Why I Don’t Want a Perfect Marriage

I became a bit incredulous yesterday when a woman on Twitter proclaimed that her marriage was “perfect” once she found a compatible partner. You see, not only do I not believe in perfection (except in the obvious exception of the first sip of hot coffee on a cold morning), I don’t trust it.

Sometimes perfection is a cover.

In many ways, my first marriage was perfect: we rarely disagreed, we shared many views and ideas and we worked together seamlessly. But underneath that facade was a husband who was playing a role and a wife too afraid to turn on the stage lights.

Sometimes perfection is a phase.

In the early stages of a relationship, it is completely normal to place your partner on a pedestal and to casually whitewash over any red flags (or even areas of discord). It’s easy to be perfect when reality hasn’t had time to intrude upon fantasy.

Sometimes perfection is boring.

There’s a reason that artists add a jarring element to their work and writers give their protagonists a flaw. Perfection isn’t interesting. It doesn’t hold our attention or stimulate our thoughts. It demands nothing of us and offers little contrast to prompt gratitude and attention.

And sometimes perfection is protection.

It’s scary to truly accept your partner as an individual with his or her own views, perceptions and decisions. It’s terrifying to see that no marriage, no matter how seemingly perfect, is infallible. It’s much nicer to see your vessel as sink-proof rather than acknowledge the weakness inherent in its construction.

Perfection is illusion.

None of us are perfect in our own right. And when you join two together in a day-to-day venture with long-reaching goals? That imperfection can easily be amplified. Marriage is not a fairy tale. Happily ever after is not a conclusion; it is a choice.

Relationships are not easy.

But that doesn’t mean that they should be a source of constant struggle or endless fear.

There is a wide span between dysfunctional and perfect.

A world between bad and flawless.

Aim to be there.

Finding a compatible (and healthy) partner is important.

But that’s not the end game.

It’s just the beginning of a relationship that requires intention, attention and adaptation.

I don’t want a perfect marriage.

I want a marriage that encourages two imperfect people to become better.

I don’t want a husband that always agrees with me.

Sure, it’s nice to hear that you’re right. It’s validating to have somebody echo your perspectives and pat you on the back for your insight. But it’s also limiting. If you surround yourself with “yes men,” you will never have your assumptions challenged or be forced to confront your own incorrect beliefs and conclusions.

I want to be called out on my B.S. Not because it feels good, but because it forces me to face it. I want to have to defend my thoughts. Not because I always seek debate, but because it requires that I think about a topic rationally and thoroughly. I want to hear other perspectives. Not because I always agree, but because seeing all sides of a thing adds to understanding.

I want a husband that always believes in me.

Although I don’t want a husband that is a sycophantic parrot who agrees with my every utterance, I do want a spouse that believes in me. That sees my potential even when he disagrees with my approach. That trusts that my intentions are sound even when my tactics may be less than ideal. That sees past the noise of the moment and sees the person beneath.

I want a husband that believes in me even though I am far from perfect and that believes in our marriage even when that marriage requires work.

I don’t want a partner to complete me.

I am whole on my own, thank you very much. One of the ironies of a good relationship is that it starts when neither partner needs the other. I’ve lived the life where I experienced a constant fear of losing my spouse. And I don’t want to ever live that again.

I don’t want a person that molds to my every weakness, filling in the areas where I lack. I don’t want somebody that always takes over when I am lacking, shifting all of the burden onto his shoulders. I don’t want dependence. I want interdependence.

I want a partner that complements me.

I want a partner who shares a life vision and philosophy with me. Who has the same overall goals even when the approach may differ. I want my husband to model ways of improving my weaknesses and act as a cheerleader and coach to help me strengthen those areas. I want to do the same for my spouse, not enabling but encouraging.

I want a partner that does the jobs I don’t enjoy or that don’t match my skills. But I also want my partner to teach me how to do them. Even if I never excel, at least I know that I am capable.

I don’t want a relationship that always makes me feel comfortable.

It’s nice to be comfortable. There’s a reason most of us live in conditioned spaces furnished with upholstered pieces. It’s relaxing. But it’s also limiting. Because when you are too comfortable, you become afraid of change.

And change is inevitable.

Growth is optional.

Our adult relationships are often the place where we play out and hopefully resolve the wounds of our childhoods. Common themes of abandonment, codependency and addiction often follow us into our marriages, forcing us to confront uncomfortable truths.

We don’t learn when we’re comfortable. But we also don’t learn when we’re panicked.

I want a relationship that makes me feel safe.

