Admitting Flaws Will Transform Your Marriage Part 1

Author:
Sharon May, Ph.D.


Your spouse values and appreciates you. But there are certain things your spouse would like for you to change. Does that come as a surprise?

Yes, you are a great person. You do a lot for your marriage and family. Yet there is one thing you can do that will slow down arguments and greatly improve your marriage.

Admit to your flaws.

What? Admit to my flaws? The thought of admitting to your faults, I am certain, sounds alarms inside of you. So, why is it so difficult for any of us to admit our flaws to our spouse?

It's because we all fear the shame of our flaws being noticed. What if we are seen as a bad person and then rejected? Therefore at all costs we protect ourselves, put a defensive curtain around our faults and hope no one will see them. We protect our hearts from feeling shame with statements such as: "I didn't do that.. that's not me.. I am not like that.. you don't understand me.. you are taking it all wrong.. you do it too and are worse…"

The fear of being known and seen for what we are keeps us guarded and pretending our weaknesses don't exist. Yet as plain as the nose on our face, our strengths, weaknesses and flaws are obvious to those around us. Especially our spouse.

Too often we blame our spouse for the way we are. "If you'd just take more initiative I wouldn't have to tell you what to do (i.e., I do boss you around and I'm trying to justify it)." We tell our spouse we don't have the problem, they do. "Don't tell me I am bossy. You should see how bossy you are with the kids and me!" Or we just flat out deny it as in, "I am not bossy and how dare you say that I am."

Defensiveness triggers pursuit. When you defend yourself faster, louder and with more examples it triggers in your spouse the need to up the ante and work even harder to get you to admit to your flaws. The negative-argument cycle spins around. No one wins and everyone gets hurt.

What changes a struggling marriage quicker than anything else is when a husband and wife turn toward each other and risk admitting their flaws and the impact their flaws have on each other.

During our Safe Haven Marriage Intensives we have seen over and over again the melting of hearts when couples are able to be vulnerable with each other. It is humbling to watch as a husband turns to his wife and admits, "You are right, I don't take charge of the house chores. I avoid conflict and just let you do it. I see how it makes you feel like you are alone. I am so sorry." Or for a wife to realize, "You are right, I do yell at the kids when I am stressed and I put pressure on them to do things perfectly. I see how it makes the whole family walk on eggshells. I am so sorry."

It seems contradictory, but when couples are vulnerable in this way, it actually softens a husband's heart toward his wife and a wife toward her husband. It draws them closer, triggers empathy, understanding and compassion.

It is the power of vulnerability. It slows down arguments and turns a couple toward each other.

Vulnerability is having the courage to be truthful about your flaws. Having compassion for yourself is to know you are still valuable even with your flaws. And maturity is choosing to grow as a person, to strive to be the best version of your self.

This is one thing your spouse would like for you to do: Be courageous enough to admit to your flaws.

I know you want the same from your spouse.

God loves you both so much. He sees your strengths and weaknesses and still loves you. He always has and always will. God loves you too much to leave you the way you are. He invites you to a lifelong journey of becoming the best version of you, of becoming more Christ-like.

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