Every marriage goes through difficult times, and we were in a difficult time. We were both trying but we weren’t connecting. We were both hurting but didn’t know how to help each other. We were both making mistakes but we didn’t know what they were.
During this time, we had plans to gather with friends for a celebration. I decided to make Steve’s favorite dessert, berry crumble. This wasn’t going to be just any berry crumble—I was going to make the perfect berry crumble. I wanted to show Steve how much I loved him. I wanted to show him he was precious to me. This berry crumble was going to knock his socks off.
I spent time researching the best recipe online. I gathered all the ingredients and spent a good chunk of the day making the amazing dessert. As the celebration approached, I slowly pulled the hot crumble out of the oven, wrapped it a heavy towel and we all loaded into the car. We parked in front of our friends’ home and I carefully got out, maneuvering the hot berry crumble to avoid a spill. I took a few steps and suddenly I lost hold of the wrapped glass dish. I watched in slow motion as my perfect crumble splattered all over the sidewalk. I felt the sting of hot tears behind my eyes.
“Hold it together.” I told myself.
But I couldn’t. The tears overflowed and once they started they wouldn’t stop. I could barely catch my breath between sobs. This was no ordinary berry crumble, this was the perfect berry crumble. This crumble was going to show Steve how much I cared for him. This dessert was going to save our marriage. It was going to make Steve fall in love with me again. I looked down at the berry crumble splattered all over the sidewalk and sobbed.
I tried so hard to be good enough. I tried to be the perfect wife. I tried to become less so he could be more. But it wasn’t working. Instead I was becoming less than whole–and a relationship can’t thrive without two whole people. I thought being perfect would bring me joy. But I was so focused on being perfect, I was missing all the joy.
I’ve clung to the belief that perfection held joy. I’ve spent most of my life believing if I could be perfect, or at least almost perfect, I would be lovable. So I worked hard to create the ‘perfect’ life for us. I tried to create a beautiful, tidy home. I tried to be the perfect mother—patient and fun and consistent. I tried to be happy even when I felt sad. I tried to be needless and wantless and take care of everybody else. My good intentions to ‘take care’ of everybody were really a desire to control. If I could control everything I would be good enough. I was terrified I wasn’t lovable, so I tried to control. The more I tried to control Steve, our marriage and our family, the more out of control I felt. I’d worked tirelessly to try to hold it all together, but we were a mess. It was falling apart—not just the berry crumble, but our marriage too.
I was finding out, there is no berry crumble so perfect it can hold a marriage together.
Perfection is a lie. It demands more and more, never offering a moment’s rest. Perfect is never satisfied. I kept reaching further and further, thinking I was almost there, but perfection was always just out of reach. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t be perfect.
But honesty. Honesty looks like me showing up and being my truest self, and Steve showing up and being his truest self. Two people showing up and being honest is imperfect and messy. Sometimes it’s more than messy; it’s super ugly and dark and scary. I don’t like messy. I wish relationships could be nice and tidy–but I’m learning that’s not how relationships work. Life is messy, marriage is messy, kids are messy, friendships are messy.
When we show up in the mess and we’re open, we are taking a step towards each other.
When we share our honest thoughts and desires, we begin to truly know each other.
When we’re brave and real our hearts connect.
When our hearts connect we begin to discover joy.
I can’t control my husband or my kids. I can’t keep my house perfectly clean.
I’m not perfect, I’m just me.
I want to be loved for who I am, my truest self. I want to be in an honest marriage where we step into the mess together and together we work to make something beautiful. I want to let my kids be kids—in all their moods and messes and silliness. I want to order pizza instead of stressing about making the perfect meal. I want to see toys and shoes all over the family room and know we are living life together in this space. I want to let go of perfect and embrace truth. I want to be present in the crazy ups and downs of every day.
I’m learning I have to let go of perfection to have joy.
Today I choose joy.
How about together we let go of perfection and choose joy?
Perfection is a myth made to seem attainable by the filters and perfectly cropped photos we see on social media. I lived my first mare thinking I wasn’t enough and you know what I wasn’t because I wasn’t being who God created me to be. My ex soon found someone more “perfect” and married her. I was left with a woeldbturned upside down. Thankfully my Lord was given the opportunity to turn my world right side up and I found the “perfect me” she was imperfect but she was loved and she was free to be herself. I later married a man who didn’t care that I wasn’t perfect and who loves me no matter if the house is clean or a mess, if we are watts home cooked meal or take out. We have worked through so much and still donever day even on the days that seem mundane and ordinary. We aren’t perfect but we can be real with each other.
