concern, he asked Nehemiah the reason for his sad face.
How do you generally respond when someone asks, “What’s wrong?” You may really want to tell them, but at the same time, you are terrified of the reaction. What if they minimize your feelings or doubt your reasoning? What if you have been working up the courage to ask a question and finally the opportunity comes, but you are suddenly afraid of the possible answer?
Perhaps such thoughts were swirling in the mind of Nehemiah when the king asked him, “What’s wrong?” Was the king angry because he was sad during a festive moment? Would the king react favorably to Nehemiah’s concern for Jerusalem?
We are not privy to why Nehemiah became afraid, but what stands out to me is that he overcame his fear. He asked the king to let him go to rebuild Jerusalem.
When you are face to face with your spouse, you can read in his countenance what you may never see in a text message or email. It takes concern to ask, “What’s wrong?” It takes courage to open up and share what is bothering you. Love shows concern and is courageous. Love overlooks imperfections for criticism, but searches out hurts for healing. Some people are more intuitive than others. Do your best to listen carefully for pain within your spouse. If you think you hear it, ask the question. Take time to understand your spouse’s pain and ask the Lord’s help for healing.