I may have been late to the party but I started seeing/noticing these hashtags on social media around about 2014. 2017 is more than halfway gone and I still cannot make sense of the thought process that goes with seeing an Instagram picture of a couple and automatically making it a goal you want to attain. I often wondered what exactly about the picture gave sufficient premise. But I may be overthinking it.
I'm not trying to be a scholar here (ok, maybe I am :-)) but a goal is defined as "the object of a person's ambition or effort; an aim or desired result." But then a relationship/marriage is so much more than a picture...it is a cocktail of personalities, careers, baggage, emotions, upbringing, children, the disappointment of past relationships, past hurt, flaws, pressure, life's rollercoaster, etc. More so, it is evolving WORK. So, how would you know what your ambition or desired result is just from seeing one carefully prepared for, posed for, carefully selected, edited, possibly photoshopped, picture on social media?
I just don't get it. But even though that's not what I want to focus on in today's post, it's kinda sorta a smooth segway.
If you are married, by now you've learned that marriage is way beyond the wedding. It is not just a journey, it is a committed journey....one where you have to wake up every morning deciding to continue to co-pilot. Do you remember when you first met your spouse? How perfect he or she seemed? How much s/he worked to get your attention and to keep it? How you couldn't possibly imagine what this perfect human being's flaw could be?
Then you get married and the honeymoon phase fades right before your eyes. And you realize that this perfect human being is not perfect at all. In fact, he gets home, literally steps out of his pants at the doorway to the bedroom and leaves them in the same exact position for days? Actually, what would have taken you an hour to accomplish, it takes her weeks to start? He snores. She doesn't like to clean. He is inconsiderately sarcastic. She gossips too much. She spends too much. He does not know how to control his temper. He does not communicate well. She lies unnecessarily. He is insecure. She is too much of an introvert. She speaks before she thinks. He is too blunt.
The list is endless. But each character defect is real and everytime it rears its ugly (no, beautiful) head, it seems so threatening, sometimes it makes you question the essence of it all. However, the fact that we are human literally equals that we are flawed. There is no such thing as a perfect husband or a perfect wife. Regardless of how perfect anyone looks on paper, there is no single human being that checks off every box on the checklist you created for your perfect spouse. We were all born of/from something, somewhere, some pain..... There's hardly anyone who has lived into adulthood and not experienced some sort of pain and/or hardship that has shaped his or her character. Often, the collateral damage of the formation of said character is a defect, flaw or multiple...
This is the very reason why you should not get married without first discovering, embracing, loving and coming to terms with who you truly are: flaws and all. This realization educates you on the areas of your character that need continuous work. More so, it gives you the maturity and ability to not only love someone else but to committedly accept them, flaws and all. Because that's what marriage truly is.
We often think, "if only my husband was more sensitive", our marriage would be perfect. If only my wife would just lose some weight, I will more attracted to her and then I won't have wandering eyes. If only my husband was rich, we would live in a mansion and be happy. If only my husband was spontaneous, our marriage would be enjoyable.
But what about what s/he does have? Is he kind? Is she committed to you? Is he a great provider? Is she a great mother? Consider the entire package because guess what? If everyone laid out what their spouse's flaws were and you were given the option to exchange your spouse's flaws with someone else's, you will probably run screaming in the other direction. Your piece of the cake is what you signed up for. The commitment you made when you said your vows did not read "only when he puts the toilet seat down", or "only when she can be in the mood for sex every night." It read, for better or for worse.
Now, I am not saying settle or condone an abusive marriage, physical, emotional or otherwise as a flaw. That's not a flaw. That's an epidemic. I am saying work on embracing your package as it was delivered. God gave you this man or this woman to love and care for. So, make a daily choice to do just that. He never said it will be easy. But it's worth it.
There is no perfect time or place to be happy. The world is not (and never will be) devoid of problems. If you keep waiting for the perfect time to be happy, you may never be. We often fantasize about a perfect life and see problems and flaws as hindrances. We waste all our time trying to fix the flaws or waiting for them to magically fade. You may be thinking, "when we buy a mansion, then I will finally be content with him" or "when she loses all her baby weight, then we can get back to how we were while we were dating." While you're waiting for the perfect time, you are losing precious time....to love, to grow, to learn each other, and ultimately to be happy.
So, find the beauty in your partner's flaws. Love them away and you'll find that you'll use your reality to transform your marriage into something stronger. This means erasing all the urges to judge or to fix, and embracing your spouse, as is. It is only in truly accepting a person as they come, flaws and all, that you truly "love".
There will be annoying behaviors, petty fights and hiccups....because remember, there is no such thing as a perfect marriage. When your mindset changes, the difference becomes that those annoying behaviors, petty fights and hiccups stop being nails in the coffin where your marriage could be buried, but the foundation upon which you create a lifelong romance. Like one of my mentors always says, "There is a certain beauty that comes with learning to tolerate, appreciate and celebrate your loved one's flaws...it seems counterintuitive but it births a marriage strong enough to face anything."So, please stop with the #couplegoals , #relationshipgoals and #perfectthisorthat. That only makes you shift focus from your blessings to baseless fantasy. Your marriage may not be perfect but it's yours...yours to work on, yours to enjoy, and yours to love.
If you just read this, regardless of where you are or how pissed you are at your spouse, I challenge you to text him/her and say, "It doesn't matter what happened yesterday. I choose to love you today."
As we all know, this doesn't come easy. On my next post, let's discuss practical steps/tips.....
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