mirror of marriage

If I had to compare marriage to any inanimate object in the world: without a second thought, it would be a mirror.

A mirror’s purpose is to reflect back to you a clear image of that which stands in front of it. It’s quite wondrous how with absolutely no audible words, it can deliver the deepest of conviction and joy. A mirror tells no lie and neither does a loving spouse.

If there’s one aspect of marriage that I’ve wrestled with the most, as we’re still undergoing the “first year adjustments,” it’s what the mirror of marriage reflects back to me.

Let me expound a little bit with an example, a true story might I add. I would give you an elaborate version of the story but the truth is I don’t remember much before it. My wife and I had gotten into an argument about something that is foreign to my memory at this point, which indicates its lack of importance.

Now let me point out that my wife and I have polar opposite ways of fighting and communicating. I can sum up my point in a few words, she needs about 30 minutes to get started and that’s just a warm up. As far as arguing, she is usually pretty excellent at being intentional about peace making and forgiving. I, on the other hand, struggle in times of conflict. All I’ve ever known by observation is to fight harshly, shut down, or leave. Obviously none of those responses are beneficial to any relationship, so I have had to really stop and examine the nature of my responses in times like these.

In this specific instance, I can vaguely recall doing all 3. Later that day, when I arrived home from work, I came home to a meal cooked and ready for me. I remember feeling like someone had just gut punched me in the stomach. I had never felt such a potent conviction. I couldn’t seem to wrap my head around the fact that my wife, who (in my thinking at the time) had every reason to withdraw herself from me and/or lash back out at me, would render such a graceful act for someone who didn’t deserve it.

While there have been other various scenarios where I’ve encountered this feeling, this one has always rang the loudest to me. I remember being mind boggled over how someone could love me so unconditionally that instead of abandoning my needs in times of great frustration, she would actually go out of her way to meet them regardless of what had happened. It is times such as these that I believe we are put in front of that mirror of marriage.

That day I saw some things I didn’t want to see.

Selfishness, abandonment, pride, and anger. These are all things that I felt totally content keeping silent about and did successfully for years before marriage. However, I’m starting to see this marital mechanism, not only beneficial and rewarding to my life, but essential. Just as we need mirrors to make sure that everything is in good and functional condition, we also need the mirror of marriage that speaks into the depths of who we are as people, without words.

I’m coming to accept that as painful as it can be at times, that’s the nature of marriage.

It is a daily mental, spiritual, emotional, and relational detoxifier, uprooting all of our intricate entanglements and providing what should be a safe place to undo them. Just as I’m challenging myself, I challenge each one of you to thank your spouse or significant other for the change that they’ve required of you and the growth that has come of it.

mirror of marriage