by Kim Bailey
During the rush to get myself, my husband and my kids out of the door and to church on time, I took a last quick glance in the mirror. Yikes! I noticed I had a big smudge of mascara on my face. Not at all what I thought I was going to see. But regardless of how I felt about this unsightly smudge, it was there and I needed to do something about it. I stopped and wiped. Voila! The mirror showed me a much improved reflection. Without it who knows how long I would have walked around with that ugly smudge on my face?!
We all need mirrors. They always show us, good or bad, our true reflection.
After eight years of marriage, I have found that husband and wife act like a mirror for one another. Think about it. As spouses we know each other intimately. We know each other’s strengths, funny quirks and endearing qualities better than anyone else. We also know, better than anyone else, each other’s weaknesses, shortcomings and annoying habits.
This deep intimate knowledge is what gives us the ability to hold up a mirror for our spouse and show them things they cannot always see on their own. It’s a power that can bring either harm or hope depending on how we wield our words.
Mirror of Harm
Tragically, this knowledge we have of one another often comes out in a way that harms the relationship. To be sure, handling our mirror is no easy task. Left to our own devices we inevitably cause harm. When we speak selfishly or carlessly we create unhealthy distance between our spouse and begin sowing the seeds of deep-rooted bitterness.
Mirror of Hope
When we speak the truth in love, we’re wielding our mirror as God intended it. Don’t forget, we’re called to help shape one another more and more into His likeness. As we lean on Jesus, He gives us the grace and wisdom to use our mirror in this way. By shining God’s light on the ugliness we help offer hope.
Two Way Street
We all need to see the truth about the ugly in order to work to make it beautiful. We also need to be receptive to the mirror that our spouse will hold up before us. Humility and gratitude should be our response even when it’s hard to hear. Defending or running away from our own ugly reflections never does any one any good.
We all have a choice. How are we going to handle these powerful mirrors in our marriages? Will we wield them as instruments of hope or harm? And how will we respond? Will we receive what they reveal with graciosuness or resentment?
I pray that our answers to those questions would bring a smile to the face of our heavenly Father. I pray that we would choose hope and grace, two things that He’s demonstrated to us so very well.
Tips for speaking the truth in love:
- Pray about it first! Always breathe and pray about the issue before discussing it. Make sure your heart is in the right place. Allow the Lord to guide you.
- Begin the discussion at a time of day where you aren’t distracted or exhausted. If you have small children, you may want to get a sitter and go out to dinner somewhere. Set an atmosphere for success.
- Begin the conversation with a postitve tone.
- Remember, you’re a team. Strive for unity. State your own weaknesses and ask for ways to improve.
Tips for receiving the truth with humility and gratitude:
- Listen. Really listen. Don’t interrupt or shut them down.
- If you find yourself becoming upset, do not respond in anger. Simply say, “Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I am going to reflect on it and pray about it.”
- Take what your spouse tells you to the Lord, ask Him to open the eyes of your heart.
- Follow up with your spouse on what they shared with you, and thank them for caring enough about you to bring it up.
Meet Kim Bailey
I want you all to meet my great friend, Kim Bailey. Do not let Kim's sweet and gentle nature fool you. She is as bold as a lion when she talks about the Lord. Kim is a learner, a natural teacher, a peacemaker, loyal, and may have the best hair. Kim treasures her marriage and is passionate about family. She is married to Josh, they have two precious girls, and live North of Dallas. I asked Kim to write about marriage and I am blown away with her post. Thank you, Kim, for sharing your insight with us. - Jamie