Q: Well, the honeymoon is over and I’ve discovered that my spouse is not perfect. Now what?
A: Your wedding may have been like a fairy tale. You were drawn to that moment where a perfect marriage seemed attainable: the dream of spending the rest of your days with the love of your life. And how long did that last for you? Maybe through the honeymoon and, if you were lucky, through the next few months. Then one day you woke up in the real world. You realized you were no longer the shining stars of a dreamy fairy tale. You had to adapt to each other’s schedules and accommodate each other’s preferences. Your real world came complete with job demands, housework, unfulfilled expectations, and arguments. Sure, you were still deeply in love and committed to each other, but your perfect marriage hasn’t been as easy or magical or, well, perfect as you expected, right?
Let’s say it plainly because we all know it’s true: Nobody has a perfect marriage. When the honeymoon ended and the glow of your first year together dimmed, you began to see your partner more realistically. You rubbed each other the wrong way occasionally— not because you wanted to (most of the time) but because your differences and flaws were beginning to show more clearly. In the overall scheme of things, these relational glitches are usually minor. Most are momentary annoyances. But the end result is disappointment.
The antidote to disappointment is persevering love, a love that hangs in there even when your perfect marriage isn’t so perfect, and your spouse doesn’t live up to your ideals. This doesn’t mean that you won’t wound each other or that problems won’t ever occur. And it doesn’t mean that closeness and communication happen automatically. You can be relishing the dream while still working diligently to improve your marriage. In fact, that’s the normal state of a healthy marriage relationship! Willingness to accept that fact and prayerfully work on resolving marital glitches can turn your hope for a perfect marriage into an ever-closer daily reality. And with each step of growth and new level of closeness, you have even more to celebrate!
How to Keep Your Dream Alive
Talk it out. Communicate freely with each other and keep no inappropriate secrets.
Love without strings. Forgive each other when you are wronged and seek forgiveness when you offend.
Ask, “What can I do for you?” Eagerly seek to discover and meet each other’s needs.
Hang tough. Instead of caving in to difficult circumstances, face and conquer them.
Remain true. Consciously guard yourselves against threats and temptations that could pull your marriage apart.
Stay close. Work at maintaining emotional, physical, and spiritual closeness.
Go the distance. Be committed to keeping your relationship fresh and alive.
*For more practical marriage advice, check out The Great Marriage Q&A Book. It’s available in our online bookstore!