I read lots of marriage books and blogs, and I get rather annoyed with all the talk of how to achieve the perfect relationship, the extraordinary marriage, which shall be the zenith of your human existence, at which point everyday annoyances will dissolve into the mist, and the “happily ever after” credits will scroll by.
Instead, I rather relate to the following quote:
Forget about having perfect relationships. Let’s help couples have “good enough” relationships. ~John & Julie Gottman
My thought is that each year—each hour really—we will have moments of connection and moments of disconnect. If we’re still working on learning to love and be loved, that’s great. That’s progress. But it doesn’t mean we don’t sometimes clash (after all, we are very different people) or disagree (naturally we have separate thoughts and opinions). It just means we choose to stay married and to keep trying to improve. We need to work to stay connected, and to reconnect when we’re drifting apart.
While I sometimes bring lessons learned from my marriage to the table, I don’t think it’s appropriate (or really that interesting, frankly) to share the details of my marital failings. But we have them, just like everyone else. Sometimes I get angry or impatient or think unloving thoughts about the love of my life. As I write this, my very handy hubby is hammering at 10 p.m. while the kids try to sleep, but I’ve learned to live with his eagerness to complete projects over the years (and the kids have learned to sleep through noise). I’m sure I give him plenty to get frustrated about, although I can’t imagine what could be difficult about little ol’ sensitive me!
Despite our failings, we take a long-term view. And after 15 years, I think we’ve gotten to know one another better and learned some about forgiveness and about retaining a sense of humor. Sometimes I think it goes without saying that we are imperfect people who believe in the great tradition of marriage. But in the interest of disclosure, I’ll just come right out and say so. I want to be a positive voice for marriage, to learn more about how to love and be loved within a marriage union, and to share what I learn.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t have high standards for ourselves and for others. I am saying we shouldn’t expect perfection. Whether you are having a great day in your relationship or a “good enough” day, don’t compare yourself to what you think is going on in someone else’s marriage. Let good enough be good enough for today. (But work for something better.) Maybe tomorrow will be the day to have curl-your-toes sex.
Do you sometimes struggle for perfection in your relationship, only to be disappointed? Or do you think having the highest standards elevates your expectations and ultimately delivers better outcomes?
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