Continue to work towards that with each other, remember what made you laugh or what made your heart skip a beat. Stop wondering why “their”!life looks better and be thankful fo what you have. Those are the things that matter. Our pastor once said that marriage is like a circle, you have cycles…romance, love, dissatisfaction, dissolution (I wish I could remember the exact words) but you get the picture…we go through these cycles sometimes daily sometimes they can months or longer but if we continue through we go through the valleys and come out of them. We need to just not get stuck in those valleys. I hope you come out of that valley soon…prayers for you and your hubby.
This story was very inspiring! I, like many others, are on the last leg of my marriage, which I fight to keep everyday. Every effort I try becomes ridiculed, unreciprocated, and caused anger and sadness from my wife. We too have a special needs child, and ensuring she has everything has zapped my wife of energy and desire to fight for us and our family.
Thank you for sharing…love isn’t perfect, but it’s perfect when you feel loved.
Wow – I could have written this. My marriage is on its last legs and it’s because of this and my codependency. I’m working hard to change myself for the better, even if it doesn’t save my marriage. ?. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful piece.
Lisa, I am truly sorry. Life can be tough and is usually out of our control. I pray you find peace❤️
Lisa: thank you for the courage to share such an intimate part of your life with a world of strangers. While we are strangers in names and faces, as women , no matter what the age, we all struggle the same. We as women take on the presumption that we aren’t good enough, loved enoughed, as adults always needing too be and do more than who we are, when God clearly states no matter what the exterior we are beautiful just because.
I am 56 years young, my better half, soulmate, lover, best friend is 20 years younger. We struggled thru the negativity of age differences from family members, lost life long friends because of judgement, suffered great internal hurt from what I thought was my family, extended family and friends.
Being a single mom of two; I had a profitable career and business, put my children thru the finest schools New Orleans had to offer, live in a nice upper class home and provided an amazing life for my children all along forgetting who I am. I lost the beautiful me! The women that needed to be held and touched; the women that needed to be told “I Love You’. Until this man graced my life some 15 years ago.
I’ve never for one moment regretted losing any of my so called friends, and I’ve learned that extended family is just that… it’s extended.
There is never a day that doesn’t go by when my man expresses his love me. Be it in a text, phone call or in person I’m his Gorgeous lady no matter how I feel or look. Everyday he lets me know that I am most important part of his world, and everything else is secondary.
As mothers and daughters we tend to push aside our needs and the ones of our husbands/boyfriend. I’ve learmed that our relationship must come first even before the children cause without the US there is no family. It’s broken! Mothers and fathers, either single or coupled are the backbone of the family unit. You must be whole together, in the bed, in public, in private before all else; than all just falls into place without question. It also means that you are loving yourself and who you are so much that you are fulfilling your own desires. How beautiful is that!
We are all beautiful ladies in a made up world of less than. Remember you are whole and loved, Above all it’s God’s promise to us all!
This was beautiful. I’m 55 and also divorced. You give me so much hope and put it all into perspective. Thank you for your post and your beautiful way of expressing it all. God bless you and best wishes. ❤️
I remember years ago, before I was married, I had a friend who was also a co-worker and she seemed to have it all. Handsome husband, beautiful baby, pretty little house, gorgeous clothes. She was being promoted over and over again, and, I had helped her get hired. And, she was so pretty and sweet. Me? I had no boyfriend, hated my job and lived in a tiny, one-bedroom apartment.
Imagine my shock when she started going to lunch everyday with a male co-worker, who was divorced. Everybody was talking. Then she announced to a small group of us that she and her husband were divorcing. He was addicted to drugs, their home was in foreclosure, and worst of all, he had been physically and mentally abusive to her for years.
Sometimes, what we think is perfect is tragically flawed. Give me my crazy husband, dust bunnies in the house, loads of laundry, normal kids who don’t ace every test, my too big fanny, etc. My life is perfect!!
By the way, my friend found true happiness with a wonderful man!!
