I was closer in age to Princess Diana than to her son William’s bride, Kate Middleton. Still just like most brides, I had a dream. I don’t know what vision you had, but mine was to be a perfect wife—to be all Richard desired and make him happy that he married me.
But my initial goal turned into obsession. I felt compelled to modify my personality, beliefs, talents and hopes to match his. It looked good, but it felt awful.
Eventually, my unrealistic expectations led to burnout. The outward me could no longer live in disharmony with the inner me. I had to do something or crumble. Yet the thought of changing the way Richard and I related to each other scared me.
“What if you don’t like me or our marriage when I share the real me?”
“I will,” assured my husband.
At first, I didn’t believe him. And truthfully, adjusting our conditioned relational patterns—the way we had learned to interact with one another—felt unfamiliar and awkward to us both. Yet gradually we’ve grown more comfortable sharing our needs, vulnerabilities and desires. We’re discovering how to combine who we are on the inside with what we appear to be on the outside. I think we’re growing into the individual persons God created us to be. We’re also enjoying our imperfect relationship. And I’m grateful.
(And this all reminds me of 1 Peter 5:6-7 in The Message, “So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. Live carefree before God.”)
How about you? In which of your important relationships do you experience difficulty being your imperfectly human self? Consider sharing one uncomfortable reality about yourself to that person. Ask God for courage to be genuine.
* Story adapted from a devotional in my book, It’s a Wonderful (Imperfect) Life.