“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” – Colossians 3:12-14 (ESV).
There is one thing that all married couples have in common in addition to being married: everyone is married to an imperfect, fallible human being. In fact, James 3:2 promises you that your spouse is capable of finding new and unique ways to disappoint you when he states, “for we all stumble in many ways.” Notice the words “all” and “many.” No spouse avoids this reality. They all stumble in many ways.
Since every person is married to an imperfect spouse, every married person will have legitimate disappointments in their marriage. How can you learn to appreciate an imperfect spouse? Acceptance and encouragement are two biblical requirements to consider.
Romans 15:7 says, “Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.“ 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, “So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.”
Share the grace that God gave you with your spouse. It takes great spiritual maturity to love, to offer grace, and to give someone the same spiritual benefits we ourselves have received from our heavenly Father. Get in touch with how much God has done for you — how He has seen every wicked act you’ve ever committed; heard every syllable of gossip; noticed every malicious, ugly, and hateful thought — and still, He loves and died for you. And He’s forgiven you. Transform the focus of your expectations from what you expect of your spouse to what God expects of you. We can’t make any one person do what we think they should do. But we can surrender to what God would have us do in light of that.
A healthy habit is to ask God to change you. When conflict happens ask God to help you with specific weaknesses of your own. That’s right — as backward as it may sound, respond to temptations to judge your spouse by praying for God to change you.
Every one of us is married to an imperfect spouse. We confront different trials, different temptations, and different struggles—but each one of us faces the same reality: living as imperfect people, in an imperfect world, with an imperfect spouse. Learning to love, appreciate, and be thankful for that imperfect spouse is one of the most soul-transforming things you can do. It’s not an easy journey, but it’s a profitable one, and I urge you to commit to it today.
- Is it possible to find the perfect marriage with an imperfect spouse? Why or why not?
- What can we do this week to improve our marriage with an imperfect partner?