Exposed: seeing yourself for what you really are...

Some people go to college expecting to "find themselves". Others may take time abroad, take up a new hobby, or travel cross country seeking to find their worldview, what makes them tick, and who they really are. Motherhood has a nice way of exposing the shortcomings we all have. And look no further than that first week or so your baby is home and reality is here and here to stay. But while motherhood is a great teacher for any woman, there is another human connection that takes us even deeper and exposes even more about yourself than you ever cared to know: marriage.

In most relationships, it's pretty easy to "fake it". You smile when you'd rather not, you are nice because you "have to be", and we tend to conform and mold to whoever we are around at the time....even to the point of sometimes taking on that persons accent or tone in conversation.  You're agreeable for the sake of avoiding conflict and you may do countless things for others that you'd really rather not but feel obligated nonetheless. These facades rarely ever occur in any marriage. It's true that the person we are to love most in this life, we often treat the worst...welcoming them into our internal house of horrors.

Never had I imagined that I would learn more about myself those first few years of marriage than I really ever cared to know. I learned that I'm extremely selfish, I love to be right, I like to play the victim, I am slimy and conniving at times....I tend to think of myself wayyyy more than I think of anyone else. I also learned that while I can be "sweet Alicia" in front of everyone else, my husband has seen the worst of me: a side I would be utterly embarrassed and ashamed to show any of you. And yet, I promised my life to this man. I promised to respect him, honor him, and above all love him at ALL times. Not just when I don't have an agenda. Not AFTER I've had my coffee in the morning (good grief do I ever need it these days), not just when the kids are behaving or if we are doing okay financially. I am to love him even if he isn't loveable, even when I don't feel loved, or if Im just purely drained from being a full time homemaker. There's no good excuse not to love the other part of me.

I hope those of you that are married really look at how marriage has exposed you....take everything thats pure trash and leave it where it belongs: in the dump. Make a conscious choice each and everyday to put your husbands needs above your own, to love him thru that tough day at work he's having, to NOT burden him with the grumblings of your day (while he's at work especially)...pray for him, make your home a safe haven for him to come home to, meet him at the door with a smile and a kiss. THANK HIM for all of his hard work. And then relish in the love that he will shower over you. Be the kind of woman that he wants to brag about to his friends, co-workers, and family members. Love him before you love your children....with a fierceness that even your children will see the value that your relationship has. The kids will leave someday and then it will be you and your man. You don't want to repair broken pieces then...nurture and prioritize your relationship now.

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I'm thankful for a husband that adores me despite seeing the core of all my filthiness. I'm especially thankful for a God who saw all of our filth and vileness and came to be murdered so that we wouldn't have to ever [eternally] die. What love and grace He has shown us. How much more should we show that very love to the ones we are bound for life to? God hold me accountable. Hold us all accountable. And thank you, God, for the GIFT of my husband. May I always honor and respect this intertwined life we share. And continue to expose me where I need exposing so I can be the best me for him. Remember: you said "I Do", not "I will". <3

-Alicia