I chose a hotel that didn’t have a gym or restaurant because it’s fairly new so Edric was frustrated that I didn’t do my due diligence. He was right but I didn’t like his negativity so our evening was a little tense after we checked in to the hotel that had already been paid for in advance (we couldn’t rebook somewhere else without forfeiting the money).
In the past he probably would have stayed upset until the following morning, but last night, after going out for a bite to eat, he came back to the hotel room with a big bottle of water for me, to apologize for, in his words, “making me feel discouraged.”
His tone was sweet and understanding. It was like a Jekyll and Hyde instance where he left our room acting like the latter and came back as the former.
Truthfully I could have done a better job at picking the hotel when I had my assistant book the place. I merely scrolled trough Booking.com to select an option that was well-reviewed (which it was), and near the Hongkong Convention Center we had to be at everyday. However, Edric and I do enjoy our workouts and of course, we never skip out on breakfast. So these two were important considerations that I should have looked into. Plus, there was the space factor. It was the smallest hotel room we have ever stayed in. Ever. Like, if we had tripped in the room, we would have merely fallen against the wall instead of onto the floor because it wasn’t wide enough or deep enough to injure ourselves in!
Initially, Edric researched online to find another hotel to pay for even if it meant spending for two places since we couldn’t forfeit our reservation. That’s how upset he was.
Thankfully Edric forgave my mistake. I really prayed that God would speak to him when he left the hotel room because arguing about it would have escalated the issue into something ugly. Well, I am glad that the Lord ministered to his heart while he was out eating dim sum and noodles.
When he returned as a changed man, he explained, “I didn’t want to be a spoiled brat. That’s what God convicted me to think about. Why not be flexible and make the most of the situation?”
So that’s what we did.
The next morning, God allowed us to find a breakfast restaurant called The Flying Pan which served big American-type breakfasts on exceptionally large plates. Edric was in heaven. The next day we explored further and found the Brunch Club on Peel Street which was more my speed, quaint and tucked away. So one of our problems was solved — breakfast food.
As for the absence of a gym, we tried finding fitness clubs where we could pay per day but then decided to save money. After all, we did so much walking around. Edric managed to do push ups on the small space beside the bed. And I worked out my abs by the entrance to the bathroom.
Edric is the kind of person who tries to be thorough and exacting with himself. So when others mismanage his expectations it’s hard for him NOT to feel frustrated and disappointed. However, God gave him a wife like me, whose shortcomings he has to accommodate and be patient with.
As for me, I don’t like being around negative, demanding, and unappreciative people. Edric can sometimes fall into these behaviors when things aren’t to his liking or standards. However, I am happy to say that he is more often than not a positive person, especially in comparison to the Edric version 1.0 at the beginning of our marriage. Nevertheless, I need someone like Edric who refines me and keeps me from getting puffed up with pride. He is able to correct me areas of my life that others may not see. He also pushes me to keep improving and growing, which I need to do.
So there you have it…Two people who don’t always like each other’s opposing personalities, especially when circumstances highlight these differences. Yet we both know that God has given us to each other to chip away and cleanse the parts of us that need to be smoothened and purified. For Edric it’s his impatience. For me it’s my resistance to correction. (There are more undesirable qualities in us that God continues to reveal as well.) Therefore, both of us are better off with each other than without.
Perhaps I can summarize all of this with insights from Timothy Keller’s book, The Meaning of Marriage, where he writes the following…
The first part of making your marriage into a relationship that enhances growth is to accept this inherent feature of married life. Marriage by its very nature has the “power of truth” — the power to show you the truth about who you are. People are appalled when they get sharp, far-reaching criticisms from their spouses. They immediately begin think they married the wrong person. But you must realize that it isn’t ultimately your spouse who is exposing the sinfulness of your heart — it’s marriage itself. Marriage does not so much bring you to confrontation with your spouse as confront you with yourself. Marriage shows you a real, unflattering picture of who you are and then takes you by the scruff of the neck and forces you to pay attention to it…Don’t resist this power that marriage has. Give your spouse the right to talk to you about what is wrong with you.
Keller points out that marriage allows us to see ourselves for who we really are, then he explains that it also allows us to see whom our spouses can become.
When people first begin to see the flaws in their spouses, some flee marriage. Others withdraw, downscaling their expectations of happiness almost completely and just learn to get along. Others go into a long period of fighting and blaming their spouses for their unhappiness. All of these approaches share one thing in common, however. One spouse looks at his or her spouse’s weaknesses and says, “I need to find someone better than this.” But the great thing about the model of Christian marriage we are presenting here is that when you envision the “someone better,” you can think of the future version of the person to whom you are already married. The someone better is the spouse you already have. God has indeed given us the desire for a better spouse, but you should seek it in the one to whom you are married. Why discard this partner for someone else only to discover that person’s deep, hidden flaws? Some people with serial marriages go through the cycle of infatuation, disillusionment, rejection, and flight to someone else — over and over. The only way you’re going to actually begin to see another person’s glory-self is to stick with him or her…Do you obsess over your partner’s external shortcomings, or can you see the beauty within, and do you want to see it increasingly increased?
There are moments when I fall back into feeling resentment towards the parts of Edric’s personality that affront me. No doubt, he feels exactly the same way about me. Yet, I have seen God transform him in so many remarkable ways that these changes affirm why it’s worth it to stay married to your spouse.
Selfishly speaking, spouses upgrade! You get a better version of your spouse with each passing year as the Lord works on his or her character. Of course you and I have to cooperate with His principles so we can be instrumental to this upgrading and not a block to it.
The other, more important reason is not so much about what your spouse becomes for your own benefit, but what Christ is making you into. None of us, married or single, will ever grow in substance or character unless we experience heat and pressure likened to what coals go through in their pre-diamond state. Even though the process can feel ugly, God uses people (our spouses for the married) and circumstances to refine us till we shine with the beauty that is Him. So marriage is a lifetime of preparation for future glory! Isn’t that a comforting thought when incidences and personality differences irk us?placeholder://
Edric and I discovered that our cramped hotel room was a divinely appointed, diamond-making space of a place when we changed our perspective and attitudes. This is what happens when we adopt the mindset that the apostle Paul challenges us to have. “Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For we died to this life, and our real life is hidden with Christ in God.” When we recognize this and live this way, someday, “when Christ, who is our life, is revealed to the whole world, we will share in all his glory.” (Colossians 3:2-4)