My {Way Too Revealing} Car Mirror: What Makes Marriage Hard

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There is something about the mirror in my car. I’m guessing it’s the lighting, but holy smokes is it a truth teller. My bathroom lighting, not so much. I do all the plucking and covering up there, and then I hop in my car and suddenly a stray unibrow hair is staring me down. A wrinkle I didn’t realize was so deep, a spot I thought I’d covered. Dang that rear view mirror, with all its unfiltered sunlight. It’s a harsh reflection. Some days I’ll grab my tweezers or a touch of moisture, but most of the time, quite frankly, I shut that thing and move on with my life. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

But then I look closely into my husband’s eyes and something I’m not a fan of is revealed…me. Me, in all my raw, unedited glory. The real me. Not the person I portray. Not the person I want people to see. Not the person I wish I was. The person I actually am; all the stray hairs, wrinkles, and spots revealed. The hardest thing about intimate relationships, whether it be a spouse, a child, a close friend isn’t them, it’s me. Something about the closeness, the letting someone in. It reveals the truth about me.

I get cavities, like all the time. It’s embarrassing. To say the least. I have a lot of excuses, namely that I was doomed with bad teeth. But my husband knows the truth. He knows I never floss, I don’t brush long enough, and I have  serious sweet tooth. I can pull the wool over everyone else’s eyes, but not his. I know he knows. He knows I know he knows. I can’t keep lying to myself. Or I can, and I can destroy our relationship. (Ok obviously my teeth aren’t going to take us down, but you get the idea.) Unless I come face to face with my fault, I can’t do a thing to fix it.  Intimacy reveals our faults, like a giant mirror, showing us exactly what we really look like, who we really are.

I have two choices. I can shut the mirror and move on, hoping no one sees, continuing my damaging behavior. Or I can take the time to get my tweezers and go through the pain of plucking out that bad boy between my brows. When I’m tired and my kids need me anyway, my selfishness and impatience are reflected in them at that moment. When my husband doesn’t do things according to my plan and my rigid, prideful, “I know better” attitude is reflected in him. When a friend’s success reveals my failure, jealousy, and judgment in my heart are reflected in them. I can blame them, or I can get my tweezers and get to work on myself.

I’m convinced that the hardest part of relationships is what they reveal in me. Even when the other persons actions are wrong, my response is revealing.  That doesn’t mean I can control what someone else does. It doesn’t mean boundaries don’t need to be set and lines don’t need to be drawn sometimes. Either way, facing myself in a mirror so revealing stings. I’m choosing to look closely anyway, and to do the hard work. That doesn’t mean the other person will. But when I look closely at my reflection and see me for who I am, suddenly the other person doesn’t look so bad, and suddenly I am extremely  grateful for grace. The grace my people have for me and the grace God has for me.  Without it, my reflection might be more than I could bear.

Look in the mirror of those around you. Don’t run. Do the work. Embrace the grace. It’s so much wider, deeper, and longer than you’ll ever get to know if you don’t look hard into that mirror. Seeing your reflection clear, all those wrinkles, all those faults; knowing you are still fully and completely loved, that will give you the courage to keep looking in that mirror, and to deal with what you find there. It may be painful for a time but living in that light is where you’ll find life. Joy, peace, and life.

 

 

{Important Note About Abuse: It’s possible that what is being revealed about you in your relationship is that you aren’t good at setting boundaries. Abuse is never ok to tolerate, not just physical, verbal or emotional abuse too. If you feel confused about what that means, unsure as to whether or not that’s you, get support. Talk to a professional who can help you sort out what abuse looks like and the right way to set those boundaries. Don’t keep trying to figure it out on your own! There is life for you too.}

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