Marriage: Perfectionism and Grace

By Sarah Logan, Contributing Writer

Because this is about having a Biblical Marriage, I assume most who are reading are aiming to follow the Bible. It is a wonderful notion: taking the Bible, reading it (together, even!) and applying it and especially what it can teach us about marriage.

Laying Aside Perfectionism in Marriage

Image courtesy of [Simon Howden] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

As I look at the state of marriage in both the Christian sub-culture and the broader culture, many questions are raised. I don’t want to go into statistics and how many are marrying, shaking up, divorcing, re-marrying etc. You can find that elsewhere. What I really want to look into is how sometimes as earnest, Bible-believing Christians, we intensify our perfectionism and miss the boat – that even many un-believers are succeeding at.

It is good to consider Biblical roles, ideal husbands, wives and the nitty-gritty of uncomfortable subjects such as sacrificial love and God-honoring submission. I am thankful for this team of writers who have covered these topics – and will continue to! At the same time I see many succeeding marriages of those who don’t place God at the center of their lives! It seems they practice what we preach – unbeknownst to them!

I see Christians staring down their noses at their spouses imperfections. I see them evaluating and tweaking and harping and complaining and whining and comparing themselves to others. These bad habits are a surefire way to dampen the romantic mood of your marriage! Our ideas of marriage can be so high, lofty and ideal that we fail to develop true companionship, friendship, loyalty, grace, affection and love.

Please don’t miss what I’m saying here. I’m not saying that we should follow the model of the world. Right now I am overhearing a discussion of someone considering marriage: “I am thinking of marrying this man…
Do you want to marry him?
I don’t know.
What does God want for you?
I don’t know.
Have you asked Him?
No.
Well, why don’t we pray right now?

Why did I include that? Because even though it applies to those seeking to marry, the principle is the same in marriage. SEEKING WHAT GOD WANTS.

This applies to all of life. A couple who ignores God may have some happiness in marriage. But we have such an advantage – an outside source of wisdom and blessing Who can enter into every detail of our lives and Who waits to be called on for guidance and help.

Marriages that succeed follow Biblical principles even if they don’t know it.

1. They put the marriage before their individual preferences

Considering each other and giving worth to their spouses desires, thoughts, opinions and feelings.

Philippians 2:4 “Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.”

 

2. They understand and appreciate the purpose of their union as going beyond merely their own self-fulfilment.

3. They give without keeping checks and balances on who gives more.

They give without keeping record or nursing grudges.

“Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful and endures through every circumstance.” 1 Corinthians 13:7

 

4. They view themselves as a team working towards a common goal.

5. They practice gratitude – it is a habit that flows from much use.

6. They treat each other with dignity and worth.

Yes, they may have conflicts, and sometimes err in expressions of anger, but they repent of these failures and seek restitution. They don’t ‘sweep it under the carpet’.

“Make allowance for each others faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” Colossians 3:13

 

7. They live as responsible adults.

They don’t blame others for their poor choices. They made amends. They evaluate errors and aim for growth and change.

I started by saying that the spirit of perfectionism can deaden the vibrancy of marriage. And then proceeded to give you a list of how people who do this well succeed! I am not trying to irritate you – I want to point out that once we let go of hang-ups and quit putting our spouses under the microscope and simply work on our own growth and change, the spirit of Grace descends and relationships flourish.

Comments

  1. What a wonderful post! Thank you for encouraging husbands and wives to live more for each other than for themselves. If we only granted more grace to our spouses — just as Jesus pours His grace on us when we stray — what wonderful marriages we would have!

    I have shared my simple suggestion to other marrieds before: be kind to each other.

    Thank you again, and many blessings in the new year to you and yours!
    ~Anna

  2. MARLITA M CAGAS says:

    Ma’am Susan,

    Thank you for this excellent article! It hits me to the core. Blessed be the Lord’s name! I’m so blessed to know also about your mother-in-law who was a 46-year missionary in Africa. My trembling gratitude to God goes upward for the souls’ salvation in that place through her. Blessings to you!