Lisa, I had never read this before. In your eyes, I am old, I am a young 62 year old woman. My husband & I both were married 12 years before to our respective spouses. He was in the military out of highschool. I was a R.N. We grew up in the same small town area, but never knew each other. My husband got out of the Army & he & his then wife & 3 daughters moved back to our small city in Indiana. I had been divorced 5 years & was living with my 10 year old son. Jim(my future husband) & his then wife had had a bad marriage for 10 years & soon after they moved “home” they divorced. The next year, on a cold January night, with 10 inches of snow on the ground, my son & I were 3 miles from our apartment & our car quit running on us. We walked to a pay phone(no cell phones in 1995) & I called my dad. As I started to talk to my dad, this man drove up & asked, “Can I help you ma’am?” There is much more to the story. Jim was a diesel mechanic. He insisted upon fixing my alternator. He got my son & me to our apartment. He rescued us on a snowy night. He had a girlfriend visiting from Cincinnati at his apt, they had had a fight, he was going to town to get cigarettes. He never saw her again after that night. We were married 9 months later. Next month 23 years. After 9/11 Jim re-enlisted & went to Warrant Officers School. Currently Jim is a Chief Warrant Officer 3 & deployed to the Middle East. I couldn’t be more proud of him. We have a 19 year old daughter, Megan, together. And we have raised our grandson, John, 12, since birth, as our son.
Just ran across this today!! So true and I struggle with the same feelings you described here–and I’ve been married almost 34 years!! It’s amazing how ripples of your sharing something so personal, continues to touch lives many monthes after you shared it!! Bless you Lisa!! ?
Here’s the thing: we can search high and low and down every crooked path but we will never, ever find perfection! It’s impossible to find because it doesn’t exist! Being genuinely authentic, true to yourself and your core beliefs, is the path to LIFE. When we live this way it also gives others the freedom to be their true selves. Yes, it is messy as we each reach for freedom. Freedom, thank heavens, IS attainable. And it comes and sends fear packing! Acceptance brings sweet joy. So drop your masks and quit trying so hard! #realgurllife on Facebook
Amen, thanks for sharing your heart, and your encouraging words.
I so deeply wish I had discovered this years ago as I was raising my family! Maybe it would have saved my marriage and family!
I love reading stories of how couples “woke up” and were able to save the most cherished bond, marriage and family
I think every successful, open , honest heartfelt story I read about the challenges of marriage and raising a family, helps to heal my broken soul. It also relieves some sadness for the way the world is so fast to run from the hard work before you can reap the ultimate benefits
Congratulations and Thank you so much for sharing this.
And by the way, one of my dearest friends bought me your sunburst ring as I was trying to survive my divorce!
It’s a daily reminder of hope
Ur story is so similar to my story. When going through the messy chaos one feels they are alone. Reading events other woman share provides affirmation Drifting, Denial and Divorce are lonely, life changing and hell. There is no more control. Letting go and accepting is really scary. The positive note- we survive and evolve into a woman we need to get to know. We become a whole new person. BTW- I also got the sunburst ring during my divorce.
love this story. i rally don’t want or need a perfect life although i would like to have one. thank you for your kind words and advice. i will definitely need to work on this.
your writing is absolutely beautiful! i feel like it is so timely and touches so many oeopkes’ hearts! thanks so much for sharing!
love love love
Wow! I needed to hear this. Are you a Virgo Lisa? 🙂
I feel the same.
This is beautiful, and so incredibly honest! Thank you, bless you for sharing. You have reached so many of us who share the same struggles, thank you!!!
Wow, well said. Perfect, really, as ironic as that is 🙂 thank you for sharing this!
Loved this! Wish I had it years ago. I too tried to be perfect. Missed out on a lot!
Thank you for your honesty. This came up in my fb memories, I shred it last year and had to re-read. So so good.
Thank you ??I needed this today
I adopt celibacy and pass on marriage and dating because of all the stress and bs. Until Mr Right For Me comes along, I’m not holding my breath. Not to mention I don’t like doing things, nor relationships, half-assed. I do it right or I don’t bother. Saves me grief as well as the other person. Plus the Era in which we live is going through so many growing pains. I just can’t justify dating these men. In fact. I haven’t dated for 13 years. For my circumstances, It’s best to keep to myself protected with boundaries intact.
I did the same thing for about 7 yrs. It was much needed. I tend to lose myself in relationships so I got to put myself first for a change. When I met the perfect guy for me I was totally happy being alone…and so was he. So we took it slow. Even so, there was a lot of stuff to work out. We decided to not live together unless we were going to get married. We married 2 yrs after we met and still found we had a lot of stuff to work through. Now we are at a place where we will not let anything hurt our relationship. We are together for good!!❤️
This is beautifully written. I would like to recommend the book The 5 Love Languages. It has helped my husband and I understand each other’s needs. The berry crumble may not have made him feel loved. I hope it can give you both more direction towards where your efforts are best spent. It saved my marriage!
