"If you look for perfection, you'll never be content.”
—Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
Engaged? Congratulations! You’ve swiped right and said “yes” to a future together. Isn’t it so easy to believe that now your life will be perfect because you’ve found that perfect person? Not so fast. Let me caution you against jumping on the perfection train.
Because your partner will never be perfect. And neither will you.
Yes, I deeply believe in and celebrate love and marriage. But our culture throws the word “perfect” around like confetti and leaves us idealizing the people we love. Unfortunately, this can leave us discontent and consistently disappointed in your partner and your marriage. So let’s reframe this mentality of perfection so it doesn’t backfire and set the stage for an unhealthy partnership in the years ahead.
No one is perfect. It’s okay, and actually healthy, if you don’t think your partner is perfect. That’s what makes space for a love that is realistic, not idealistic. Do yourself and your marriage a favor and move away from a romantic ideology that doesn’t give you room to truly love your partner as they are.
You want a meaningful and authentic connection. We’re all wired for connection, and your marriage has the potential to reveal to you the depth of connection that two people who love each other are capable of. But a meaningful, deep, authentic connection means letting down your guard and showing up fully (not perfectly) to your relationship.
If you’re trying too hard to be the perfect partner or still idealizing that your partner is perfect, it will create barriers that interfere with your ability to deeply, truly connect with each other. There’s no need to hide the imperfect parts of yourself, or ignore the imperfect parts of your partner. If you remove the walls of perfection, you’ll begin to see beauty in yourself, in your partner, and in the meaning and goodness of your connection.
It’s about showing up as you are. If your ideal partner isn’t perfect, what are they? They’re someone who is compatible with you, who resonates with you, and is ready to invest a lot in developing and maintaining your mutual profound love. If you’re not perfect, what are you? Someone who is willing to show up as your real self in order to be seen as you are, and to also see your partner as their real self, too. When you show up just as you are, you can experience an authentic connection and a deeper love for your imperfect partner.
Investing in your marriage will be much more about being in it together, showing up each day and saying “I’m here for love, not perfection.” So let down your walls. Remove the barriers of perfection. Embrace the imperfect, but oh so good journey of realistic, beautiful, profound love.