As a kid who always felt inferior to the other kids, I spent a lot of time watching. I wanted to see how the cool kids behaved, what they talked about, and how they dressed. Over time, I learned that I wasn’t really that different from them. So, I wondered, what made them cool and me teased, ridiculed, and rejected?
It wasn’t until I was in my mid-20s that I began to better understand the differences. It was at that stage in my life when I realized the importance of something my parents had always told me:
Some people have scars on the inside, and some on the outside; either way, we’re all scarred.”
That was the final key for me to realize I didn’t need to feel inferior. However, that was mostly an intellectual decision – I continue to process the spiritual and personal aspects of this attitude.
I’ve also heard this expressed another way:
Don’t judge your inner life by another person’s externals.”
It’s so easy to look at a very beautiful person and compare ourselves. We see their flawless skin, $300 hairstyle, hard-rock abs, and perfect physique and yet when we look at ourselves, we see a whiny little child inside – full of self-loathing and pity. The fact of the matter is, the other person may have similar self-doubts and insecurities, and we may actually possess an external beauty that we’ve previously not noticed.
When it comes right down to it, we are all quite similar – more similar that we usually realize. The same is true of our relationships, friendships, and marriages.
It can be easy to spend a little time with another couple and to begin to envy their relationship. It seems as if they are always laughing, never bickering, and just as much in love as when they first met. But we fail to realize sometimes, is that it isn’t always that easy, and we really have no idea what goes on behind closed doors. For all we know, this other couple are just great actors – or their relationship has never crossed the threshold of intense intimacy because of their fear of conflict.
Don’t let the culture around you determine the worth of your marriage.” (page 53)
We all, personally and relationally, start at a different place. Our family history, genetics, culture, and personal issues all bring us to a different place. The same is true of our spouse. Together, a unique and beautiful relationship is created that will enable us to grow and expand the love we possess.
They key is to cherish our spouse, as much as we cherish ourselves.