There’s nothing like living with someone that can truly expose who you really are, to yourself and to others. I got a glimmer of that truth in college with my Freshman year roommate, who probably began to wonder if I ever left my desk while I questioned her sanity after she bought a bright pink futon and shaggy purple rug. I realized I may be spending too much time studying in my room and we both came to accept our drastically different decor tastes. When Tim and I got married eighteen months ago, I got a fresh reminder that living with someone makes it hard to hide your quirks.
Just a few months after the honeymoon I was sure Tim began to wonder what he’d gotten himself into. Sure, he knew my family and I had our own dialect of sorts (that included phrases like “chilly biscuits”, “Egyptian awful-awful”, and “doo-doo bag”), but I was positive he hadn’t realized I like my Christmas trees so crammed with lights he would have to make three trips to Lowe’s or that I can’t leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight and I would have to delete some iPhone games because I get too competitive. Sometimes, I would offer up an apologetic, “I’m weird”, to excuse my behavior, but most of the time I would just hope Tim could live with my quirks.
When Tim would counter my “I’m weird” apology with some oddity of his own, I began to realize I didn’t view his quirks as quirks at all. The little things he thought were weird about himself were some of the things I found most endearing about his personality. I loved his propensity to make up new words to songs, to fold his shirts a different way, to clean with paper towels instead of a sponge. I only hoped he felt the same way about my quirks (he does!).
Embracing each other’s quirks is part of the wonderful commitment we make in a marriage relationship – to love, to cherish, to trust. A healthy marriage is a place of freedom, freedom to be who you are, to be weird. A healthy marriage is also a place for growth. No amount of dating can prepare you for the fullness of who your spouse is inside and out. You should have a good idea of the non-negotiables, but people evolve and change. A healthy marriage is a place for grace. That odd habit might not have been there when you were dating. That’s okay. Extend grace and receive it with joy.
There’s freedom, growth, and grace to be found and shared when we are weird, when we can embrace who we really are and offer it to someone else.
If your marriage isn’t at a place where freedom, growth, and grace is found quite yet, know that you can find those things in a relationship with a perfect Groom. God offers us perfect love, no matter how quirky we are. There’s ultimate freedom in embracing who God made you to be and letting Him be your model for developing a healthy marriage.