Marriage Colored Outside the Lines
By Sabrina McDonald
I used to be particular about doing things my way. I got easily annoyed by messes left on the counter or towels folded the “wrong” way. To me, people who said, “color outside the lines” were just lazy.
But that was before the death of my first husband.
I look back at the energy I wasted on worry and perfection, and I’m sorry I often let those outward, unimportant issues control my emotions.
There were times I hurt my husband over petty particulars that didn’t matter in the long run.
I’ve wondered what changes he would see in me if he came back for one day. Would he find the same person he left? In some ways, yes, but in other ways, no.
One change would be my pursuit of perfection. I now see it’s not worth fussing over. Instead, I’d rather express how proud I am of my husband’s efforts.
Another change would be that I’m no longer motivated to do things just because I “ought to.” I still get things done, but I give myself more grace.
For example, cuddling a little longer on Saturday morning is more important than getting all the chores done early in the day. And splurging a little now and then is more important than saving every single penny.
Now in my second marriage, I spend less time worrying about things done the “right” way.
I’m so hard-headed that it takes something devastating to teach me a lesson, but I’m thankful I learned.
Take it from me: Stop controlling every variable in your life. Not everything has to fit your definition of “perfect.” Life (and marriage) can still be beautiful even when colored outside the lines.
The good stuff: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)
Action points: Is control making your marriage miserable? What are some rigid rules you can change? How can you extend more grace to your spouse? Make a list of your spouse’s “imperfect” qualities. Which ones can you let go of?
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