Cute little wall hangings with quotes or verses on them are so popular right now. They are everywhere! I recently saw one with the words of Proverbs 27:17 so gracefully written on it. “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” I found it a little ironic that the font was cute and the letters were sparkly, when in fact the act of being sharpened can be painful and often times difficult to navigate.
I meet with a lot of couples for premarital counseling and one thing that I am intentional about bringing up is that when we get married, we will learn just as much or even more about ourselves than we will about our spouse. The actual act of sharpening is built into the design of marriage. We now have a sounding board who is always in front of us. Our spouse (and kids) are reflecting back to us our good, bad and ugly. BUT, we can choose whether we allow ourselves to be open to the discovery or not.
When we are open to it, we allow ourselves to be transformed though humbly admitting the yuck and taking responsibility for it. When we choose to not be open, we become hardened and resentful toward the ones who are just doing their jobs. (Assuming it was done in a safe manner). When we harden our hearts, we miss the opportunity for a better way. We miss the opportunity for growth.
In the book Sacred Marriage, author Gary Thomas says, “Couples don’t fall out of love so much as they fall out of repentance.” We need to be honest with ourselves, our spouse, and God about weaknesses revealed to us in order to grow out of them. We are doing it right when we create an emotionally safe space so our spouse can actually say what we need to hear in order to be sharpened and then in return we are led by the Spirit to bring up what we see in our spouse. Iron sharpens iron.
It is a great honor to be transformed in the context of a marital relationship. Let’s live out the Word (no matter how uncomfortable) by sharpening each other out of a spirit of love.