Marriage Shows You Who You Really Are

by Panda Elder
Marriage Shows You Who You Really Are: lesbian couple talking in bed

There’s nothing like marriage to show you yourself.

Like your tendency to keep little secrets. Nothing huge, but, for example, when you say you’re running to Walgreens but have every intention of popping into Target, too.

And also maybe some not-so little things, like that you feel scared of being hurt. The only thing scarier than the fears you’ve inherited is admitting them, so instead you just act defensively and keep all that private, scary stuff inside the wall you put up for protection.

The wall-building happens so subconsciously that we don’t even realize we’re doing it. It feels like the normal thing to do — push truth down in order to project a certain image. It’s what we think we need to do to get what we want.

But in marriage, those walls we didn’t even realize we built, get bumped into. They get in the way, and eventually we have to make the choice: Do we want intimacy or safety? Do we want to give love freely or continue worrying about the love we get?

Early on, for the sake of my marriage, I knew I’d have to get in touch with myself. After all, how could I be honest with someone else when I’m not even honest with myself? How could I be honest with anyone when I value avoiding the conversations more?

I read somewhere about radical honesty, and that without it, you’ll never feel true intimacy. Radical honesty is simply transparency. It’s moment-to-moment openness. It could even sound like, “I don’t know how I feel right now” or “I’m afraid” or “This is something important to me.”

Marriage has shown me myself. It has required me to become more conscious of myself so I could then practice sharing myself. Although that was daunting, it has also been exhilarating.

When you’re being radically honest, things aren’t always going to go smoothly, but marriage has taught me that storms pass.

I used to avoid conflict. It made me want to run. In the early days, I would. I’d hop right into the car and leave. I just couldn’t take it. But now, when energies get tense and conversations get uncomfortable, I tell myself it’s going to pass and let it unfold with greater patience. (And I only slam doors sometimes…)

But even when tensions are hot, there’s an openness that comes with communicating authentically, and even when it’s hard, honesty is always an invitation inside. It’s an offer for intimacy, and when we’re talking about relationships, there’s no greater gift.

You are the gift you give, not only to another, but to yourself. When you start communicating what’s true in you, the parts that used to get shoved away now feel heard and recognized. You find that not only has your relationship changed, but so have you.

You realize for the first time you truly feel loved, and it’s not because you haven’t ever been seen before, but because you wouldn’t let yourself be seen.

You realize that the walls that come down don’t only let your partner in, but also let your heart open. Only now are you even available for love.

A good marriage will teach you important lessons. Not lessons for the relationship alone, but for the freedom of your heart and evolution of your soul.

What a good marriage requires of you will transform you completely.