I remember those first couple years of marriage and how challenging it was to have someone so close to me giving me feedback or criticism on a daily basis. Up until that point of my life there hadn’t been anyone that knew me like my wife did/does or had the opportunity to voice their opinion of me so frequently. It was during those first years that I coined the phrase, “The Marital Mirror.” My wife had a very unique and, often times, accurate point view of who I was and I didn’t really like what it revealed.
It is easy for us to get mad at the person that is giving us the feedback or criticism, but it might be hurtful to both of us if we ignore it. It would be foolish of me if I got mad at my bathroom mirror every time it revealed something I didn’t like about myself.
Imagine the scene: You’re in the bathroom looking into your mirror as you brush your teeth and you see something you don’t like. Maybe it’s your hair or your nose or your skin. How funny would it be if you got mad at the mirror. You told the mirror it was wrong or a jerk.
We don’t interact with mirrors like that. There are those funky mirrors at carnivals that distort reality. And coincidentally, sometimes we are more like a carnival mirror than an accurate mirror when we give our spouses feedback. The information is distorted because it is how we perceive them. However, over the long haul most mirrors reflect the truth. Most of us don’t like to receive negative information about ourselves, but blaming the messenger, or the mirror in this case, is not productive or fair.
Take what your spouse has to tell you seriously. Most likely you know there is some truth in it. Don’t miss the opportunity to grow as an individual and as a couple by listening and addressing what your spouse sees in you. The hope is that, over time, the mirror reveals more flattering things about you as you mature and grow.