Do you get into arguments over who’s right or how something should be done?
Do you sometimes feel like you’re in competition with your spouse?
If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, then you might be married to or be “the perfectionist” spouse in your marriage.
Heaven help you if you’re like me and both you and your spouse are perfectionists! Yikes!
Ironically, the perfectionist spouse often makes a marriage messier by his/her continual efforts to achieve perfection. It can be discouraging to be married to a perfectionist and, conversely, frustrating to be married to a mate who isn’t achieving your ideal standard!
What’s even more paradoxical, you probably were drawn to your spouse because of some very positive perfectionist traits, like the fact that s/he is:
- An achiever
- A good leader/manager
So how do you deal with your spouse’s incessant need for perfection? Or what if you’re the one driving your spouse crazy with all of your rules and “oughts”?
First of all, I have to say that I’m a perfectionist who hasn’t figured out “perfectly” how to do this yet. But there’s one thing I do know, learning to accept the imperfect in both myself and my spouse is the pathway there.
This means daily learning how to grasp for God’s ever-available grace.
So when I’m dealing with my spouse’s crazy-making criticalness, I need to look to God to help me extend grace to my husband. I need to see that my spouse is flawed and human, and won’t always see how his high standards are coming across. I need to forgive him, even if he doesn’t see or admit his fault. I need to be kind and loving—seeking to focus on the good in him, rather than becoming bitter because of the bad I’m momentarily experiencing.
And when I’m the one doling out the A+ attitude, I need to turn to God again for perspective. I need to take a sober view of my expectations and see that what feels like a “need” is probably more of a “want” instead. Surrendering that sense of entitlement to God is a beginning point. Recognizing just how flawed and human I am is another step in the right direction. Apologizing for being demanding or critical is yet another.
What about you? Are you a perfectionist or married to one?
How do you positively or negatively deal with the struggles that come with perfectionism?
“For by the grace given me I say to everyone one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” –Romans 12:3 (NIV)