I want a relationship where I feel safe. Not just physically, but emotionally. Where I feel like I won’t be shunned for stating my feelings and I feel able to express my emotions. Where it is understood that a disagreement does not mark the end and that a different view does not represent a different intention.

I want a relationship that may not always be the upholstered chair but that is always a sanctuary to return to. Where I know I’m okay even though I may be a little uncomfortable.

I don’t want a partnership where I never have to compromise my choices.

It’s unrealistic to believe that two people can coexist without some compromise. Whether it be the color on the walls or the number of children, there will be times when one or both partners have to adjust their desires. When the good of the marriage is more important than the good of the individual.

I want a partnership where sometimes my spouse caves in to my desires. And when sometimes I have to subdue mine for his sake. Part of playing nicely is learning how to share.

I want a partnership where I never compromise my core self and values.

But I also want a partnership where I feel at peace and connected to myself. Where I hold true to my values and basic beliefs. Where I am not lost under the weight of the marriage, but serve as one of the foundations of it.

I don’t want a marriage that is perfect.

I don’t want a perfect marriage. A perfect marriage doesn’t have the ability to grow and change as life changes around it. It doesn’t serve to challenge its participants and teach them how to improve. A perfect marriage is a risky marriage; there is no practice in facing adversity from within. When a perfect marriage fails to be perfect, it fails.

I want a marriage that accepts imperfections and grows and adapts. And that encourages me to do the same.

I want a marriage that accepts me as I am. I want a marriage that challenges me. I want a marriage that is exciting and a little uncertain. I want a marriage that requires attention to grow. I want a marriage that looks different in ten years than it does today. I want a marriage that adapts and keeps me on my toes.

I want a marriage that is real.

And real is rarely perfect.

As for the woman on Twitter with the perfect marriage?

I ended the conversation by saying that I am happy for her.

And I am.

I just hope that she doesn’t get cut too deeply if that perfections shatters.

Thank you for sharing!

14 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Want a Perfect Marriage

  1. baffledbaboon – Quirky blogger. Lover of weird things. Inappropriate conversationalist. Awkward hug giver. Possible primate. Visit me at www.baffledbaboon.com.
    baffledbaboon says:

    Human beings aren’t even close to being “perfect”. Our obsession with plastic surgery, diets, etc make that apparent. Not to mention every culture has their own values when it comes to what is considered desirable or not.

  2. Lol, you said you don’t want someone to always agree with you. I want someone who doesn’t always try to convince me he is right. Someone who will tell me his point of view and then let me make my decision.

  3. livebysurprise – Liv is the pseudonym reformed divorcee and single mom - now married, coparenting and working mother of three. She's been featured on ScaryMommy, HuffPost Divorce, The Mid and DivorcedMoms.com. More at http://www.livebysurprise.com.
    Liv BySurprise says:

    Lovely way of putting it Lisa. Especially the part about already being whole.

