when your reflection isn’t the fairest of them all (wedded wednesdays guest post)

{We need to get talking about what marriage really looks like. In that spirit, we chat about it here once a week, on Wedded Wednesdays.} 

Heather Fischer was one of the first women I met at the Influence Conference last year — and she is wonderful! Her heart is gold, she’s so fun and so kind and getting to know her has been a treat. Take it away, Heather!

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Marriage.  It’s a concept I’d spent many years dreaming about. A word I couldn’t wait to label me. A topic I gushed with my girlfriends over. A subject I studied thoroughly.

When I stood at the alter three years ago, I felt extremely confident that I knew what I was getting myself into. How could I not? I knew this man whose eyes I gazed into. I knew the love he had for me and the devotion we shared. We had read all the top selling Christian marriage books and had engaged in more conversations about our vision for marriage than I could even count. We had dated four years and knew one another better than anyone else. What much else was there to learn?

I know, I know. The mind of the young and naïve . . .

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As with all uncharted territory we venture into, there is always more to learn than we anticipate. For me, the biggest lessons have not come in the form of empty toilet paper rolls that remain on the holder, or ice cube trays that get placed back in the freezer still empty, or the nights all the snoring/sleep walking/sleep talking keeps me up.  The largest, hardest lessons, have come from having to acknowledge who I really am; from having to see the depth of my sin and look my selfishness square in the eye; from no longer being able to hide and convince myself that what lies inside is only pretty.

There’s a quote Gary Thomas uses in his book Sacred Marriage from Gary and Betsy Ricucci and it goes like this:

“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!’”

This quote has never left me. It’s about the best analogy of marriage I think there could be.  You see, life spent under the same roof with someone who knows you so well, means they get to see all of you:  the good and the bad. When we live alone, we can choose to ignore our issues and come up with a million reasons why our thoughts or actions are justified.  It’s our world, our rules. But in marriage there is always someone there to call our bluff; keep us accountable; hold up that full-length mirror.

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When I look in that mirror, I don’t always like what I see. I often see a lot of selfishness, more than I ever thought I had, and it shakes up my tidy, pretty world.  There are many days I’d rather think only of myself and pretend that my actions have no consequence on anyone else. But the truth is that marriage, much like the Christian faith, is about dying to yourself. It’s about sacrificing and putting another first, just as Christ did for us.  As difficult as that can be, I know that it is a part of God’s perfect design to grow us, mature us, and teach us how to love others a lot more, and how to love ourselves a lot less.

So how much is there left for me to learn? A whole lot. A whole, whole lot. The reality of marriage is that it’s not always easy and not always glamorous. But the beauty of it is that if we allow it, marriage will bring to the surface the darkest sin in our hearts so that we can take it to the cross, lay it at the feet of Jesus, and be rebuilt in His image. And that, my friends, will be a reflection to be proud of.

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Heather is a survivor of a chronic sleep walking husband and an often inappropriate sense of humor. When not at work, she can frequently be found cooking in her kitchen, dancing at a salsa club, and daydreaming at all the wrong times. She blogs about this and more at madetolive.org.

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