by Joy Oguntimein
How cool would it have been to be Ashton Kutcher walking into the tent shouting “You just got punkd!” the morning Jacob woke up and realized he married Leah and not Rachel. That ‘lil love bird got played!!
Some of us are punking our future spouses. It’s been months since the first date, yet we’re still only allowing the other person to see a version of us that’s been cropped, edited, and filtered. We hide any evidence of our imperfections so we can earn the “married” badge.
Honey, lean in for some truth. We can’t live life in bondage, afraid of people not liking the real us. If we are going to have any real happy, in our happily ever after stories, then we need to practice being real in our relationships now, with our family and friends.
One of the most important things you can do in your marriage-Be Yourself! Being yourself is a habit developed over time; not magically when you say I do. Here are a few tips for being your authentic self:
1. Be Authentic. DUH! Yes, start here. Start by being honest about what you like, what you don’t like, what you value, and how you’re feeling.
While we all have an innate desire to be accepted and loved by others, we need to belong in communities that value us and our unique contribution. If people only want to accept the person you pretend to be, then they are not accepting you.
2. Be grateful for the amazing and unique being you are. Be open about your faults and weaknesses.
When we present a facade of who we are, we don’t give people the opportunity to love us completely. Your future partner can’t connect with you if they can’t see the real you. Don’t get caught up trying to be someone else that you forget how special you are, flaws and all.
3. Be courageous enough to be vulnerable. Whether a parent, sibling, prayer partner, etc. you need at least one person (preferably 2) you can be vulnerable with.
We should invest in the relationships that allow us to share both our pleasure and pain. Let’s invest in the people who are open to seeing the behind the scenes footage, not just the highlight reels posted on Instagram. We need intentional, genuine, and consistent community that comes through being ourselves.
Want real love? Then bring the real you to the relationship. To find, keep, and build a lasting love, be you. Free yourself and rest in the truth that you’re loved by Jesus, with all your brokenness, gifts, flaws, positive traits, and weirdness.
Unless you’re a professional actor/actress, you will not win an Academy or Emmy for impressing other people with your ability to be someone besides yourself. This is real life, not a reality TV show. So, let’s stop faking, and be the real, authentic people God has created us to be. When you do, you’ll be building a foundation for a strong, healthy relationship.1