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The Ugly Truth about Marriage

The Ugly Truth about Marriage

Self-centeredness and bitterness sometimes take center stage in marriage; here's how to enrich your marriage biblically
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One of the best and most important parts of marriages can often feel like the very worst. In marriage, all our "ugly" comes out. Self-centeredness. Bitterness. Unkind words. Uncharitable attitudes. Manipulation. Anger. This list could go on and on.

Marriage, by design, is a relationship of such intimacy that our sin nature inevitably reveals itself, both to our spouses and to ourselves. "What marriage has done for me is hold up a mirror to my sin," writes Gary Thomas in Sacred Marriage. "It forces me to face myself honestly and consider my character flaws, selfishness, and anti-Christian attitudes, encouraging me to be sanctified and cleansed and to grow in godliness."

Those unhappy moments when we're forced to face our own self-centeredness and sin can actually be a gift to us as God invites us to grow and change. Thomas goes on to suggest: "View marriage as an entryway into sanctification—as a relationship that will reveal your sinful behaviors and attitudes and give you the opportunity to address them before the Lord … [Marriage is] a piercing spiritual mirror, designed for our sanctification and growth in holiness."

Look in a mirror and think about how your marriage has been a "piercing spiritual mirror" in your life during the past few days or weeks. What has your marriage revealed to you about yourself? about areas in which you need to grow in character and Christlikeness? about flaws, failings, and sins in your life that perhaps only your husband know and see?

Name what you see aloud, asking God to help you grow. Thank God for the gift of even the difficult parts of marriage.

Room for Growth: Biblically Examine Your Marriage

Part of God's wonderful gift of marriage is the daily, minute-by-minute opportunity it gives us to live out Christian character.

Copy the full text of each of these passages in your journal: Colossians 3:12-14; Ephesians 4:31-32; and 1 Peter 3:8-9.

With different colored pens or highlighters, mark the words and phrases in each passage as they relate to your marriage. (If needed, use colors other than those noted below.)

  • Which commands or character traits are the most difficult for you to live out on a daily basis in your marriage? (Underline in red.)
  • Which commands or character traits come more naturally to you in your demeanor toward your husband? (Underline in blue.)
  • Which of these commands do you find yourself living out with others, yet neglecting in the way you treat your husband? (Box in black.)

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Kelli B. Trujillo

Kelli B. Trujillo is a TCW regular contributor and the author of several books and Bible studies. Join her to dialogue about spiritual growth and family life at www.KelliTrujillo.com or on Twitter @kbtrujillo.

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H. D. Schmidt

January 13, 2013  8:33pm

A very excellent article, to be read by all! Yet, the sad thing is that most pulpits do little to save the traditional Biblical home! Our Christians Institutions of learning likewise! Just take a good look at how ladies, especially young ladies appear in Church almost half naked! This Biblical Education must even start in Kindergarten where young boys become Christian Gentlemen and girls ladies that really respect such and the younger the better!

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Debra Wood

January 09, 2013  11:55pm

Thank you for your articles and especially for this timely one on marriage. If only more churches would offer continuous support of the family as God designed it, and preach more on honoring God in our marriages.

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Sheila Arroyo

January 09, 2013  5:33pm

This came right on Time for me. I was Just getting into looking At myself closer in how I interact with my Husband. Seeing what my faults are really and where I we't wrong. As well as how To make our marraige better by being better. More like Christ.

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