You’ve likely seen it by now: the dress that defies our understanding (be careful with the link, as the picture’s caption is pretty salty). Some of us look at it and see white and gold, while others see it as blue and black. Within the span of about twelve hours, the dress practically broke the internet.
This morning, I looked at the picture and saw one color scheme. I scoffed at those who said they saw it the other way. Not possible! I see it as one color scheme, and I don’t believe anyone else could really see those other two colors, I thought. My two sons saw it two completely different ways, and they pointed out how the other was completely wrong.
I, too, thought that anyone who didn’t see it the way I did was wrong.
I believed that other people thought they were seeing other colors, but I didn’t believe that they actually were seeing those colors.
Then I tilted my screen and everything changed—the other color scheme emerged!
My mind = blown. Wow. It was like I was watching the picture change right before my eyes.
A couple hours later, I watched the same thing happen with my college students. As they looked at the image from various points of view (and in multiple formats—the projection screen on the wall, their laptops, and their phones), students went through the same mind-blowing experience. A slight shift of perspective made the picture appear completely different, even though the picture itself was exactly the same.
I watched their eyes as they experienced that same disbelief as I had in what they had just observed.
I look at the picture now, and although I still see it primarily in one color scheme, my mind’s eye can see it as the other color scheme as well, superimposed on the picture. When I tilt the screen just right, there’s a sweet spot where I can blink my eyes and the picture changes color schemes right in front of me.
Only here’s the thing—it isn’t the picture that changes at all. It is my perspective that changes.
A shift in perspective can make a world of change.
I know this because I have lived it.
For years, I saw our marriage only from my own point of view:
- I gained connection through conversation and therefore my husband was wrong not to pursue more conversation with me.
- I needed a strong emotional connection before having sex and therefore my husband was wrong to want sex without first establishing that connection with me.
- I was hurting and therefore my husband was the one who needed to change.
- My husband was the one who was unhappy with our sex life and therefore I needed to make no effort.
- Our marriage was about me being happy and therefore anything that made me uncomfortable or unhappy was not acceptable.
I lived in a Chris-centered world and expected Big Guy to be right there with me in that world.
My husband tried—frequently—to communicate with me about how my sexual control was hurting him.
I heard him. I believed that he thought he was hurting, but I didn’t believe he was actually hurting.
I was seeing our marriage only from my perspective, and from my perspective alone.
The moment I read my husband’s same words expressed by a great deal more men than just him, everything changed.
There was something about reading the words of so many other people that tilted the screen through which I viewed my marriage. Suddenly, I was able to see what I had not seen for so long.
Our marriage hadn’t changed, but my perspective had.
And at that moment, my mind was blown. My heart was, too. That shift in perspective was all it took for me to truly see what had been in front of me all along.
I saw how unhappy my husband was. I saw a man whose faith had sustained him through so many lonely nights. I saw a man who had no one who loved him on a daily basis. I saw a man whose heart had been bruised—by me. And as soon as I saw this version of my husband, my heart reached out and began to heal. Once I saw our marriage from his point of view, I didn’t like the version of myself that I was seeing–and I knew that I actually was part of the problem.
He hadn’t changed. Our marriage hadn’t changed. I hadn’t changed yet.
It was my perspective that changed.
I look at our marriage now and still see it primarily from my own point of view. My perspective is the one I carry around with me, after all. However, my heart’s eye can see our marriage from my husband’s point of view, too, superimposed over mine.
Neither of our perspectives is the complete truth, but each is a perspective of the complete truth.
When I tilt my computer screen just right and find that sweet spot, the picture shows me both perspectives of the picture—the white and gold dress along with the blue and black dress.
My marriage, too, has a sweet spot—and that is when my heart is in an attitude of prayer and love. In that sweet spot, I can open my eyes to see both perspectives right in front of me.
It’s all in the perspective. Just like when I finally understood how other people could see that dress so differently than I did, a change in perspective on my marriage was all it took to get me to take that first step toward a better marriage.
In case you’re wondering: when it comes to the dress, I’m a white-and-gold girl–but I can see the blue and black now, too.
Addendum: If you try really hard and can’t see the other color scheme in the dress, that’s perfectly fine. This was my mind-blowing experience. 🙂
However, if you keep trying to see your marriage from your husband’s point of view and just can’t get there, keep at it. Ask other people to help you see what you can’t see on your own. Ask God to show you what you need to see.