Unhappy Marriages

There are no perfect marriages, because there are no perfect people. Love overcomes the imperfections in marriage. Love "keeps no record of when it has been wronged." The perfectionist comes into a marriage with unrealistic expectations. "And they lived happily ever after" is the expectation of a perfectionist. Truth is, there are happy times and sad times in marriage, even mad times. Perfectionism never works in intimate relationships, because the expectation level is far too high.

Dr. Alan Entin did a research study on perfectionism with 76 couples. He discovered unhappy marriages where the expectation level was too high. The perfectionist was focused on a "magical fantasy" in marriage. Perfectionism may work on the job, but not in intimate relationships. The perfectionist uses sarcasm and nagging in dealing with marital problems. The perfectionist becomes unhappy in the marriage, because the expectations are unreasonable.

Recognize perfectionism as a real enemy of your marriage. If only one partner is a perfectionist, it leads both husband and wife to an unhappy relationship. Love is not built on perfectionism. "Love does not demand its own way."

If you are a perfectionist, admit it. Ask your spouse to help you deal with the problem. If both of you are perfectionists, help each other to identify examples of the problem. Do so in loving kindness. Ask for God's help and love in your marriage. "God is love." That's the reason He is so patient with us.

Avoid sarcasm and nagging. They don't work. They make a bad situation worse. Realize that nagging and sarcasm are tools of perfectionism. Ask your mate to forgive your sarcasm and nagging. Look for the positive things in your marriage. Compliment your spouse for the things you appreciate.

Dr. Alan Entin suggests establishing "attainable goals" in your marriage. Refuse to let perfectionism lead you into unrealistic expectations. It is setting your marriage up for failure.

Build your marriage on real love. More than romantic or erotic passion is a love which is unconditional. It's the God-kind of love. "Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged" (First Corinthians 13:5, NLT).