Chris and I have been watching Lost on Netflix recently. The other night one of us made a comment about how living on a deserted island has a way of flushing out all your flaws.
Well, if that's the case, then I think marriage is like living on a deserted island
Can I get an Amen??
I'm sure I've said this before, but I feel like marriage is like having someone hold up a mirror to you, revealing all your flaws and imperfections. Some days it feels like one of those fun house mirrors where everything looks distorted and crazy, and some days the lighting is just a little more flattering.
Before we were married, I felt like I was a pretty good girlfriend (and then a good fiance) A catch really. And then my pride was horribly trampled on by the truth of my selfishness. Oooohhh. my selfishness.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to claim that I'm a horrible person, or a horrible wife. Thankfully I have a very encouraging husband who tells me the opposite everyday. What I am saying is that once my focus changed from self serving, to serving my husband and our relationship as well, I realized just how self serving I was in the first place. And to be completely honest? I'm running out of patience with myself.
I can't even count the amount of times that I've been confronted by my own selfishness in the past year. The amount of times that I have thought only of myself when making plans with friends, or have offered up the use of our home without asking Chris if he's ok with it. On a smaller scale, little things like he complains of a sore back and I don't offer to rub it, or he talks about how tired he is, and I don't offer to make dinner. These might be things that sound a little extreme, but they are things he does for me on a constant basis. Why on earth can't I reciprocate?? Even just the thoughts in my head that I quickly try to silence are
getting on my nerves. "Why don't YOU do it?" "Can't you figure that out
on your own? I don't feel like it"
I feel like I am constantly being stretched, challenged and asked to do more. Not by my husband. Oh no, this challenge comes from a much more important place. See, I believe that marriage is one of the biggest ways that God sanctifies us.
*"Christanese" alert!* Sanctification is a big old fancy word that describes how God makes us more holy. This process is never ending as He leads us and calls us to act more Christ-like in everything we do. This brings us closer to Him, and allows us to have a deeper relationship with Him.
So what I am attempting to explore then, is how God is using my husband to reveal my flaws to me- not in an attempt to condemn me, or make me feel guilty, but instead in an attempt to draw me closer to Him. The reason why this is so possible in marriage is because it is a relationship that is unique and unlike any other we will have. Not only am I close to him in proximity (living together) but we are closer emotionally and spiritually than any other relationship I could possibly have. The key in this relationship is vulnerability.
I have let him in to the parts of me closed off to everyone else. He knows me, but more importantly knows why I am me; what has shaped my character, and why my personality is what it is. To know someone so intimately is a gift that is given from pure trust in the other person. It is this vulnerability that causes me to show all that I am to my husband. I don't hold anything back for fear of him not accepting me. I know he does- I am not scared that he will be unsatisfied with what I offer.
Now to pause - this type of relationship, while unique in a person to person sense, is not unique at all when you discover it's roots. This type of relationship- something that we all long for and search for, is something that God offers us freely. I would argue that the reason why we all long for such intimacy is because the Lord created us with that very desire. He asks that we seek Him in this way. Marriage is just a mirror of how this greater relationship already exists.
And so He is able to use the way that we offer ourselves to our spouse as a way to have us offer even more to Him. Each time we fight our selfishness, pride, and many other flaws in an attempt to serve our spouse better, we are rewarded by moving closer to our Holy Father's desire for our lives.
So as much as the growing pains can get on my nerves because I hate having my flaws thrown in my face, I am blessed by the experience. So very blessed that each time I am reminded how unperfect I am, I am also reminded how accepting my husband, and more importantly my Lord and Savior are of me. I am literally brought to my knees by the thought that these moments bring me closer to God than any other because it is this tough work of sanctification that mold me into a better daughter of the King.
This post was the eighth installment of a new series Confessions of a Newlywed. I hope you'll track along with me, as well as some guest posts as we explore the topic of marriage.
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