Ugliness; it’s an epidemic in marriage, and quite frankly, one that we need to stop before it ruins not only our marriage, but the very core of who we are. Ugliness has found its way into nearly every marriage and tends to find a pretty comfortable place there, slowly driving a wedge between husband and wife until neither one is recognized by the other. Ugliness manifests itself in many ways, but here are the top four ways it destroys a marriage.
Ugliness in the mirror
Many women, and often men, look into the mirror each morning, and only see their weaknesses. They see the unruly hair, the extra weight, the crooked teeth, the dark circles under their eyes; and their immediate response is generally something along the lines of, “Boy, I’ve really been beaten with that ugly stick!” They begin telling themselves how terrible they look, how unwanted they are and how unappealing they must be. And because their own idea of who they are becomes so ingrained into their mind, it becomes their personal identity and they believe that this is how the whole world, including their spouse, must see them too.
The reality of most marriages, however, is a much different scenario. Although I may see ugliness when I look into the mirror, my husband sees beauty. He sees the eyes that sparkle, the hips that sway gently to music, the arms that hold him tight and the lips that receive his kisses. In his eyes, I am beautiful. The only ugliness is the ugliness I bring into the picture. And even though I try to constantly point it out to him, my husband never sees my ugliness, and insists it’s all beautiful to him. One of the greatest and most important ways we can stop feeling ugly in front of our spouse is to stop seeing ugly in ourselves. Marriage is about being able to take everything off, stand completely naked in front of the one you love, and feel comfortable in your own skin. It is intimate and it is beautiful.
Ugliness in thought
Buddha said, “We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.” I would like to add, with our thoughts, we make our marriage. If we harbor ugly thoughts about our spouse or our marriage, those thoughts will create our world, and it will be a world of ugliness. Once created as a reality, this is an ugliness that is difficult to overcome.
Ugliness in thought, if left unattended, will grow like a wild vine, choking out the beauty and happiness in yourself, your spouse and your marriage. It can even have a negative impact on your children. If you want a beautiful marriage, begin with beautiful thoughts; thoughts of love for your spouse, thoughts of kindness, thoughts of goodness and devotion. These thoughts will create a world of beauty.
Ugliness in word
Often times, ugliness in front of our spouse can come out in the things we say to him or her. Anger is a terrible motivator, but sometimes we use it anyway. We use it to shout obscenities, to name-call, and to hurt the one we’re supposed to love. The ugliness this brings into a marriage is not only hurtful, but can leave open wounds that refuse to heal. This ugliness is not only damaging to your marriage; it is damaging to your soul and the soul of your spouse. It literally breaks hearts, shatters souls and rips apart marriages faster than beauty can mend it. And that ugliness can spread when you speak ill of your spouse to family and friends.
Ugliness in word must be replaced with words of beauty, words of love and words of affirmation. Kindness, encouragement, compliments, love and an open and honest dialogue is what is required for beauty to abound in marriage. Yehuda Berg said, “Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively with words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble.” Stop speaking ugly to, and in front of, your spouse. Learn to say beautiful words and use them to create a beautiful marriage.
Ugliness in Actions
Some of the greatest ugliness seen in marriage is ugliness in actions. Abuse is never OK; yet in marriage is where it is found most often. Of course, abuse is the ugliest of all actions, but there are other actions in marriage that can rear their ugly head, such as infidelity, selfishness and neglect. There are even smaller actions of ugliness like slamming doors, making hurtful gestures or hanging up the phone in the middle of a conversation. Any action that does not build your marriage is a form of ugliness.
Not only actions, but inactions can be counted as ugliness as well. John Stuart Mill said, “A person may cause evil to others not only by his actions, but by his inaction, and in either case he is justly accountable to them for the injury.” Withholding love, ignoring your spouse, forgetting special occasions, being unsupportive; all these things are inactions, but by their very nature are filled with ugliness. If you want a beautiful marriage, show it by your actions. Do kind acts of service for your spouse. Send flowers or encouraging text messages, give a wink and a smile, hold his hand, give her a long passionate kiss. Stop looking ugly in front of your spouse because of your actions. Infuse your marriage with beauty by the things that you do.
Marriage is a beautiful thing, especially when we eliminate the ugliness from it. I stopped looking ugly in front of my husband because not only did I stop seeing the ugly in myself, but I stopped seeing the ugly in him.