I read this article recently called “Don’t Judge a Book By It’s Cover or a Couple By Their Instagram.” The blogger who wrote this was talking about how we tend to look at social media and compare our relationships to the beautiful pictures we see of couples. We think, “Wow, they look so happy. My relationship isn’t as sweet and loving as theirs.” Or maybe you might think, “Will I find someone like that someday?” These thoughts of insecurities can be endless.
I’ll admit, this article stuck with me. I’m guilty of the comparison trap. I compare my relationship with Ben to those of my already-married friends or my also-engaged friends. I fear that we’re the only couple who argues or can be selfish from time to time. I peruse Pinterest and wedding blogs for inspiration and only find myself measuring our future marriage against the ones I’m reading about. I often feel like I have to portray us as the perfect couple so that others will admire us and think we’re heading towards a successful marriage. It’s a sad truth.
The last time I posted, I told the story of how Ben and I got engaged. My first draft was terrible. I started it out thinking about other posts I had read from girls who had told their engagement stories. These stories were laced with perfection. They raved about how surprised they were and how perfect the scenery was around them, etc. I stopped halfway through my attempt to mimic this style because I realized that if I wrote that post, I would be putting up a front. I would have been leaving out the real life details–such as that I was super sweaty and freaking out at the possibility of the ring not going on my finger. I took out the filter and told it like it was, and it felt really good to do that.
[Can I also just be honest and say that I had a massive bruise on my knee that day? When Ethan showed me the pictures, I immediately asked if he could edit that bruise out. I’m not gonna say that I wish he hadn’t. I’m not that vulnerable, people. I just thought I would let you know. This bruise was disgusting. ]
So I’m here to say this to myself and to anyone else who is struggling with these thoughts: it is perfectly fine to admit that your relationship has flaws. In fact, I wish more people would start doing that! I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of feeling like I have to carefully consider the caption on my Instagram post about getting to spend the day with my fiance so that everyone will know how happy we are.
Wouldn’t we all feel better if we just stopped with the comparing? The insecurities? The fear?
Ol Teddy Roosevelt said it best: “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
2 Corinthians 10:12 says,
“We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.” (NIV)
Straight up truth. I can only pray that I can take these words and put them into action–to stop measuring my success by others’. Instead, shouldn’t I be asking, “How does mine and Ben’s relationship measure up to what God wants?”
Join me in taking down the walls that cover our imperfections. As the author of the blog post wrote, “us being imperfect makes Jesus more important and necessary. Our failings and our weaknesses in our relationships point to Jesus.”
Final thought: I love Benjamin Ward Carter more than I’ll ever say in a caption because I don’t have to share that with Facebook or Instagram to know that our relationship is God-centered or awesome. It’s between us and God. I hope I can hold myself to that standard from now on.