Marriage: Nobody’s Perfect

Marriage: Nobody's Perfect

She was such a sweet lady– soft-spoken, kind, and genteel. A pastor’s wife. A long time friend of my husband’s family, I got to know her better when I was a young mother and we moved into a house near hers. She and her husband, both now retired, had not been blessed with children, but she doted on mine and became a mentor to me for the short time we lived there.

I always admired the way she and her husband related to each other, and I’ll never forget the day she told me, “You know, in fifty years of marriage, we have never raised our voices at each other.”

Well. That was a punch in the gut.

She might as well have handed me a Marriage Report Card with a big fat red “F” on it. Because I’d raised my voice at my husband plenty of times (and he to me), and at that point we had only been married about eight years.

Was my marriage doomed to failure? Why didn’t my husband and I have the perfect relationship this couple had? We were in the ministry, too. Shouldn’t we have a completely peace-filled home with nary a yell or an argument to be heard?

I’ve thought about this dear lady’s statement many times over the years. Maybe she just had a bad memory. Or maybe her definition of raising one’s voice and mine weren’t the same. And, though she was honest as the day is long, I even considered for a microsecond that she might have been stretching the truth.

But maybe what she said really was true. Maybe she and her husband really HADN’T ever raised their voices.

And you know what? So what.

That doesn’t mean they had a perfect marriage. Because nobody does.

It’s easy to look at couples you’re friends with, or couples at church, or those “get a room, already” couples on Facebook, and think they’ve got it all together. They never argue. He’s always adoring. She’s always affirming.

Underneath what looks like “perfect” is complaining or disrespect or lust or manipulation or undermining of authority or rudeness or financial problems or resentment or inattentiveness or…or…or…

Every couple struggles with something(s) in their marriage, because every marriage starts with the same components: two sinful, broken people. No matter how great and godly our upbringing or how long we’ve been saved, that sinful nature is still lurking beneath the surface, just waiting for someone to cross it.

I want my way. And so does he.

I think I’m right. And so does he.

Eventually, no matter how nice and kind and loving we are, the ugly comes out.

And, believe it or not, that’s good news for our growth in Christ.

Have you ever picked up a freshly split chunk of wood? It’s a far cry from a lovely mahogany dining room table, isn’t it? What transforms that splintery lumber into a gorgeous piece of furniture? A lot of work by a master craftsman. And it’s not always a pleasant process for the wood. It involves lots and lots of sanding. Coarse grit rubbing against stubborn, prickly timber.

That’s what marriage is often like– two rough people rubbing each other the wrong way. And as we do, God gives us opportunities to

forgive

be patient

humble ourselves

extend grace

and take up our crosses, follow Him, and become more like Jesus through the whole messy, uncomfortable process.

So when you see those “perfect” couples, learn from what they’re doing well, but don’t put pressure on your marriage or your spouse to measure up to a standard that doesn’t even exist.

Because nobody’s perfect.

 

Michelle Optimized Signature

*I’ve just been informed that the picture in my article, American Gothic, is a father and his spinster daughter, not a husband and wife. Apparently, she’s got a great relationship with her dad and has come to him for marital advice. He’s read my article and is giving her the wise counsel to stop expecting every man she dates to be flawless, because “nobody’s perfect”.

Yeah, let’s go with that :0)

See, perfect example of how nobody’s perfect! Thanks to our awesome readers who helped me learn something new today by letting me know!

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Michelle is a women’s Bible study author, ministry wife, and home schooling mom. She and her husband have six children in their tweens, teens, and twenties. Michelle enjoys reading, spending time with family, and staying active at church and in women’s ministry. Her goal in writing, speaking, and teaching is to train church ladies to be “Mighty Amazon Women” of God: strong in godliness, humility, submission, discernment, kindness, wisdom, apologetics, and hermeneutics.

Comments

  1. says

    Love these thoughts Michelle. It reminds me of my parents who have been a ministry couple for over thirty years. I have heard so many people say that they think my parents have a perfect marriage, that they have got it all figured it out (and that ministry life must be a breeze! HA!) But the truth is they aren’t perfect, they’ve raised their voices and disagreed, etc. They aren’t a perfect marriage, but despite that, they have still given my siblings and I an example of a good marriage (something I hope to give my own kids.) Not a perfect example, because only Christ can be that for us! Anywhoot, thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  2. says

    Hi Christie,

    Visiting from Spiritual Sundays. I totally agree with you. I, too, have heard from a married couple that they never raised their voices with one another in all of the 30+ years of being married. I didn’t believe it and felt very convicted. I’m not even sure that is possible. But then again maybe it is. But as you say marriage joins two imperfect people who are sinful and raised voices are inevitable. I’ve been married for 24 years, and it has not been easy. But I pray regularly and I see God working in me and my husband. I can write a book. Anyway, I invite you to come visit me at http://virtuouswomanministry.blogspot.com.

    Blessings,
    Judy

  3. eunkyungsuh says

    I submitted your post to Stumble Upon. I’d like to see Christian blogs saturate the internet to spread God’s word everywhere and drown out the messages of the Enemy. We have to be as accessible as the stuff “of the world.” So- here’s to it! Blessings~

  4. says

    Michelle,
    Thanks for a great post! It’s so easy to look at other couples and become discontent with your own marriage. I loved what you said about learning from what they do well without imagining they’re perfect. I also loved your bio and what you love to teach women to be: “strong in godliness, humility, submission, discernment, kindness, wisdom, apologetics, and hermeneutics.” Many of us just focus on being good wives and mothers (both VERY important) and don’t go on to learn all we can about God and His Word and what it means to be a good Berean. Thanks for linking up at Mondays @ Soul Survival. Donna

  5. says

    I’ve always found it fascinating, comments by your “perfect” pastor’s wife who said that they never raised their voices against one another in 50 years: how, in any way, does a comment like that help? We have this idea that the more put together we seem, the more we “minister” to others, but all we’re really doing is making other people feeling inadequate and, more importantly, lying to ourselves about how great we are. Give me an honest, forthright person with a messy house any day. We can sit and drink tea together.

  6. says

    Great reminder! I’m a bit of a yeller, too. I’m not happy about it, nor is my husband. He tends to stuff things inside. We’re both doing better at saying something before we get to the point of saying something we regret. We still have a long way to go. 🙂

  7. Sybil Brun says

    It is so true, “Every couple struggles with something(s) in their marriage, because every marriage starts with the same components: two sinful, broken people” I loved your metaphor with the wood and the way you wove this post together! Thanks so much for linking with Make A Difference Mondays!

  8. reginapartain says

    Hi Michelle. Thanks for linking up on the PIntastic Pinteresting Party. I am currently writing a book on how to have a long, happy marriage so this one really caught my eye. You are so right. We are imperfect beings and, as such, no marriage is “perfect”, whatever perfect means. Great job on this post. Thanks again for sharing.

  9. Ali says

    Wow… me and my husband have just recently started going to our pastor and his wife once a week for studies about family. And they have said the same thing! They said they have never, in their whole life of marriage (and that’s about 40 years) had an argument or raised their voices on each other. Me and my husband has barely lived 2 years, and we surely had an argument and raised our voice up. I was so amazed and didn’t know if they just forgot or really were so…. angelic. I love them dearly, but just couldn’t understand… wow. Thanks for this article!

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