Often, when we get married, we say we love our spouses 'flaws and all.'
Lately, I have been thinking about that and realizing it is not all that kind. Who am I to say that the person I adore most in the world is or isn't flawed? How do I set myself up as that kind of judge?
Sure, each of us has our own struggles, our own growing edges. We sometimes make mistakes and hurt one another. And certainly, we each have our own way of doing things.
I am someone, for instance, who leans toward anxiety. My husband and I joke that I like to 'pre-pone', as opposed to postpone, everything big and small that is looming on the horizon, from haircuts to major life changes. I want to run through every possible way they could turn out and try to feel what I might feel if each outcome were to happen, especially the bad ones.
Jeff does nothing like this, and sees no point in considering how he might feel about things that have not occurred. He really does not understand why I need to do this, either. Yet he refrains from criticizing my way of handling things and does not consider it a 'flaw', even though it is foreign to him. He thinks it is all part of the 'rare and curious' being who is his wife. I also don't fault him for not being wired the same way as me, and as I am 'pre-poning' I don't expect him to join in.
The same dynamic is true when we are driving and Jeff provides what he calls 'running commentary' about other drivers around us, which I would describe in perhaps slightly less polite terms. It's not my way of dealing with the world, but it is part of who he is, and so I do not regard it as a 'flaw' or consider it wrong.
I often hear couples casually say that they love their partners despite x: their eating habits, spending habits, lateness, snoring, or something. Often this is light-hearted, but deep down I think it says something about how we can easily see our own habits, feelings, and ways of doing things as 'correct', and then judge others, especially our loved ones, according to a standard that we set. It has changed not only my marriage, but my relationships in general, to consider that other people are as innocent as I am, and generally trying to do their best according to their own ways.
We are all created in the image of God, and therefore we are all 'very good', according to Genesis. I read an anecdote once where the writer, (who I wish I could remember), was in the middle of an argument with her mother, and had the sudden realization that God was probably not looking down at her mother and thinking, 'what a witch!' God was probably thinking of her mother, and her, as God's beloved children.
And any flaws or faults that we do have are between each of us and God, who is always calling us to love more, forgive more, have more faith in God's ways. In the meantime, it doesn't really help to have others point out where we need improvement. And love between us grows more deeply when we can truly see each other as flawless.