How Is Marriage Like Facebook, Makeup, and Toothpaste?

Here’s a marriage riddle for you. (As if marriage wasn’t perplexing enough.) How is marriage like Facebook, makeup, and toothpaste? And the answer is not that both spouses need better profiles, wife’s need to use more makeup, and husbands need to use more toothpaste.

To find the answer, think about this. When people first start using Facebook they work hard to get the right profile and pictures on their page. They think through what to post and what not to post. They carefully craft each post, knowing that others will be reading it.

In other words, they first handled Facebook as if it were makeup. Carefully highlighting the things that make them look good, while purposely concealing the things that make them look bad.

But after being on Facebook for a while, people tend to let their guard down. Rather then selecting specific pictures to post, they post the whole batch. They don’t filter their posts as much, and they tend to post before they think.

In other words, Facebook becomes less like make up and more like toothpaste. Give them a little squeeze and whatever is on the inside comes out. Likes and dislikes. Personal temperament. Political views. Religious bents. They all come spilling out.

Now, back to the riddle. How is marriage like Facebook, makeup, and toothpaste?

We start off in marriage a lot like we start off on Facebook.  We’re trying hard to present well, and to conceal those things that are not appealing. Remember when you were still concerned about what you wore in front of your spouse? Remember trying to conceal bodily noises from your spouse? (Ok, maybe that was just me.) In the beginning of marriage, we’re still using makeup.

But just as we get comfortable with Facebook, somewhere along the line we get comfortable with marriage. We wear the ratty old clothes that we love, even if our spouse doesn’t. When it comes to bodily noises…well your spouse just has to get over that. We become like toothpaste. Whatever is on the inside is what comes out. (Not the best phrase to use after talking about bodily noises.)

By now, some of you are thinking, “So marriage is just going to go from beauty to brutal? From whispering sweet nothings to nothing sweet? From careful revelation to “let ‘er rip?” Is that what you’re saying?”

No! Marriage does not need to stay in the land of fantasy and falsehood. Neither does it need to descend into the land of disrespect and disregard.

There is a need to be like toothpaste and share more of what’s inside us with our spouse.  (Ok, maybe not the bodily noises stuff.) But there’s also a need to be like makeup and put our best face forward when we do share. It’s what Scripture calls “speaking the truth in love.”  It’s the need to balance your feelings with the feelings of others…something many people can forget to do on Facebook and in marriage.

So whether on Facebook or in marriage…it’s ok to be yourself, but you need to do it in the best way possible. Do it in a way that not only honors your right to be you, but also honors their right to be them.

Have you become so comfortable in marriage that you forget to consider your spouse?  Leave a comment and share an example of how that happens…or how you’ve changed it.

Copyright © 2014 Bret Legg