  4. SassaFrassTheFeisty – Indianapolis, IN – I'm a mother of two-mostly amazing-kids. This is my journey towards healing from the ruin of my marriage and 10 year relationship to my kid's "dad", my stories of dealing with really good and really bad days, learning to cope and move on. I have been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder 1 with mania and ADHD-look! Something shiny!!-and Postpartum Depression. I love completely and passionately. Just don't piss me off, because I'll burn that bridge-and I'll stand on it and watch the flames consume everything. Sass 101 First-As my name suggests I am a Feisty Lil Thang. I tell it like it is. It is no holds barred on my blog. If you expect fluffy puppies, rainbows and sunshine, exit Stage Right because it ain't gonna be here. If you expect no cussing and positivity, and that I pray to a God or deity, exit Stage Left. That's not here either. What's here is real, honest, raw and truthful. This is my journey through the last 18 months from the separation of my husband and the JOYOUS roller coaster my family has been on. Oh yes, I did forget to mention-I am a sarcastic quick witted one. Sasscasm is trademarked by the ever Butch Blah. Don't mess with her Dragon, he eats assholes for breakfast. We have a tribe here that is very exclusive-seriously. If you're lucky enough to enter, you are worthy enough to partake in our Femme Speak. If not, just nod your head yes, and move on. I have Bipolar 1 with mania and I cycle into depression 2 times a year. This year has been an exception to the rule considering this year has just been shit. I've been to my local psych hospital twice in less than 10 months-once for depression, once for a psychotic episode resulting from over medication. YAY! Piss on that shit. If it hadn't been for Blah, I never would have gone. Thank you Blah. I lurve you! I have 2 kids-a boy I call NSLM-Not So Little Man-because Anxious Mom has her LM. Didn't want to steal her LM's thunder :) And I have a daughter referred to as Monkey-it's self explanatory. They are also referred to as my Heathens-yes I can call them that because I gave birth to them, I know them and they act like Heathens at times-just thank the Good Lord they aren't Hellians or I'd be in jail. I have an almost 5 year old purebred Red and Black German Shepherd named May-she's momma's baby, and Monkey is on her THRID guinea pig in about a year-thank her dad for that one. This one is S'mores and he's a wheeker and fat and fluffy. My kids and I live with my parents, because I'm not stable or healthy enough to work and live on my own. I have FINALLY found my magic pill cocktail-for now-and I have clarity for the first time in my life. I no longer use the word "stable" I use baseline. I've been on a lot of meds over the years, and since the last med I was on and overmedicated I have become med sensitive-SUPER YAY. I'm good at recognizing side effects and can tweak a med time better than a dr. Not cocky, just fact. I'm that in tune with my body. I'm also very emotionally charged. My emotions have always ruled my decisions, and I don't see that changing, but I am now better to stop and think things through before making a decision-some of the time. I'm mouthy, but I have a huge heart of gold, and I get hurt easily. And when I talk about people on here in my life off of WordPress they get their own special nicknames. DB-Douchebag. BBFL-Best Bitch For Life-My best friend in Alaska that I HOPE I get to see soon. EG-English Gentleman-a guy that I've bee talking to for a year that lives near Scotland and is on an 8 month trip around the world, and will be stateside in January. I can't wait to meet him in person! Cute Neighbor Guy. There were two guys that were named for the states they lived in, and I think I've deleted everything about Florida but the last post-Thank you Andrew for the title, you brilliant dictionary, you. Then there are my most supportive friends here: Anxious Mom, Andi, Zoe, Diane, Morgue, Blah, Chris, Sparkly Pants ;) Victo, Tessa, Bipolarfirst, bp7o9, Vic, Kitt, Leslie, and my newest BUDDY Andrew. I know I've forgotten some people and I SERIOUSLY apologize given the state of my brain haze, I hope you don't hate me!! I know you don't, I'm just overly dramatic. No I'm not...yeah, yes I am. ;) So, if you can't handle my sarcastic tongue and my cursing that can make sailors blush, the lobby exit is in the top right corner with a little X. That being said, I hope you new arrivals aren't just looking for blogs for numbers-this isn't that kind of blog. And I rather like interactive people on my little slice of the crazy pie-well, more like peach cobbler because it's my favorite but ANYWAY. I don't follow back just because you follow me. I may not be too picky about my food, but I'm picky about my men and the blogs I follow. With that, I shall bid you Welcome to Sasstopia, and may you stay to be among my Sassafrains. Reggie my Pegacorn is tethered out back as he doesn't do well with new people. I shall be shining my spork launcher on the table, next to my melon baller and grapefruit spoon all soaked in syphilis. If you have any questions, fucking ask. I don't do vague. LOVE YOU! <3
    sassafrassthefeisty says:

    Reblogged this on SassaFrass, The Feisty and commented:
    I think A LOT of people go into any kind of relationship with this mentality of “Perfection” and forget that we all need to remember what is “REAL”. I used to want happiness, but I learned it had to come from me first, and that my husband couldn’t give me what I was seeking to validate because of his engrained resentment towards me. I had to let alot go, including my expectations of our marriage. I’m ok right now. I’ve learned and I continue to grow, and I hope one day that I can have a real relationship and marriage to someone that challenges me and I challenge them. This is what Life is about-challenges, learning, adapting and growing. <3

  5. I love this post. If you go in search of perfection, you are bound to end up disappointed. Perfection is an ideal, it doesn’t exist. Conflict will always happen, and that’s not a bad thing. Conflict is how we learn, grow, and build understanding of each other. But for some reason conflict is treated as a flaw, or a sign that something “isn’t perfect”.

  6. Cory Pasqualetto – I'm in my 40's I've had two marriages and have worked various jobs in my lifetime from supermarkets to restaurants to Information Tech. This started out as a continuation of my divorce story but since my last romantic partner passed away suddenly without any warning it has now become more of a place to write out my thoughts and feelings. I have made most of my teenage dreams and fantasies come true and now I need to figure out what else to do.
    Cory Pasqualetto says:

    Very well put…My first marriage was far from anywhere being considered perfect. It was a total “train wreck” However I considered my second marriage to be perfect in all aspects. Next time around I am in agreement with what you have written.

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