It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt?– Matthew 7:3-4 MSG
I keep seeing all of these marriage lists, blogs, and challenges designed to make your marriage better. They’re weird and I don’t know why they’re so popular. They make your relationship seem forced. I saw one yesterday that said to “look at your husband admiringly, and make sure he sees you.”
That makes me die a little inside. Do people actually think, “Oh! I need to look at my husband admiringly today”? What does “admiringly” even look like? More importantly, why doesn’t it come naturally?
I read things like this and wonder how bleak a marriage has to be that a checklist of “being nice to your spouse” is actually a helpful thing. I don’t doubt that marriages can get off track and fall into a rut. It’s heartbreaking to go through those phases when you know you’re misunderstanding one another and don’t know what went wrong.
My biggest issue with these weird checklists is that they don’t address the underlying issue. They actually cement the issue into a tomb and cover the stench of death with “good deeds” and “admiring looks”. That’s not an attitude adjustment, it’s a way to fake an attitude adjustment.
The underlying issue, the smell of death that you’re trying to cover up, is that it’s easy to see what is wrong with your spouse, and everyone else, and be blind to what is wrong with you.
It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. – Matthew 7:5 MSG
People treat their lives like a continuous social media feed. You’re more concerned with looking like you’re having fun in a photo than just having fun. You don’t have to change a cynical attitude and lack of respect if you can fake admiration and bite your tongue for a day. People actually think that they have appearances to keep up. As though their constant performance isn’t an indication that they are always in costume and never just themselves. People can see through it, you know.
Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. – Matthew 7:12 MSG
I’m pretty sure you don’t want someone to tell you that they appreciate you, and then go check it off their list.
I don’t want to rip it up too much because I want to give you a nudge more than I want to push you down and take your camera away. Stop playing a role. Stop treating your husband like an annoying pet that you’re obligated to feed. People who fake it are running from their own faults, so why don’t you work on that? In the meantime, shave your legs every day. Wear a matching bra and underwear. Don’t be a condescending dictator. Make yourself vulnerable. You can’t post pictures of that stuff.