Editor's note: This article was originally published on Kevin Thompson's blog. It has been republished here with permission.
The single life gives room for deception. When you are single, it's possible to think you are better than you actually are.
Marriage and parenting removes the deceit. There are no questions — you are highly flawed.
If you are single, when you get tired of people, you can find alone time. Rarely are you seen at your most vulnerable. If you are wise, you can learn the times in which you should remove yourself from circumstances or situations which might tempt you to act in ungodly ways.
When you are married, not only do you not have the opportunity to escape, the people in your life will actually force you into potentially sinful situations without you even asking to be there. (See: You Won't Change Until…)
Nothing reveals the sinfulness of humanity like marriage and parenting
Before I was married, I knew I was broken. But I had no idea the extent of my brokenness until I had a family of my own.
The gift (and the curse) of family is that you can't fake it with them. We can fake kindness, generosity, mercy and forgiveness with others because we only have to fake it for a set period of time. However, with my wife and children I could never fake those emotions because I would have to fake them for an infinite amount of time. My wife and kids are always there. I can't run to an empty room and hide — they will find me. I can't take a day off and say, "I'm not going to be your husband or father today." The roles are 24/7 and so they see my true character.
But this is the gift of marriage. Our true natures are revealed and we have the opportunity to truly change our hearts. The problem with faking life is that we can deceive ourselves into thinking we aren't that bad. However, unless we know the depth of our problem, we can't truly change. Marriage and parenting provide us the opportunity to change because it reveals to us our great need for change.
There are many areas where marriage and parenting reveal our need, but three specific areas are the most common. (See: Why We Are Afraid to Change)
Marriage and parenting reveal our
We are so prideful we don't even recognize the amount of pride we have. It's impossible for us to fully appreciate its magnitude unless it is revealed to us. Marriage and parenting require a level of humility which clashes with our pride showing us how arrogant we are. (See: Pride, The Only Enemy of Marriage)
We want our way. Even the most laid-back, easy-going person desires to have things done their way. Marriage requires us to submit our desire to another. Parenting requires us to put our children's best interests before our own. Both will reveal a depth of selfishness within our own hearts which we did not even know existed.
We are needy people. We are broken and because of our brokenness we attempt to protect our hearts. Yet marriage and parenting require us to invest our hearts. We can't keep them hidden and be an effective spouse or parent. Both marriage and parenting show how insecure we are. No matter the aura we give at work or the reputation we have among others, we are all insecure people and the intimacy of marriage and parenting reveal those insecurities. (See: Never Try to Prove Yourself)
Marriage and parenting can reveal many things about us which we did not know, but our pride, selfishness and insecurities are the most obvious. When these things are revealed, we have the opportunity to change.
Kevin A. Thompson is Lead Pastor of Community Bible Church, a multi-site church in Fort Smith, AR. He currently writes a daily blog focusing on leadership, marriage, and parenting (specifically parenting a child with special needs). Along with his wife, Kevin is co-owner of JThompsonMMC, a full-service media and marketing company based in Fort Smith. He is a graduate of Beeson Divinity School of Samford University and Oklahoma Baptist University. Kevin is also the author of "Friends, Partners, and Lovers—What It Takes to Make Your Marriage Work.