I can’t be my true self around my husband. I can’t say whatever I want, do whatever I want, or act however I want.
And that’s a really good thing.
Because my true self is selfish and way too worried about schedules and spreadsheets (I would have made an excellent railroad operator). My true self doesn’t think about the fact that she’s living with another human being who may not want to get dumped on about the day’s littlest details the moment she walks in the door. My true self has sky-high expectations for her husband’s every word, thought, and action without holding herself to that same standard. My true self is careless about feelings, quick to offend, and slow to forgive.
So thank goodness that my husband draws out the best in me and challenges me to be my better self instead of my true self.
“But shouldn’t we be able to be vulnerable and open with our spouses? Shouldn’t our homes be safe places to share our feelings?”
Well, yes. Of course. But whether if you’re bound to someone in a marriage covenant or just split a rent check each month; you are no longer an autonomous being. Our moods and words effect our housemates and spouses. We should strive to build relationships that encourage truth. But those beautiful relationships aren’t just the result of throwing all filters out the front door and saying whatever comes to mind. Sometimes loving your spouse means shutting your mouth.
For me, it means checking my mood when I get home from work. Right before I turn the corner leading towards our studio apartment and right after making a few quick glances into the dark corners of the gardens to make sure our not-so-neighborly skunk isn’t waiting to sabotage me, I think “would I want to greet myself in this mood after a long day’s work?” If the answer is no (and it usually is, because even the best days at work end with a commute in Southern California traffic), then I pause and take a moment to reset my perspective on the day and stop dwelling over the little angsts from the past 8 hours.
My true self still shows up a lot. I say things that are unkind and worse yet, I really mean them. I am grateful that my husband and friends continue to shower me with love that appreciates me for where I am but also can see the better me and continually encourages me to become that person.