We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.
-Sam Keen (as cited in Undone, Chapter 5, by Michele Cushatt*)
You may not marry a perfect person, but if you find a humble person, they will become increasingly perfect throughout their lifetime – and it will be a joy, not a burden, to walk bedside them as they do.
After being married for nine years, I find so much truth in the above statements. I believe the underlying thread is humility. Here is a tidbit for you singles, something I never knew while I was a single person: marriage is so much more about humility than it is about romance. Yup. Sorry, it’s true. But here’s the good part. As each spouse grows in humility and, as Michele put it, learns to pay “more attention to what [is] beautiful and good than to the handful of things that [are] wrong,” the byproducts you experience will be romance and happiness. Here’s the best part. This type of love, built on mutual humility and trust, will be sweeter than anything you dreamed of while you were single. And the love just keeps growing.
When I first met Allan, I did not have a “head-over-heels” crush on him. He started showing interest and pursuing immediately, and if you know him, you know that he doesn’t hold anything back. I remember telling one of my friends, “He’s nice…but he’s a bit…much.” Good thing he was persistent; he gave me time to push through my doubts.
In the first few years of being together (dating and marriage), we had some major communication style clashes and we also were faced with some trying times that added extra burden onto our relationship. I think the main hurdle to overcome though, more than all of that, was my own idealistic expectation of who I wanted Allan to be for me. Once I began to put my own expectations aside and opened my eyes to who God created him to be…my love for him deepened, and I appreciated and enjoyed our marriage so much more. For example, I wanted him to be more “romantic” like he was when we first met (flowers, surprise notes, etc.). I began to see though, how “romantic” and affectionate and caring he already was being through everything he does for me. He shares in all the household duties (his share may actually be more than mine), he lets me get away for my alone time while he takes care of the kids, he makes my coffee/tea every morning, and he makes sure that we have our “coffee time” in the morning and “snuggle time” at night…just to name a few. Another example is that I wanted him to be sensitive and be able to listen like my girlfriends did when I was expressing my feelings to him. Um, yeah. Not going to happen with a guy. I mean, he tries his best…he really does. Some days are better than others. But it’s never going to be exactly like pouring my heart out to one of my closest girlfriends, who knows exactly how to respond. Instead, I began to see that he’s never afraid to speak the truth in love, even if it may offend me a little in that moment. He is always honest with me, out of his love for me.
Ten years later, I am way more in love with him than when we first met. I appreciate him so much more. I sometimes even get a little giddy like a high school girl when I see him or think about him. Our love continues to grow. Aside from having Jesus as our firm foundation, I can attribute the ever increasing joy of our marriage to one main factor: humility.
This post was reflecting on Chapters 5 and 6.
Discussion Questions for the book club:
–If you are married, what were some of your mate’s attributes that irritated you at first but became something you appreciate? If you are single, what idealistic expectations do you think you have towards your future mate?
–Even though I only covered Chapter 5 in the above post, Chapter 6 had some profound statements. I loved how Michele came to the conclusion that peace wasn’t a feeling or absence of fear. Peace is a person. In what tangible ways has the Prince of Peace shown Himself to you (the example Michele gave was the Christmas Eve service she attended)?