Tonight I was doing the normal kitchen clean-up. It was one of those nights when wiping off one peanut butter smudge on the cabinet snow-balled into wiping down every cabinet in the kitchen.
As I was scrubbing the final one, I was thinking how funny it was that even though I do a pretty thorough cleaning of the kitchen on a nightly basis, the cabinet doors were pretty dirty. Somehow I had not noticed how dirty until I saw that peanut butter today and decided to take a closer look.
I've often thought of myself in the same way. I look great from a distance but when you get up close you tend to see the grays popping out here and there, the massive veins protruding from the backs of my legs, and the lines beginning to engrain themselves around my eyes.
Marriage I've learned is similar. I've told many a young girl that dating and being engaged is like seeing yourself fully dressed in a one-way mirror in the best lighting. You almost always look good. When you get married though, it's a lot more like standing in the buff in front of a three-way mirror in some very unflattering lighting for the first time. Suddenly, you're totally exposed and the view is not always attractive.
My logic is that people who get married are meant to balance each other out. In our marriage, Nelson is strong in many of the areas I am not. This, indeed, is a blessing. It can also be kind of like a slap in the face that teaches me how weak I am and how much I have left to learn. It forces me to see the real me instead of the me I hope everyone else is seeing.
This is not something Nelson does to me. On the contrary it is his goodness that makes me feel the way I do. His strength magnifies my weakness, but it also calls me on. This is part of what makes the early stages of marriage so challenging. When you're forced to see the real you, it's not so easy.
The good part of all this is that when you finally get close enough to see the dirt that's been hiding, you can actually clean it off. It takes a little elbow grease sometimes, but it can be done and what you end up with is cabinets that not only look clean, but actually are clean.
And that, my friends is a result worth working for.