One of the things we were told in our pre-marriage counseling was that a challenge of marriage is that through the eyes and experience of our spouse we will see reflections of our own character that we would be trying hard to keep hidden.
A couple of nights ago, Jeremy and I went out for coffee. We had wanted to just get out of the house and spend some quality time together. However after only a few sentences, we had slipped into a pretty big argument. A mixture of my own frustrations and insecurities, as well as our joint tiredness made it a really honest, and from my mouth ugly, conversation.
As we left the coffee shop and walked to the car we tried to figure out what had just happened. It led to some pretty strong accusations flying in my direction. Those are hard to hear and in times of heightened emotion they are even harder to process.
My poor little heart hasn't been that sad in a long time. Not because of what I had been accused of, but because it was true. I have some ugly places inside me and Jeremy had not only seen some of them, but spoken them. Out loud. Yikes.
Now I was left stuck in a really uncomfortable spot. Part of me defensive and wanting to throw back reasons and justification. Another part broken and exposed and a final part of me sad and scared about the way we had just spoken to each other. (Two sides to every story of course, some unfair things were thrown in my directions too.)
That was a fun car ride home. Not.
In the safety of our home, I began to peel apart the huge jumble of emotion and narrow down all the words I was churning over and figure out what I was really upset about. Now, there are layers to this onion of course, but I think the biggest reason was that there was a yucky part of my character which had been uncovered. Something I couldn't justify away. My words hurt him, and that is painful to me too.
After some space we reconnected, confessed, sought and received forgiveness. Peace reigned again in our hearts.
This is all a part of the journey of marriage, and more so the journey of life. We develop intimacy with others and have to live with both the joy that brings but we also open ourselves up to the potential of great hurt. There is truth to the verse in the Bible about iron sharpening iron, in my closest relationships, my real self is exposed. When it's out in the light there is possibility for transformation.
I want to be transformed. I want to walk more closely with the Lord, to know him and be like him. I need to be walking closely with others to put this into practise and to let them sharpen me too - as I in turn sharpen them.
Day by day, I fall more in love with my husband. The good experiences are wonderful but even the hard ones, the arguments and disagreements give up opportunity to grow deeper in intimacy. We have the possibility to truly be known and loved. Fully. We must choose to admit when we fail, to seek forgiveness and to be forgiven.
Last night as we sat at a Scottish pub celebrating St. Patrick's day (?) surrounded with old friends and new, I began to think about ways these people had influenced my life, and vice versa. I feel so blessed and see this is truly God's design in motion. Long may it continue - I have a lot that needs to be sharpened!!