I have the perfect marriage.

I mean, it took me a while to realize it. For a long time I thought my marriage was average at best, and in the crapper at worst. There was even a time I wasn’t sure it would survive. 

You wouldn’t know it was perfect just by looking. If you were a fly on the wall in my home, you’d see what appeared to be an ordinary marriage. You’d witness disagreements and silent treatments, irritated looks and exhausted sighs. You’d see two very tired parents eating sandwiches for dinner and falling asleep at different times, probably even in different places.

The old me wouldn’t have considered it perfect. 

Perfect, back then, was defined by home-cooked meals, romantic date nights, and spontaneous gifts. I thought perfect would look like the mountain top, home run, explosions-in-your-belly type of love, day in and day out. 

But it turns out, perfect looks like going to Target on a Friday afternoon with all three kids to get first day of school outfits and, without instruction, watching him take the boy-nado (the boy who acts like a tornado) to look at toys while I help the girls try on clothes. 

It looks like going to Lowe’s afterwards to buy a new faucet for the one that’s been leaking for a year in the bathroom, because he knows the key to my heart is updated hardware.

It looks like tag-teaming in the car, me peeling an orange while he changes the boy’s underwear because he HAS to wear his new batman pair right now

It looks like stealing a kiss from the driver while the kids fight in the backseat about how “SHE WON’T STOP LOOKING AT ME!”

It looks like letting him go out for dinner with friends and then watching him walk through the door an hour later with a molten chocolate cake for you to share.

It looks like patience, where there didn’t used to be patience, understanding where there didn’t used to be understanding.

It looks like apologizing and then apologizing again, and feeling, each time, like you’re getting a little bit closer to getting it right.

It looks like growing together, apart, and then back together again.

It’s perfect because it’s real, and it doesn’t give up. It doesn’t look like the movies, or even like I thought it would.

But I’m starting to realize a perfect marriage isn’t one that never experiences the ugly valleys of heartache. It’s actually those valleys that perfect us; it’s there where our sharp, jagged edges are sanded down by the winds and currents of the harsher conditions. We don’t come out of the valleys the same. We come out a little bit closer to what the other one needs, and a little bit closer to our image bearer.

You might not think our marriage is perfect because those valleys exist.

But I say it is because they do.

Marriage is not perfect if you’re looking for flawless. But if you’re looking for two flawed people who show up, even in the valley, that’s the kind of perfect we are.

A perfect marriage is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other.

We are refusing, and because of that, we’re getting better.

That makes our marriage is perfect. And yours just might be, too.

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Jordan Harrell

Jordan writes about the days with her three kids and wonderful husband to help her get through the days with her three kids and wonderful husband. She's really good at eating chocolate, over-analyzing everything, and forgetting stuff. In 2017, Jordan founded fridaynightwives.com, a blog and boutique that serves as a ministry for coaches' wives. You can find her at jordanharrell.comFacebookInstagram, or Twitter.