Many couples find it difficult to continue with their relationship as time passes. In the beginning, everything is passionate and wonderful, but after years of marriage, spouses reveal their true character, and it can feel like everything changes. There is a quote that aptly describes this situation:
The difficulty with marriage is that we fall in love with a personality, but must live with a character.
It’s easy to understand what personality is. We fall in love with someone based on how they express themselves to the outside world. Your personality is how people experience you.
But when it comes to character… character is who you are when no one is watching.
When two people meet, they meet each other’s personalities. You showed off your public persona and the person who became your spouse liked it. Over time, they loved it. The same happened for you. It’s not deceitful; you simply portrayed yourselves to each other as you portray yourselves to other people. That’s normal and natural.
But marriage is long. And spouses are in too close quarters to maintain the public persona forever. Eventually, you start to reveal your inner self. It’s as if you are naked in front of each other. Now, you are made aware of each other’s true characters. The person before you isn’t the person who charmed your friends, bought gifts for your parents, and always put on a happy face. No, this is an exposed character before you.
For many, when you’re married, you not only meet your spouse for the first time, but you truly meet yourself for the first time. Some people don’t like what they see. In fact, as Marriage Fitness teaches, some would rather leave a marriage and be with someone else on a slightly more superficial level than stay with their spouse and have to continue to experience themselves truly.
It sounds complicated, but what it boils down to is that marriage renewal and individual character development go hand in hand. To improve your marriage, you must improve yourself. And improving your character will help restore your marriage to all that it can be.