I was having a conversation with some friends and a few were lamenting about the shortcomings of their husbands. The husband who would not lift a finger to cook no matter that he had a full time working wife just as he was a full time working husband. The husband who failed to ever be able to jump in with dinner plans when arguably his wife had a far more demanding job than he did. The husband who somehow could not find a way to do laundry despite years of marriage and a full time working wife. I listened quietly and acknowledged that some of the husband’s behaviors were “normal”. I could have easily found examples for my own husband and I am sure he could do the same for me but for whatever reason I chose not to share those examples. Later as I thought about it, I realized perhaps normal was not the word to use but common.
I did not have any meaningful advice at the time but a day or two later after some reflection it struck me. I heard the words of some of the women that I spoke with while writing my book echo in my head.
What is it about your husband that makes him a keeper?
What is it about your marriage that makes you want to stay in it?
It is certainly not about perfection. Life is not perfect, marriage is not perfect, our spouse is not perfect and neither are we. But ask yourself this question?
Does your partner make your life better?
How does your partner’s presence in your life compare to your life before you met him or her?
I certainly don’t expect your answer to be “Ooh it’s perfect now!” and for that matter neither should you. If your answer is it that you think it is worse… Get help immediately. I suggest that you find a good marriage counselor to investigate it further.
And if your answer is yes it is better. Focus on the ways that he or she makes your life better. Consider writing a list because that may help. When he or she does one of those far from perfect annoying things or when he or she fails to live up to your expectations of them; or when your marriage fails to live up to your expectations of marriage, take a look at that list. Focus on those positives rather than the shortcomings.
Hopefully even if after you realize yes he or she is certainly not perfect, and yes marriage may not be quite the perfect institution you thought it was going to be, you can still smile and think “I am sure glad that we got married andyes I will marry you again.”