Perfection is a Myth, I Promise.
With my most effective Relationship Counsellor tools in hand, my favourite rom-com playing in my head, and the love I felt for this man I had spent 9 years fantasising about marrying in my heart, I was well on the way to being the perfect wife. Perfectionism had a place in my childhood doll-house, but it no longer has a place in our house.
I am a self-diagnosed perfectionist. And while my keen attention to detail comes in handy when planning a wedding, dinner parties and tomorrow’s outfit, perfectionist tendencies have no place in marriage.
From a very young age I felt a calling to marriage. My childhood games consisted of pretend calling friends asking, ‘How’s your husband?’. I would spend hours on my bedroom floor playing out the perfect marriage and family, Barbie-style. So, with my most effective Relationship Counsellor tools in hand, my favourite rom-com playing in my head, and the love I felt for this man I had spent 9 years fantasising about marrying in my heart, I thought I was equipped for this whole marriage thing. I went into full blown ‘wifey’ mode. I had decided nothing, but perfection would be tolerated. I would guard against disconnection, I would always voice unmet expectations, I would communicate clearly and directly, never raise my voice, be his helper, stock our fridge, we would never run out of milk in this house, TV would only be watched on occasion, home cooked meals every night, sex all the time, no room for error. I pulled it off at times too and managed to package it just right. The problem is that a bomb packaged with a pretty bow, is still a bomb. And the bomb detonated.
I had found myself caught up in the bondage of perfectionism. I was becoming more invested in chasing the fantasy, than enjoying the reality of two imperfect people learning to love one another by looking at the One who loves us perfectly. I set impossible expectations that were doomed to fail, I run myself ragged, I look to the world as my compass when I should be looking to my husband, leaning into and trusting his affirmations, and looking to God to lead me out of my wilderness into the open fields of His grace where I can rest and heal and find the freedom to enjoy this honeymoon season of our marriage. When I strive for perfection, I rob myself and Drew of the opportunity to love authentically. When I am repulsed by my own imperfections, I subtly send the message that I will not tolerate and will be repulsed by Drew’s imperfections. By wishing to achieve perfection especially so early on in our marriage I deprive us of the journey of learning, growing, and building in order to solidify the foundation that will last us a lifetime. Let's be real, I haven't yet perfected the art of not striving for perfection yet, its a daily choice I still have to make to be more conscious and intentional about focusing on progress rather than perfection,
When I an overwhelmed by my need for perfection I pause and ask myself "What fear is really at the root of my perfection?" "Will striving for perfection SERVE me today?".
Perfectionism is rooted in fears and a lack of self-acceptance. You know the fear of failure and unrealistic expectations we set for ourselves? Well those don't serve us. These fears leave us feeling disconnected and inadequate. By being real and kind with myself first and foremost, I acknowledge the fear, I pray, and I talk about it. I am incredibly blessed to be married to a man who is Love in Action, who welcomes my flaws with open arms, expects nothing but authenticity from me, shows me grace upon grace, he loves the real me, not the fantasy of me, for he never chose Perfect, he chose Simmy, he loves as Christ loves.
Be kind to yourself. Show yourself a little love. Even if you ran out of milk, dinner is from a box, and you don't know whether its the kitchen floors or your flaws that need a better clean. We are all on a journey, and we cannot measure ourselves against the miles we have not yet travelled. Welcome imperfect moments, it is in them that we learn how to live and love better. Make the most out of the ordinary. Be kind to yourself today, in a grace-filled honest way, no matter the things that are far from perfect. Anchor yourself in the knowledge that you are far from finished yet.