The other day, my husband and I got into an argument. I won’t bore you with the gory details, but what it boils down to is this: I was being very petulant, short-sighted, and selfish, and some things that I said were very hurtful to my husband.
While we were trying to work the situation out, my husband looked me in the eye and said: “You write on your blog about how it drives you crazy when women have princess complexes, when they’re selfish and they act this way. It drives you crazy, but that is exactly what you’re doing. Right now, you’re no different than they are.”
You are no different than they are.
It was painful to hear those words, I won’t lie to you. My flesh immediately balked, flushed red with anger, and put its dukes up to defend itself. But my heart sank as I realized that he was right.
As much as I wanted to be angry at him, I couldn’t. He didn’t say that to me to make me feel bad, or to get a rise out of me. It was a fair assessment. It was accurate. It was true.
I am part of the problem.
And that truth hurts.
This moment reminds me of a passage from Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir, Eat Pray Love. While I wildly disagree with her worldview and don’t condone a lot of choices that Liz has made in her life, one line stuck with me after reading that book. While talking about true love and soulmates, Liz’s friend Richard drops this bit of unexpected wisdom like an atomic bomb:
This is one of the truest things ever spoken.
As a little girl, as a teenager, and as a young woman, I would often fantasize about meeting my One and how wonderful our marriage would be. Even as I was dating the man who would become my husband, I had these deeply emotional fantasies about how our life together would develop. I imagined our dating relationship on steroids. We would cuddle and stare into one another’s eyes and tell each other how perfect we were. Even still, being a new veteran of matrimony as we close in on an entire year, there are days when that vision of marriage seems nice.
But the truth is, if that is what we want in a partner, we should not be looking for spouses. We should be picking out puppies.
Living with someone, being constantly embroiled in their life and they in yours, does not encourage the good in us to show as we would hope. Oftentimes, it is there in the comfort of everyday routine that our demons emerge and we show ourselves for what we are – sinful people living in a sinful world. When that happens, if your spouse has the love and the courage to do so, they will call you out on it.
They will be your mirror. And you will be theirs. Because that is what we signed up for.
After this argument transpired, after grievances were acknowledged, apologies exchanged, and tears kissed away, I seriously considered deleting this little floating piece of narcissism I like to call my blog. After all, what right do I have to point out the wrong in others when that same wrong dwells within me?
But here’s the thing: being selfish is wrong. It doesn’t matter if the perpetrator is my best friend, or my co-worker, or a person I strongly dislike, or even if it is I – this behavior is wrong, and it needs to be labelled as wrong, publicly and frequently, even though it is something with which I too struggle.
No…no, especially because of that.
So don’t cover the mirrors that are present in your life – don’t you dare. I know that looking at an accurate reflection of yourself is never easy, but it is necessary. Being honest with yourself and with others is vital if we are to rise above our animalistic brutality and become worthy of our status as followers of Christ.