My father-in-law has a profound little saying that sums up a Biblical attitude spouses should have to one another. The saying? “She’s not perfect but she’s perfect for me.
She’s not perfect. By making this statement, the spouse is communicating to himself that he married another sinner. Too many partners are biting and devouring each other because they demand perfection of the other. Many a wife has said, “I would have the perfect marriage if I had a more spiritual husband.” And many husbands are saying, “Why can’t my wife be more like this other woman?” In these unspoken thoughts is an unwillingness to accept the other person. We cannot see the log in our own eyes but we can see clearly the speck in our spouse’s eye. We say to ourselves, “God has put me into his life to change him/her.” So we judge and nag and grumble and complain.
But in this process we miss several biblical qualities on our own life. First, we miss our own faults. In our own fault finding, we miss out on God’s desire to work out certain qualities in us of forbearance, perseverance humility and acceptance. Forbearance is quality of bearing with another’s sin when there will be no change. It is a fruit of the spirit that is often translated patience. We are commanded to forebear with one another.
And we miss out on the quality of accepting one another. We are to accept one another just as Christ as accepted us.
She’s perfect for me. The second phrase is even more biblically foundational. A husband must affirm by faith that his wife is perfect for him. And a wife must believe that, even with all his faults, her husband is perfect for her. In the creation account before sin, God pronounces everything good – except one thing. It is not good for man to be alone. The aloneness of the male is something that is not good. So God creates a creature that is like him but unlike him – a woman. His purpose? – To make a helper suitable to him. A helper that completes him. If Adam, before sin, needs a helper then how much more do I need one? If Adam, before sin, is somehow incomplete in himself and needs someone to complete him, then how much more do I need someone to complete me. We each need a partner that compensates and fills in our weaknesses. Do you believe that? But sin has blinded us. We don’t see our need for completing. We don’t see our need for help.
Like Adam, a man must be able to look at his wife and say, “In the grand mystery of God, He has provided this person to help me in ways I cannot even see. So Lord, I receive this good gift by faith even though I sometimes don’t think I need it.” A wife must be able to look at her husband and say, “In the grand mystery of God, He has provided this person to help me in ways I cannot even see. Lord, I receive him as a gift by faith.”
The doctrine of providence helps me even in the suffering that inevitably comes in a marriage. If my wife is quarrelsome or difficult, then I can embrace this suffering as from God. If my husband is overbearing or passive, then I embrace this circumstance as part of God’s plan to shape me. Ultimately, marriage is first about our sanctification.
He’s not perfect, but he’s perfect for me. She’s not perfect, but she’s perfect for me. Do you believe it?