We All Marry the Wrong Person

By Erin Smalley
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email
Wavebreak Media/Thinkstock
It's easy to keep our character flaws covered up when we aren't living in the most intimate covenant relationship on earth — marriage. But married life has a way of exposing us.

I recently read an article titled “Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person” — and it intrigued me. I’ve never really heard this statement from anyone other than those who are suffering in the current state of their marriage. It seems as though this thought is the go-to statement when things get tough and someone wants out of a marriage. It was definitely my go-to thought when I was a struggling young bride.

My husband, Greg, and I had been married less than six months when we began to struggle in our marriage relationship. We had been so anxious to get married and enjoy our life together that when things didn’t seem to be working out blissfully, we both began to wonder if we’d married the wrong person. I’ve since come to understand the truth that can be found in this statement because, as it turns out, we all marry the wrong person.

The truth exposed

When we fall in love and choose our spouse, it’s amazing how that special man or woman suddenly has the ability to bring all of our flaws to the surface. You know, the imperfections we work so hard to protect and keep hidden. It’s uncanny how we can work diligently to present only the best of who we are when we are dating, and then suddenly that special someone in our world can begin to expose the issues we’ve brought with us from childhood — and the selfish ways we tend to interact in relationships. Daily interactions have a way of revealing the weaknesses we never displayed prior to saying “I do.”

It’s easy to keep our character flaws covered up when we aren’t living in the most intimate covenant relationship on earth — marriage. When we are dating, we put our best foot forward and work to cover up our wounds. But married life has a way of exposing us. Our spouse suddenly has the ability to make our flaws and struggles appear. And we don’t like it. I know I sure didn’t like it.

Candidly, I knew my flaws were there, but I didn’t know exactly what to do about them. So I worked especially hard to cover up my imperfections. Amazingly, it didn’t take long for Greg to begin to “help me” display these issues in our relationship. Of course, I had the same effect on him — he had issues, too. We all do.

Working with the truth

So there I was, six months into my marriage, dreaming of how I could run away and return to my mom. I was a 24 year-old woman who was scared to death. I hadn’t heard anyone talk about this part of marriage, and I couldn’t decide if the problem was all me, or all Greg. In light of the fact that Greg was the son of world-renowned marriage expert Gary Smalley, I concluded that it must be me. And this led me to find a counselor.

I knew the process was probably going to hurt because I desired to change several of my well-worn habits. And, as strange as it sounds, I needed to refocus because, in a feeble effort to comfort myself with   something familiar, I was subconsciously recreating some of the dysfunction I grew up with.

After just a few weeks of counseling, I began to realize that my flaws weren’t the only source of our marital stress; Greg brought his own baggage into our marriage as well. He brought his own imperfections into our marriage. As I began to understand who I was and what I brought to the relationship, Greg also began to understand who he was and what he brought to the relationship. Counseling proved to be the scariest and the greatest thing for me. Greg and I had to throw out the notion that marriage was always going to be as magical as Disneyland. We made peace with the reality that there would be Main Street, U.S.A. moments in our relationship. Still other times we could expect to feel like we were on the Matterhorn Bobsleds — hanging on for dear life.

So, if you catch yourself saying, “I married the wrong person,” I challenge you to take the focus off your spouse and put it back on yourself. (Please note that this article is not referring to an abusive marriage; it’s written about marriages that are experiencing a difficult season.) Your husband or wife is clearly revealing something about you that isn’t comfortable because you would prefer that part of who you are to remain concealed.

Pray and ask the Lord what He would have you do to help your current marriage situation. You, too, may find that you are headed into counseling. Focus on the Family has resources and counseling to help you and your family. You can contact us Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Mountain time) at: 800-A-FAMILY (232-6459) or [email protected].

Take hope in knowing that it’s not always about the person you married, but it’s often about the person you can change in your marriage — you.

Erin Smalley serves as the Program Manager of Marriage Ministries at Focus on the Family and is the co-author of Crazy Little Thing Called Marriage.

 

*Based on research and experience from Dr. Greg and Erin Smalley, Focus on the Family has created valid and reliable questions that evaluate the strength of your marriage. Take our free assessment now.

© 2016 Focus on the Family.

Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

About the Author

Erin Smalley

Erin Smalley serves as the Marriage Strategic Spokesperson for Focus on the Family’s marriage ministry and develops content for the marriage department. In addition to her work at Focus, Smalley is a conference speaker. She presents with her husband, Dr. Greg Smalley, at marriage enrichment seminars where they guide husbands and wives in taking steps toward enjoying deeply satisfying marriages. …

You May Also Like

Thank you [field id="first_name"] for signing up to get the free downloads of the Marrying Well Guides. 

Click the image below to access your guide and learn about the counter-cultural, biblical concepts of intentionality, purity, community and Christian compatibility.

(For best results use IE 8 or higher, Firefox, Chrome or Safari)

To stay up-to-date with the latest from Boundless, sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter.


If you have any comments or questions about the information included in the Guide, please send them to [email protected]

Click here to return to Boundless

Focus on the Family

Thank you for submitting this form. You will hear from us soon. 

The Daily Citizen

The Daily Citizen from Focus on the Family exists to be your most trustworthy news source. Our team of analysts is devoted to giving you timely and relevant analysis of current events and cultural trends – all from a biblical worldview – so that you can be inspired and assured that the information you share with others comes from a reliable source.

Alive to Thrive is a biblical guide to preventing teen suicide. Anyone who interacts with teens can learn how to help prevent suicidal thinking through sound practical and clinical advice, and more importantly, biblical principles that will provide a young person with hope in Christ.

Bring Your Bible to School Day Logo Lockup with the Words Beneath

Every year on Bring Your Bible to School Day, students across the nation celebrate religious freedom and share God’s love with their friends. This event is designed to empower students to express their belief in the truth of God’s Word–and to do so in a respectful way that demonstrates the love of Christ.

Focus on the Family’s® Foster Care and Adoption program focuses on two main areas:

  • Wait No More events, which educate and empower families to help waiting kids in foster care

  • Post-placement resources for foster and adoptive families

Christian Counselors Network

Find Christian Counselors, Marriage & Family Therapists, Psychologists, Social Workers and Psychiatrists near you! Search by location, name or specialty to find professionals in Focus on the Family’s Christian Counselors Network who are eager to assist you.

Boundless is a Focus on the Family community for Christian young adults who want to pursue faith, relationships and adulthood with confidence and joy.

Through reviews, articles and discussions, Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live.

Have you been looking for a way to build your child’s faith in a fun and exciting way?
Adventures in Odyssey® audio dramas will do just that. Through original audio stories brought to life by actors who make you feel like part of the experience; these fictional, character-building dramas use storytelling to teach lasting truths.

Focus on the Family’s Hope Restored all-inclusive intensives offer marriage counseling for couples who are facing an extreme crisis in their marriage, and who may even feel they are headed for divorce.