We all have flaws. And sometimes courtship and marriage showcases them in a new light. There have been multiple times over the past several months when I was shocked by my own imperfections. Wow, I was really rude. Wow, I sound incredibly arrogant. Wow, I'm a wimp. Wow, I've got a lot of weird defenses built up. Wow, I most definitely fall short of the glory of God. Every now and again, I wonder how on earth Garrett puts up with me, let alone still likes me.
The showcasing of flaws goes both ways. And my wonderful man is not perfect. In fact, sometimes he's REALLY not perfect. Ah-hem. At the beginning of our relationship, I was a little surprised to find out that Prince Charming isn't as error-free as I imagined. Oh, to be sure, I knew nobody was perfect...theoretically. But somewhere in my subconscious, I expected all his imperfections to be irrelevant and minor -- you know, like he left his dirty clothes on the floor or he put the toilet paper roll on upside-down. To which faults, I would smile and graciously overlook them. I didn't foresee some of the more vital things we had to talk through.
But talk through them we did. And that's part of how we knew this relationship would work. Because relationships aren't built on two people who always think exactly the same way. They are built on two people who stick with each other and grow because of each other.
And they're built on something else, too. They're built on appreciation of each other. Did you know that some of our so-called flaws are not really flaws? Some things get labelled as flaws because of culture rather than because God calls them flaws. And, sometimes, something that gets us labelled as "weird" in one set of friends earns us a title of respect in another group of friends.
I'm a quieter, less-obtrusive person usually. That's my nature. In some circles, that gets labeled as shy, awkward, easy-to-forget, defective.
I like to learn things and to be able to teach them to others. In some circles, that gets labeled as geeky, bookish, brainy arrogance.
I am a strong person, flexible on most things, but completely immovable on others. I like a strong leader, and if my strong leader is doing something wrong, I have absolutely no qualms about facing them head-on. That solidity is actually really scary to some people.
I'm athletic. I like to run and climb and sword-fight (I'm no good at it yet, FYI) and throw things (spear, ball, knife, etc). In some circles, that's not very feminine.
But these are things that Garrett doesn't just tolerate in me...he actually likes them. These were qualities he found attractive in me...some of them were skills and traits he was looking for in a wife.
Do you have any idea how cool that is? To find out that some of the things that are unique about you are of great value? Do you know how much it means to both of us that the other one APPRECIATES us for who we are?
So, from the perspective of a girl who will be married in a little over a month, part of marriage is this:
- Discovering your own flaws (AAAAAH!) and working through them with God's help
- Being grateful for a spouse who loves you in spite of your flaws and helps you become better
- Offering grace and forgiveness and love to your also-flawed spouse and never give up on them.
- Thriving with the encouragement your spouse gives you over the wonderful unique things about you.
- Constantly finding things to appreciate in your spouse.
And, all in all, marriage is a marvelous thing, and I highly recommend it.