OPSEC within a marriage means not withholding information pertaining to your relationship or family, but sharing despite fear and insecurity
The children struggled together within her, and she said, “If it is thus, why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the Lord. And the Lord said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger.” When her days to give birth were completed, behold, there were twins in her womb. (Genesis 25:22–24)
Military wives learn to withhold information—for good reason. Consider OPSEC (Operations Security), the process to protect even unclassified information that an adversary can use to harm us. We consistently observe safety measures to minimize risk to our husband and family. A military wife may also purposely withhold details from her husband during a deployment so that he can focus on his mission. But in normal life, withholding information from a spouse is not best practice for a successful marriage.
In Genesis 25:21 we learn that Isaac prayed for Rebekah to conceive. He did not lose hope in the promise of God.1 God heard Isaac’s prayer and Rebekah finally—after twenty years of marriage—became pregnant with twins. The pregnancy was extremely difficult, and her own prayer reveals her feelings: “why is this happening to me?” God’s response was a message of insight for the future nation of Israel. The word was not simply to comfort her, it revealed the disturbing destiny of her sons.2 Her two babies would become two nations—and the older would serve the younger!
She prayed and God answered. Not only did God answer, the passage tells us: God spoke to her. Put yourself in that situation. What would you do if “the Lord said” something to you about the future of your children? I would find my husband and relay every word of the message to him—in detail! And I would repeat it to myself several times for emphasis. Rebekah, however, kept the Lord’s words to herself. Why would she withhold this significant information from Isaac? Did she feel inferior to Isaac, unable to express herself freely? Did she not want to trouble Isaac with the knowledge that there would be lifelong strife between their children? Did she simply choose to deceive?
We do not know the reason. Scripture simply informs us of the devastating result. Isaac favored the older child Esau and Rebekah favored the younger child Jacob (Genesis 25:27–28). God let Rebekah know Esau was unsuited for the promised blessing, but she did not share that information with Isaac. Her inability or unwillingness to communicate with her husband led to a series of tragedies to the family.3
Honesty and openness are fundamental to a strong and healthy marriage. OPSEC within a marriage means not withholding information pertaining to your relationship or family, but sharing despite fear and insecurity.
Write your husband a note to communicate your gratitude and love for him. Consider reading the book The Five Love Languages: Military Edition with your spouse.4 The authors propose that we each have an emotional love language, and knowing this about our spouse can help us better navigate communication in marriage.
Prayer for the Journey
Lord, use my words today to bless and encourage my husband. Build our relationship as we learn to communicate better. Help us not make assumptions that lead to misunderstanding. Amen.
1 Bruce K. Waltke, Genesis (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2001), 358.
2 IVP Women’s Bible Commentary, 17.
3 Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks, “The Tragedy of Good Intentions: Genesis 25:19–28:9,” Covenant & Conversation, http://www.aish.com/tp/i/sacks/134230588.html, accessed May 17, 2015.
4 Gary Chapman and Jocelyn Green, The Five Love Languages: Military Edition (Chicago: Northfield Publishing, 2013).