The personal growth movement is big thing these days. I love personal growth. But then the world tells you that your life is, in the end, about your personal growth. So it goes to follow that my marriage should also help me achieve that personal growth.
And that personal growth is often code for, going where I want to go, getting what I want, and reaching my #goals. You, help me get there. We’re just here to help each other self-actualize. Whatever that means.
Has Joe made me a better person? For sure. Joe would tell you any day he wouldn’t be where he is today without me and I would say the same about his influence in my life. I love that we build each other up.
He brings out the best in me!
I love that Joe has made me a better person. But not because he gives me what I want, or helps me reach my #goals. He’s made me a better person by challenging me. By making me understand another person’s perspective. By having habits and opinions that are so different than mine. By being a general reminder that it’s not all about me.
Because the nature of intimacy is that we also have a way of bringing out the worst in each other. Because Joe gets in the way of my happiness. A lot. Happiness as in what I want and what makes me happy, where I get what I want, when I want it in the way that I want it. Funny how he can ruin that every time.
He brings out the worst in me.
Isn’t that what makes marriage so hard? We do bring out the worst in each other. But I’m beginning to see that’s actually a blessing. In marriage, I can’t hide my worst, I can’t pretend I’m perfect, I can’t keep living a self-centered life. In intimate relationships is where the worst shows up. And God uses that not to make me better, but to make me see how much I need Him.
It is giving up making me the center of my marriage. Marriage is not here to make me more self-actualized and a better person who can become all I’m meant to be.
Marriage is for learning to truly lay down our lives for each other. That’s not the path to happiness, but to joy. We’re not just two separate people chasing our separate lives, but merging our lives into one flesh as we chase after God together.
Loving each other. For better, or for worse.