This past weekend we celebrated Nathan’s birthday (I won’t say which birthday), and I enjoy having kids back home and family stop in to visit on these special days. We’ve just passed our 10 year milestone since we met and started dating. I considered all the growth that both he and I have seen in the last 10 years and it’s amazing.
I see the ways couples manage relationships covered in the media, and I think there’s too much emphasis upon perfection, upon finding that soul mate that is everything in your eyes. Not only is this unachievable, but I think it creates a burden of pressure, an onerous obligation, as each partner tries to be something they’re not or cover up their flaws. Speaking for myself, I can’t hide my character flaws from my family. Frankly, I don’t want to expend emotional energy trying to be something I’m not. I can work to mitigate them, to try not to revel in them as just a part of myself and certainly not to rationalize or justify those flaws. However, when I’m tired and crabby and the day is almost done, I know if I’m snarky I can ask forgiveness, and it is granted. As I’ve tried to point out to my children, there is no such thing as the perfect mate – there is such a thing as the perfect mate for you, though.
If you have a partner whose good outweighs the bad, one who treats you well (honestly and respectfully are my biggest issues) and works to help you achieve your goals, that’s a good mate. When we have those imperfections of character (my husband is a bit, err, stubborn, in nature, whereas it has been noted that I am a bit, err, ‘managerial’), you work around those traits. You accept your partners’ flaws as you hope they accept your own. You work to highlight the positives (the work ethic, as I’ve touched upon repeatedly through these blogs, or the dedication to family, or the generosity in spirit). My husband is the most generous man I’ve known, and I count that as a blessing and a boon to our partnership. I know my husband will help me achieve my personal goals (such as pursuing a PhD) even if it’s not in his realm of interest. I know he values I’ll help him achieve his personal goals (such as being a farmer), even if it’s not in my realm of interest. We build up – we don’t tear down. That’s a hallmark of a good mate.
So shout out to my wonderfully supportive husband Nathan. Thanks for all you do for us, for our children, and for our dreams. Thank you for being my “perfect for me mate”.