What you’re missing about the person you’re married to
There’s a ’99 flick, Runaway Bride, where Julia Roberts’ character has a reputation for landing at the altar...and taking off.
(Spoiler alert.) Turns out she’s been a chameleon of sorts. She’s “supportive” to the point of wholly adopting her not-so-future mate’s preferences, hobbies, and lifestyle: She likes her eggs the same way. She dons a (fake) tattoo. She prepares to climb Everest. For awhile, she is all in.
She bewilders one fiance after another, abandoning them minutes from matrimony.
They adored her! Yet none understood how little they’d sought out her soul, or cherished her uniqueness apart from their own interests.
At one point, the movie finds Richard Gere’s character, a reporter getting the scoop on her follies, tinkering at a piano with his ex-wife.
“Is that what happened?” he asks. “Did I just … not see you?”
“No,” she responds quietly. “No, you didn’t.”
It’s easy enough, I think. To not really see this person we’re married to.
Such a generous percentage of us rise in the morning with our thoughts on one person: ourselves.
We’ve got our agenda, to-do lists, stresses, phones, kids, inboxes, calendars.
Our desires settle in like an elephant on a bench, mildly oblivious to whatever or whoever might get a little squashed. After a long day, we’re occupied with shooing the kids into bed, or whatever it takes to finally rest.
It takes unnatural effort to ask where our spouses are at emotionally, seeing what’s valuable to them at the moment: What would the world look like if I walked a mile in your jeans today?
It’s become nearly a cultural epidemic to see-but-not-see, reducing people to the roles they play for us. The teller, the barista, the cashier, the Sunday school teacher … and closer to home, the one who fixes my dinner or helps with the kids or fixes the sink.
We end up reducing the humanity of those in front of us as if they were ATMs. As if their ability to meet our needs was more important than who they are.
How will you see your spouse with new eyes this week?
Click for “4 Clues Your Spouse Isn’t Listening.”
The good stuff: In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church. (Ephesians 5:28-29)
Action points: What are your mate’s hopes, fears, and experiences outside of what you want, and outside of your marriage? How can you see your spouse not just as your husband or wife, or as a dad or a mom—but as a man or a woman?
The full version of this article originally appeared on MarriageRevolution.org and is gratefully reprinted with permission.
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