How Is Marriage Like Facebook, Makeup, and Toothpaste?

Four Quadrants graphic no linesHere’s a marriage riddle for you. (As if marriage wasn’t perplexing enough.) How is marriage like Facebook, makeup, and toothpaste? And the answer is not that both spouses need better profiles, wife’s need to use more makeup, and husbands need to use more toothpaste.

To find the answer, think about this. When people first start using Facebook they work hard to get the right profile and pictures on their page. They think through what to post and what not to post. They carefully craft each post, knowing that others will be reading it.

In other words, they first handled Facebook as if it were makeup. Carefully highlighting the things that make them look good, while purposely concealing the things that make them look bad.

But after being on Facebook for a while, people tend to let their guard down. Rather then selecting specific pictures to post, they post the whole batch. They don’t filter their posts as much, and they tend to post before they think.

In other words, Facebook becomes less like make up and more like toothpaste. Give them a little squeeze and whatever is on the inside comes out. Likes and dislikes. Personal temperament. Political views. Religious bents. They all come spilling out.

Now, back to the riddle. How is marriage like Facebook, makeup, and toothpaste?

We start off in marriage a lot like we start off on Facebook.  We’re trying hard to present well, and to conceal those things that are not appealing. Remember when you were still concerned about what you wore in front of your spouse? Remember trying to conceal bodily noises from your spouse? (Ok, maybe that was just me.) In the beginning of marriage, we’re still using makeup.

But just as we get comfortable with Facebook, somewhere along the line we get comfortable with marriage. We wear the ratty old clothes that we love, even if our spouse doesn’t. When it comes to bodily noises…well your spouse just has to get over that. We become like toothpaste. Whatever is on the inside is what comes out. (Not the best phrase to use after talking about bodily noises.)

By now, some of you are thinking, “So marriage is just going to go from beauty to brutal? From whispering sweet nothings to nothing sweet? From careful revelation to “let ‘er rip?” Is that what you’re saying?”

No! Marriage does not need to stay in the land of fantasy and falsehood. Neither does it need to descend into the land of disrespect and disregard.

There is a need to be like toothpaste and share more of what’s inside us with our spouse.  (Ok, maybe not the bodily noises stuff.) But there’s also a need to be like makeup and put our best face forward when we do share. It’s what Scripture calls “speaking the truth in love.”  It’s the need to balance your feelings with the feelings of others…something many people can forget to do on Facebook and in marriage.

So whether on Facebook or in marriage…it’s ok to be yourself, but you need to do it in the best way possible. Do it in a way that not only honors your right to be you, but also honors their right to be them.

Have you become so comfortable in marriage that you forget to consider your spouse?  Leave a comment and share an example of how that happens…or how you’ve changed it.

Copyright © 2014 Bret Legg

8 thoughts on “How Is Marriage Like Facebook, Makeup, and Toothpaste?”

  1. It never ceases to amaze me. Your blog posts always are right on target for me.

    I went on a date with my husband tonight. I had on the same clothes I wore to work this morning. I had not freshened my makeup nor even brushed my hair. I was probably a little grouchy to tell the truth. It was a strictly “take me as I am” night. I really didn’t care about my appearance. It was obvious when time came round to pay for our date night ice cream that the gentleman (who was much older than myself) had something on his mind. He took my money and wanted to know if I wanted the senior citizen discount. I looked around to see who might be speaking to… And he was speaking to me.
    My husband didn’t hear that. He is also gracious enough not to say anything about my appearance.

    That little incident did speak a lot to me…. Not just about appearance.
    So did this post.

    I am ashamed to say that I typically want what I want. I tend to think of myself first and my spouse gets what is left. If there is enough… Time, energy, romance, chocolate cake and so on…
    If there is enough to go around then my spouse gets what is left. I am not proud of the way I have become complacent. I should be thinking of my spouse first and what pleases and honors him. I just sometimes get so self absorbed, busy or distracted that he doesn’t get my best. I don’t even realize it until the time has usually already passed. If my spouse doesn’t get my best he then feels cheated. Then we both end up unhappy campers. He knows what my best looks like. I do not want to cheat my spouse. I want to love and honor him. I am working at it… I’m a work in progress. I am getting better everyday at getting back up after a good fall. Fortunately I have a loving and forgiving spouse.
    I hope I can be as good of a spouse as he is one day too.

  2. Okay, I have thought a lot about this. After 16 years of being a couple (13 of them married), my husband I have started to reach the toothpaste phase but in a good way. It has only been in the last few years that I started to take off the makeup and be who I really am. I am learning to express myself calmly (no easy task) and speak out of consideration and not frustration most of the time. Realistically not all words between us will be spoken in a loving manner. He appreciates it when I make an effort to be a “girlie girl” and I need to express to him more how much I respect the man he is and the effort he puts in for me. Sometimes we will end up squirting the toothpaste at each other, but as long as we do not leave it a mess, things will work out.

    • Sounds like the two of you growing and in a good place. Keep it up, don’t let your guard down, and share your secret with others.


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