After the loss of my daughter I’ve learned life is too short. Be happy
Thank you for your short comment that is to the point and so real. Your comment hit me harder than anything else I have read or heard. For your daughter, I will be happy and thankful for this life I have. Thank you for opening my eyes with reality!
Thank you for sharing Lisa, I loved your story. I wish more wives and moms could remember and find the joy in everyday living. The people in our lives are the most important, faults and all. Thank you
Why do we do this to ourselves?!!!
This is so beautifully worded and exactly the reminder I needed!! Thank you?
Great piece. What I find so interesting about marriage is you never know when the rough patches will come. I’m heading toward 34 years in two months and it’s been mostly great, but far from perfect. I have to always remind myself that “good times and bad” were in my vows.
I needed to read “perfect is never satisfied .” Thank you for sharing your beautiful journey.
Oh my goodness, this is exactly me! Thank you for saying this so beautifully!
Thank you for sharing your heart, your comments ring true. 40 yrs. Of marriage and and yes, I still get caught up in this perfection trap! So many things push us toward it, but I think disappointments of all kinds lead us to this. I’m still learning everyday that I am imperfect, that teaches me to give grace to those around me. (And myself!)
Thank you for this. I stumbled upon this and it was exactly what I needed to hear. Marriage is not easy and it is hard trying to force change and make things work. Going through some trying times in marriage myself, I need to remind myself that I am not perfe t and neither is he. We need to learn to work with each other’s strengths and weaknesses. You can ‘t change someone, but you can adapt to who they are and how the compliment you.
This indeed is so true on so many levels!!! We try to make everything perfect and want to fix everything. Although when “two” people in a marriage are not on board this does not work out!!! This post opened my eyes to being allowed to make mistakes and also to realize this world today is no where near what it used to be. Thank you for your kind words and inspiration. They truly have put another new perspective into my mind and life??
I love the story but now I really want the crumble recipe! Sometimes we give so much to others that we don’t take care of ourselves!
I have learned to be perfectly imperfect. What a relief!
I was raised by a controlling perfectionist and was to the point that I didn’t do things based on what I wanted, but rather what he wanted. It actually stunted my emotional age. At the age of 19, I was deemed a 16 year old emotionally. I was raped and didn’t even fight it, because I was so used to just giving the one adult male in my life whatever he wanted without regard to my own desires. I then broke up with the love of my life (who was always a gentleman to me), because of the shame I felt because I didn’t fight the man who had his way with me. I still loved my boyfriend at the time, but felt he deserved better than me. The man who raped me had a wife, who thought that he and I were having an affair, which is what she told my then boyfriend when she happened to see him at a store. Which I believed at the time as well since I was so heavily influenced by other adults in my life. This all happened more than 2 decades ago. My point? Perfectionism and control have no place in any family. It can absolutely destroy everyone in the family – including the children. My hope is that my story will really make people think long and hard before continuing the abuse cycle of being controlling and a perfectionist.
I am so sorry for your suffering. No person should go through what you have. I hope that you have been able to build a happy & fulfilling life for yourself.
I’m grateful that God has blessed me with a loving husband. It would be nice to not have such heartbreak when I look back on my past, but many people have been through a lot of junk in life. But if my story will make even one parent think about what exactly they are doing to their child if they are a controlling perfectionist type parent, then it’s worth me sharing my story.
Everything about your story rings bells for me! I too survived a controlling perfectionist father. Similiar events happened in my past as well. Good for me to see the pattern here. Thank you your story helped me come to grips with my past!
Have you read the book Present over Perfect by Shauna niequist? It was honestly life changing for me. I highly recommend it for anyone who struggles with being a perfectionist it changed my life.
love that book!!
I read this today and the tears flowed probably just like yours did. I have been married to my soulmate for 34 years. Oh how I wish I had discovered this 32 years ago. This expresses what is in my heart and the heart of many of my friends. Let go, find joy, put down that phone, engage, enjoy this blessed life we get to live.
This resonated so much with me. I decided to read it to my husband so he might hear what I had been trying to say. I inexplicably started crying as I was doing so…because it rang so true. Afterwards he thanked me for sharing it with him, because he finally understood. Thank you, it has helped us both immensely in a difficult time. You were able to put into words what we weren’t able to.
