One of the most well-known characters in classic literature is Dracula, the ghoulish vampire created by Bram Stoker in 1897. Since then, thanks to countless movies and cartoons, vampires have become synonymous with black capes and sharp teeth. But there’s another characteristic often featured in these dark tales: a vampire’s reflection is never seen in the mirror.
On the surface, it might not seem like that obscure quality would have any practical application to marriages. But let me ask you: on an emotional level, do you see your reflection in the mirror?
Dr. Henry Cloud, a clinical psychologist and popular author, says many couples have a hard time seeing a true reflection of themselves. That’s because at least one of the spouses refuses or seems unable to see him- or herself as part of the problem. They don’t recognize when they have a bad attitude or when they speak harshly toward others. Even when someone points out those traits, the spouse denies that it’s true.
And that’s a key factor behind why marital conflict is often so difficult to resolve. Blind spots keep spouses locked in dysfunctional loops. When a problem arises, not only do they each blame the other for the disagreement, but neither one is willing to change their own behavior. And around and around it goes. Dr. Cloud will tell you it’s why many couples have the same argument with different content for years.
The simple truth is we can’t change what we don’t acknowledge or refuse to see. But as followers of the One who called Himself “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), shouldn’t we be committed to seeking truth and equally willing to let it do its work in us?
Look through the book of Proverbs. You’ll see several passages telling us that if you correct a wise man, he will become wiser still. If you rebuke a righteous person, he or she will love you for it. David himself said in the Psalms, “Let a righteous man strike me – it is a kindness; let him rebuke me – it is oil for my head” (141:5, ESV).
In other words, Scripture says the more mature someone is the more they’re able to listen to and accept feedback about their flaws. But the more they think they “have it all together,” the more defensive they’ll be, and the less mature they’re showing they really are.
We’re called to confess our faults to one another (James 5:16). That ability – to give and receive feedback – is the hallmark of a healthy marriage. But if it’s hard for you or your spouse to consider the part you play in problems facing your relationship, you’ll want to join us for today’s program, “Moving Forward to Lasting Change.” Dr. Cloud is here to talk us through what to do when we’re having trouble seeing a true reflection of ourselves.