Relationship Longevity: Perfection or Not?

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We’d like our relationships to be perfect. That would be ideal, but not realistic. Looking for perfection in all things can cause stress, disappointment, and unrealistic expectations. Changing your perception of perfection will increase your chances of having the gift of a lifetime marriage.

Recently I was visiting a couple in the assisted living facility where I take my therapy dog, Britan, to bring a little joy to the residents. This couple has been together for over 65 years. He sits in a recliner watching TV with his medical equipment, and she is nearby on the couch usually cross-stitching or keeping busy with her crafts. It occurred to me how perfect they seem. On this particular day, I asked them if they ever argue. To my surprise, the gentleman replied, “Yes, every day.” I didn’t expect that answer. So I asked, “Who wins the argument?” The answer I got was, “We both do!”  Wow, the truth is they don’t have a perfect relationship all the time, but they have never abandoned each other.

If your marriage has become contentious and less than perfect you might have thoughts of abandoning ship. Maybe you think you can find perfection elsewhere, with someone else.

Lifelong commitment is not about perfection. It takes overlooking the small annoyances and seeing the bigger picture. Are you annoyed and tired of?

Constantly picking up the socks your spouse leaves around.                                         playful happy couple

Having to remind them where their wallet, keys, and cell phone are.

Remind them to feed the dog or not to give them too many treats

Forgetting it’s trash day to take the trash out.

This list of annoyances can go on and on but you get the point.

Rather than dwelling on the small things, keep in mind why you picked your spouse and why you love them. Remember their cute smile, the loving hugs, and the words of encouragement when you needed it most. You may come from two different worlds; but somehow, you picked each other. Your bond and your love is the glue that holds your family together. The key to a long-lasting relationship is accepting your spouse with all their faults. Everyone has faults. No one is going to be perfect but your ability to not focus on those things and continue to find similarities will bring you closer to the perfection you seek.

When you navigate the small annoyances of life, the big ones are no longer a challenge. As Scott Peck said it so brilliantly in his book The Road Less Traveled:

 “Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult—once we truly understand and accept it—then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”p 15

Allow the little annoyances to fade away. Accept each other’s uniqueness and allow differences to exist. They are the building blocks of a strong and forever after relationship. It’s good to have high expectations but don’t let the small things sink your relationship. Keep your expectations of marriage realistic and encourage your partner to do the same. When in doubt remember the Serenity Prayer “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”


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