I always thought I was a nice person. Kind. Thoughtful. Great at planning and organizing. I would have definitely described myself as a good Christian girl. I didn’t think of myself as selfish. Not at all.
Until I got married.
In almost 20 months of marriage, I’ve learned a lot about my husband — as I imagined I would. But I never realized how much I would learn about myself.
One of the best wedding gifts God gave you was a full-length mirror called your spouse. Had there been a card attached, it would have said, “Here’s to helping you discover what you’re really like!” – Gary and Betsy Ricucci
We had a simple yet elegant June wedding, and I’ve never felt more beautiful than that day I said, “I do.” But in the months that followed, I saw myself for who I really am. I found myself being selfish and self-righteous. Sometimes, I’m needy in the most annoying way, and often I react in ways I usually end up apologizing for. I’m more impatient than I ever knew. More often than I’d like to admit, I am just down right ugly at times.
And that’s exactly what marriage does. It lets you get so close and so intimate with another person, that you begin to truly see yourself. Even the ugly parts. You realize just how many pet peeves you have or how much of a control freak you are. You see yourself reacting to things, immediately regretting the words coming out of your mouth.
Sometimes, your marriage can show you just how ugly you really are.
What marriage has done for me is hold up a mirror to my sin. It forces me to face myself honestly and consider my character flaws, selfishness, and anti-Christian attitudes, encouraging me to be sanctified and cleansed and to grow in godliness. – Gary Thomas in “Scared Marriage”
The first years of marriage will teach us more about our partner, but they will also teach us much about ourselves. And sometimes, we won’t want to face those things we see in the mirror.
But marriage forces you to become a better person. If you want your marriage to last, if you want to grow together as a couple, and have a healthy relationship, then you are forced to work on these things you learn about yourself. Marriage forces you to see yourself for who you really are and to deal with issues you could otherwise keep hidden deep down in your heart.
If there is one thing young engaged couples need to hear, it’s that a good marriage is not something you find, it’s something you work for. It takes struggle. You must crucify your selfishness. You must at times confront, and at other times confess. The practice of forgiveness is essential. – Gary Thomas in “Sacred Marriage”
At some point in your marriage, usually within the first year or two, the real work begins. The struggles start. You look in the mirror and see the ugly.
You have to start confronting and confessing, apologizing and forgiving. You have to be intentional about serving and speaking life. You have to recognize the ways you tear your spouse down — intentionally or not — and you have to work on building each other up instead.
If you want to be free to serve Jesus, there’s no question– stay single. Marriage takes a lot of time. But if you want to become more like Jesus, I can’t imagine any better thing to do than to get married. Being married forces you to face some character issues you’d never have to face otherwise. – Gary Thomas in “Sacred Marriage”
Each day of your marriage is a day where you can face your character issues — look ugly right in the face — and choose to be more like Jesus. As you begin to work on these matters — facing the struggles head on and overcoming them together as one marriage unit — the ugly in the mirror will begin to fade.
For the more you become like Jesus, the more beautiful and radiant you become.
There’s an affiliate link just ahead. This post was inspired by the words I read in the book “Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy.” I encourage you to read it!