Tender Spots

Protecting Each Other's Vulnerabilities

Once again, I am sharing a reprint from our A Stitch in Time newsletter. This week’s reprint about protecting your significant other’s tender spots is part four in my summer series on relationships. The series began three weeks ago with a piece on preparing for a relationship by spending time alone with God. Two weeks ago, I shared some tips from my late husband Reginald Sanders on how to spend time alone with God. Then, last week, I followed that with who should take initiative in a relationship and when. I hope you enjoy reading today’s article whether reading for the first time or second!

Do Not Enter Sign saying, "Private Area; Public Not Allowed"

Protecting Our Tender Spots

“We made a pact not to use our tender spots against each other,” shared our instructor in our pre-engagement class. Tender spots are sensitive issues in our lives, like wounds, fears, or other vulnerabilities. Our instructor’s comment resonated in me because a previous boyfriend, Guy (name changed) used my tender spots against me.

As our relationship developed, I revealed some tender spots to my boyfriend. One time, my father was ill. The doctors’ prognosis was fatal. Hearing that my father only had a few months to live scared me. Guy’s initial response was quite compassionate.

However, as my father’s condition worsened, the fear resurfaced. That was when Guy changed. Instead of being caring, Guy lashed out accusing me of having weak faith and a lack of trust in God to save my father. I was devastated. In that moment, I needed understanding, not correction.

Once Guy saw that his comment drew blood, my “weak” faith, became a regular weapon in arguments. Whenever Guy could use it to get the upper hand or just throw me off balance in a disagreement, he did. As a result, I stopped opening up about my tender spots. My trust in Guy waned and our relationship ended. I want a relationship where I can share my feelings without them becoming weapons used against me.

So, the pact that my instructors made during their courtship caught my attention. My instructor went on to explain that tender spots are not weapons that we use against each other. Tender spots are opportunities to protect and support each other.

Liking the sound of that, Reggie and I decided to incorporate this principle into our relationship. We even took it a step further. We agreed to not even discuss each other’s tender spots unless the one with the tender spot brought it up. Then, we would more likely respond with the appropriate protection and support.

This allowed Reggie and I to open up without the fear that our tender spots would be thrown back up in our faces. To reduce misunderstanding, when sharing a tender spot, I identified it as such and Reggie began doing the same.

This pact served us well in creating a safe place for each other. Neither Reggie nor I ever broke that pact saving us a lot of pain. For that reason, the pact that our instructors passed on to us, I pass onto you in hopes that it will serve you well too.

Until Next Time,


Questions: Have you been hurt by someone mistreating your tender spots? How would protecting each other’s tender spots improve your current or future relationship? Please respond by clicking on the Comment, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and/or Pinterest buttons below. Also, if this post blessed you, please sign up to receive them through email. That way, you won’t miss the next one.