Wow Laura, thank you for sharing this with me. I am so grateful my words helped you both communicate. xx
Beautiful silver lining! Showing your vulnerability and true emotion here was very courageous!
Thanks so much Lisa – this truly touched my heart and I too am guilty of striving for perfection in my marriage, as a parent and looking for perfection in my home and within my children. Near perfection is just fine and I thank you for reconfirming this for me.
Perfection is overrated. My husband and I knew each other weren’t perfect when we married. 32 years later we have proven that whereas we still aren’t perfect on our own, we are perfect enough for each other.
A few of my Facebook friends shared your blog today and what a reality check it is. For me, I’m not sure if it’s too little too late but truly the life I was living for so long. Always trying to be the perfect me and honestly that will never stop because if I can be a better version of myself tomorrow than I am today then I am at my own peace. I feel the problem comes in when you’re never enough for those around you.. the only way to have the complete Joy is to be comfortable and happy with who you are and how you live your life. I too was always trying to be everyone else’s perfect all the while losing myself. My kids are now grown and on to the next phase of their lives but my marriage was a mess. No matter how hard I tried to be the perfect wife I was always reminded of my imperfections and when I would actually sit think about who I was, what I was doing and how no matter how great I was trying to be it was never enough. I addressed the disconnect for months and tried everything I could to prove our marriage was worth it until it hit me.. I was fighting for my marriage alone. I finally left and moved to another state. Now that I’m gone.. he wants to work on things.. he now wants to fight for us but as I said…. I don’t know if it’s too little too late. I love him and a part of me feels like we deserve a 2nd chance but the other part of me feels like why now? And why do I have to be the 1 to return to have my marriage work? I understand why it’s more difficult for him to “follow” me but at the same time I feel like it’s unfair. Who knows.. life is so unpredictable but at the end of the day… time will tell. Thank you for sharing your story it really hit home and thank you for letting me share my story. I really do embrace this journey I am on and bottom line is… I LIKE ME!!! And for me that is what matters in life.
Fight for your marriage!! I know it’s easier said then done but take it from someone who just got divorced. We just got divorced this past year and I still love my husband and I know it was because of lack of communication and me having to control everything. I learned when he left us that I am never in control so I closed my eyes handed to God and pray everyday for him to brings us back together.
1 corinthians 13 4-7 Love is patience
My husband just left me after almost 40 years. I still love him very much. He moved in with another lady instantly. I pray everyday God lets us get back together, crying and so lonely.. I know what you have been through. It’s just over a month for me.
Wow! Funny how sometimes you come across something that is so timely. I feel like this really hits home for me right now. Thanks for such an honest post in this world of smoke & mirrors even the perfectly posed people have struggles. We are constantly bombarded with messages that we need to be perfect! Even though we may think it’s true, the grass isn’t always greener in the other side…it’s just Astro-turf! Trying to keep a sense of humor while navigating through this crazy life. Thank you!
Dearest Struggle I hope you will fight for your marriage! It takes a lot for most men to ask! It is probably easier to move away than ask. Go back for a visit. Sometimes we live in a vacuum not noticing anyone else. It sounds like you moving was enough of a catalyst to shake him out of his sleepwalking through life. Who knows, it may be better than you ever knew it could be? You deserve the chance at least to find out! Blessings…
I agree with the other comments — fight for your marriage! Five years ago my husband’s company transferred us 600 miles away from family and friends. I gave up my career and church home of more than 20 years and spent a year trying to make things look “perfect” again. I was failing miserably and ended up pouring my heart out to him desperately looking for peace to find its place in our lives again. Instead, he walked away and my world has never been the same. I would give almost anything to have it to do over again. You have the chance to fight for what God can do in a marriage when two people are open. I am not saying it would be easy — but I believe with my whole heart it would be rewarded. Praying for you!
