Thursday, February 21, 2013

My "Perfect" Marriage ~ A New Definition

We started out so sweet; an incredibly romantic, nearly perfect love story.  It was love at first sight (or should I say first chat?). 

God can use whatever tool He wants to bring two people together.  In our case it happened to be a cheesy, so called Christian website. 

We started chatting at the end of March.  We talked on the phone for hours.  We met face to face, half way between my home in Midwestern Indiana and his in Northeast Iowa, at the end of April.  We got engaged at the end of June.  And married at the end of August.  Some people saw it as a fast and furious courtship.  When you know you've found what you've been looking for, you just know.  That's how it was for us. 

Just look at us...
We were blissfully happy on our wedding day!

Then life happened.  It just did.  Even worse, we happened. 

Eight and a half years later I post pictures like the one below on my Facebook. All smiles. Looks almost perfect, doesn't it?  It's easy to give off this "perfect life" persona, not even meaning to.

Reality check: Marriage, parenthood, LIFE can be hard. 

Yes, we still love each other.  Yes, we're happy and incredibly thankful for all our blessings.  Yes, he's a terrific guy and he says I'm a terrific gal.  Still we've had our ups and downs like all people do.   

We've been blessed with healthy babies, 2 precious boys.  Then, there were the 3 miscarriages that challenged and increased our faith (not to mention the ways parenting has stretched us!). 

We've experienced good weather and hearty crops.  Then, there were the droughts and low cattle prices.  Big deals for a farmer and his wife, our whole livelihood.

We've faced health and family issues, sleeplessness, bad attitudes and parenting dilemmas. 

And, guess what, we don't always see eye to eye.  Gasp!

Even though we're followers of Jesus Christ and we desire to honor Him with our lives, we fail.

God never promised us that this life (or our marriage) would be easy. He did promise that He will go with us, helping, guiding and enabling us through this journey. He also promised that if we do it His way He will bless us. His way is Perfect

The problem is we don't always follow His way, we follow our flesh.  We're imperfect.  Therefore our marriage is imperfect.  Or is it?

A few months ago our pastor preached on Matthew 5:48.  "But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect."  These words were spoken by Jesus himself.  Being the perfectionist that I am that word "perfect" always bothered me.  How can we ever be perfect as He is perfect?  When our pastor explained the definition of this word in the original language the way it was used in this text, it all made perfect sense (no pun intended). 

Perfect: maturing, growing, thriving.  Having mature motives.

That definition of "Perfect" gave me a whole new outlook.

Perhaps my marriage is Perfect after all.  Because it is in the every day stuff of life, through the challenges and triumphs that we share, that we are maturing, growing and thriving, having mature motives...a prize set before us: Perfect (see def above) Love.

The longer I'm married the more I understand the perfect love that Jesus calls us to. Not that I'm getting it pefectly right.  I'm not.  But I'm learning more about God's kind of love...
Love that casts off fear
Love that's patient and enduring.
 Love that's kind even when we don't feel like it. 
 Love that swallows pride to say sorry. 
 Love that looks past offenses and lets them go.  
Choosing to put on a gentle and quiet spirit, rather than a stormy and demanding one.  Choosing to love my husband, day by day, moment by moment, no matter what. Not because he deserves it or because I'm so good or he's so good, but because HE is good.  And I'm seeing this same kind of love being modeled through my husband! 
Nope, it's not easy.  It's challenging.  But our marriage is teaching us to be more like Jesus...which is just what we desire. 
So I embrace our "Perfect" Marriage, as we learn and grow together. 
Choosing to love. (It truly is a choice!)
Being stretched. 
Becoming more like Jesus in the process. 
Striving for Perfect Love while living in the reality of our own imperfections. 
It's a perfectly beautiful thing!
To read more blog posts on this topic check out the
Read another blog post about Marriage by me: But God...
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  1. I can so relate! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Whole-heartedly agree! What a real story of what love is. Thanks for sharing it!

  3. I love your definition of perfect. It made me realize that we should think of it as the verb perFECT rather than the adjective PERfect. We should always be perfecting - that is, growing and maturing - ourselves and our relationships rather than simply comparing to some unattainable ideal. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I will definitely remember your new definition of "perfect" when I struggle with how imperfect my marriage is. The new "perfect" is much more achievable!

  5. Marriage does move us toward Jesus. And really that is the point. Thank you for sharing your reflections.

  6. This is a great post! You've given me a new way of viewing the word perfect! Thank you:)

  7. Linked here from Shelly's blog.

    Very good post, and a healthy view of marriage. Marriage is never a matter of having arrived, but of always maturing. Good thoughts.

  8. I'm just now reading this and absolutely LOVE it! :) ~ Alicia


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