Sunday, January 23, 2011

When somebody loves you, it's no good unless they love you all the way...

A few nights ago, we shared a tasty dinner with friends. We talked about a few different topics, like marriage, and how some folks rush into it without considering the amount of dedication required to make it work. Though I know marriage isn't for everyone, I can honestly say that I'm learning more about myself as an individual now that I'm married than before, when I was single. I think I am one of those people who was meant to get married. That definitely doesn't mean that marriage life comes naturally; like in many other areas of life, I usually am my own worst enemy.

I am very insecure. We all have our personal insecurities, and though I certainly have my bad hair days, or days when I wish my teeth were straighter or my face was blemish free, I am more insecure about feeling accepted as a person. I think, sometimes, that it's more difficult to get along with someone who is insecure about their personality, or inner self, than their outer appearance. Though I'm not a plastic surgery advocate in the least bit, sometimes I feel like I could really use an attitude lift. And by lift, I mean it. A lift in how I view myself--an ability to see myself the way God sees me, so that constructive criticism can be just that, constructive.

The irony of it all is that I am very critical of myself, and I highly doubt (when I'm in my right mind) that anyone else is as critical of me. Kind of like when we look in the mirror, see a tiny zit, and suddenly feel like it's taking over, pushing our eyes and nose aside, growing larger by the second like the mutant that it is[n't]. We are completely convinced that everyone can see it. Of course, we only feel that way because paranoia has driven us to look in every mirror (or reflection on any window!) so many times that we've memorized exactly where the spot rests on our face.

Believe me, I have been there and done it! The details say it all. It's a fact, we are all flawed, physically and emotionally. I wouldn't even say that I magnify my character flaws that much, but rather, I magnify the extent to which those flaws are a part of who I am. So as a result, who I am is someone who isn't worth loving--because the flaws are so terrible. And of course, when I receive any kind of criticism, it strikes the most insecure aspect of my character. I decided, "That's it, this person doesn't love me because I'm unlovable. Obviously, if they have to criticize me it's because I'm not good enough." The criticism, though constructive, becomes the sad excuse I use to distance myself. It was once a survival mechanism, but now it's a stumbling block. I become distant and angry, and just no fun.

Feeling good enough is something I've struggled with since I was a kid. I'm embarrassed to admit it, but that character flaw expresses itself in very childish ways sometimes (or I should say, I express myself in very childish ways). Why can't I get it through my head that I'm 26 and not 2! Yes, I know I'm small(as far as my stature goes!) but I can be bigger than that.

When someone who I don't know very well offers a bit of constructive criticism, it isn't such a big deal. I get irked, but I blow it off because I feel like I haven't lost anything. But when, say, my spouse suggests that I may need a reality check because I'm being ridiculous--then I feel it like a paper cut that's been soaked in lime juice and dipped in salt water.

I'm going to be honest. I value sincere relationships. I really don't like being fake or making it seem like I have a perfect life, or a perfect anything. But on that same note, there are only a few people I am very close to. Mostly, because of this insecurity I have. Jose and I were very open and sincere with each other when we were dating, and we still are. I love how that kind of sincerity led to our marriage. But with sincerity comes the honest truth, and the tearing off of the bandaids. Open wounds and honest truth--now that's like chili on a gaping wound, not a paper cut.

I'll say it again. I was meant to get married. I enjoy the emotional intimacy, and I know that I wouldn't have this kind of opportunity to grow in any other relationship, with anyone else. It's often said that some folks get married with the false belief they'll find completion in their spouse. I didn't give into that way of thinking; I felt complete before getting married. However, what I didn't quite grasp before marriage was that I'd only come to know myself completely with the help of this certain help mate, the one I was meant to marry.

This certain someone (Jose :) would do that by simply (or not so simply) living out his vows, and going the extra mile. Just because we love our spouse "for better or for worse" doesn't mean that we have to stop there. When they are at their worst, the sincerity of our godly love and unconditional companionship should encourage them to go from worse, to better, to best.

I know I'm with the one because I'm learning what it means to be at my best, with him and because of him.


The Librarian said...

Love, love, love this post. It gives food for thought for those who are single and have been thinking, "Am I meant to marry?"

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