Mistianna: When I said my marriage vows and pledged my “whole self” to Derrick, I had no idea what that really meant. I was 22 and saw my “whole self” as sharing my life, interests, and aspirations with the man of my dreams.
We’d done eight months of marriage prep, and our priest had stressed the importance of being honest and vulnerable in marriage; but secretly, I hoped that didn’t include sharing the darker, less desirable side of myself.
I really didn’t want to take off my mask of grace and positivity and expose my hot temper, vanity, negativity and jealous nature. After all, what if he didn’t like what was under my mask and decided that my flawed and unattractive side was too ugly to love.
Deacon Derrick: As we get married, we are called to share our whole lives and our whole selves with our spouse. This means we not only share our bodies, finances, and hopes and dreams, but we also share our emotions, fears, flaws, and those undesirable aspects of ourselves we don’t like.
While it is easy to share the first, we find ourselves hesitant to be honest about our shortcomings. It is exceptionally easy for me to share my good side with Mistianna; to share my dreams, successes, and victories with her.
Even after 26 years of marriage, I still find it hard to be vulnerable about my fears and failures. It’s hard and uncomfortable for me to be honest with her about my failings and limitations.
Mistianna: Being vulnerable and transparent with the person we love and value the most can be daunting. But being open and completely honest with Derrick about what I need, who I am and what I am feeling allows me to give my complete self to him and to our marriage.
Honesty is important in marriage because it fosters intimacy between spouses and brings greater unity to the marriage as a whole. By being my true, transparent self, I allow Derrick to love me completely, flaws and all.
Deacon Derrick: Honesty is a powerful weapon that protects the sanctity of marriage.
God does not call us to marriages of deceit and darkness; and because deceit is the opposite of honesty, not being open and honest in my marriage with Mistianna can create a wedge in our relationship. Such a wedge leads to feelings of not being understood, being undervalued and being unappreciated. All things that can destroy a marriage and prohibit each spouse from becoming the best version of themselves.
Giving our “whole selves’ to our spouse means being honest and transparent about all aspects of our lives and ourselves. This is the type of marriage God calls us each to have.
Deacon Derrick and Mistianna Barnes serve at St. Margaret Mary Church and blog about marriage at sacredmessymarriage.com/.