Dear Struggle, I too have had a a season of real struggle for the past two years. I have found a devotional book that is about the best thing I have ever read. My husband and I have gone through the book twice now and will probably start it again soon as it is so easy to get out of the new habits and slip back into being focused on what “we deserve”. That is not what God intended for us. We made an oath to be together in sickness and health, for better or worse. It is up to both of us to figure out what went wrong and work on what we can do individually to help the situation. If he is willing, you should have faith to try also. That does not mean you blindly go back but you do need to be willing to realize that you also may have some things that you need to change in order for him to have his needs met. God will take care of the rest if we have faith. The book is called, Love and Respect, the husband friendly devotional book (there is also a full Love and Respect book but the Devotional book truly is a quick and husband friendly book that can easily be read from each night before bed in ten minutes or less). It showed me that by my trying to please everyone I was being controlling and it did not help him to feel respected (among some other things I did or said that caused a lack of respect) which is a man’s #1 need. Then he would do things to not help me feel loved (which is a woman’s #1 need) and we would start on the crazy cycle. Being aware of this and getting onto a better cycle is a start to helping us both feel better – but we have to put God first, each other second and self last. Marriage will not work otherwise. Just moving back without having a plan on some things to do will probably get you back in the same situation. Please be open to see what you may have done to break his spirit as you also discover with him what he may have done to break your spirit. I highly recommend this devotional as a start – maybe even doing it on the phone long distance and see what each of you thinks about it. I will pray for you tonight but lets not let Satan get a hold of our doubts and win in another divorce.
I can totally relate ” fighting my marriage alone.”. I think if I were to leave , he would then say he would want to try and work things out. But I feel the same , maybe, too little too late. Yes – It’s unfair and I have alot of anger about this that I only recently expressed this / my anger to my husband Bec I was afraid of his emotional outbursts or his emotional shutdown, which I had been getting for years. Btw 4 years I had expressed disconnect to him and and tried to make “us” work when he had put in no effort. He asked me if I wanted him to leave ( that would be too easy – for him!). I told him part of what I wanted was 4 him to take ownership and that I never got an “I’m sorry” that he has not been taking part in trying to work on our marriage. We r also in a sexless marriage which he does not.want to talk about. I leave it.in God’s hands and have mentally moved on. I’m not sure where we’re headed…but when and if he finally starts to want to take part in us , I’m still left with the anger – not sure i can get past this without some acknowledgement from him.
Give your marriage that 2nd chance. You don’t have to lose yourself to do that if he is willing to work with you.
Beautifuly said…. Love is hard…. sucks… Awesome!
i love everything about this post and it comes at a perfect time. i plan to share it with some friends and we can all benefit from it. giving up perfection to be messy and real. i say yes.
I don’t know you and probably never will this side of heaven but I love everything about you! When I ordered 4 stacking rings this Christmas I never though of the transparency and real life ministry I would also receive. Thankful to have stumbled upon your company and now blog! God Bless you & your family!
I think you’re amazing. I know no marriage is perfect. You are juggling a lot. I love that you choose joy….no matter what.
Yes, yes, and yes. I have days like this, seasons in which the control panic feel pervasive. But the antidote to this is grace. For me, for others. For broken desserts and spilled words. For never enough and always more. Beautifully written.
oh my gosh this couldn’t ring more true right now for my marriage. i haven’t made a berry crumble yet, it would be more along the lines of something peanut butter and chocolate but i won’t risk making it at this point
I am past this time in my life, but your story is my story with a different ending.. I never achieved perfection, simple or complex. I did raise 4 good human beings to productive adulthood, but the marriage ended in divorce after 38 years. After 38 years I was tired of being the only one trying, realizing that my life was on the downhill side. It was a difficult decision to make. The key is working together, making mistakes together, finding joy together. You are wise to find your way before it is too late.
Carole, I too spent 38 years refining, redoing, and reinventing myself into what I thought he wanted. I believed his harsh criticism and physical abuse was a result of my imperfections and I tried to become what I thought he wanted me to be. Then one day I realized I was a good person with a kind and loving heart and that I would never be pleasing in his eyes. I realized his problem was not me but his own unhappiness within himself. My marriage also ended in divorce, my children were sad but understood and stood by me. Sometimes, regardless of what one person does, it does take two to work daily to build a strong and enduring marriage. I was blessed several years later to remarry and find everything I had lost hope in, everything I no longer believed possible, to be loved and appreciated and to be with a man who loved the perfect ‘imperfect’ person I was and to return the same to him. He too had been in a very difficult marriage and we learned to let go of our past lives (no comparisons, little talk of our former spouses) and built a life together that is strong, nurturing and loving. I certainly do not encourage divorce but sometimes it is the only way to heal and know the true meaning of what a good marriage is.
Love to you, i have been through a similar situation (as we speak, in fact), just mental and emotional abuse, which continues in text, visits, and phone calls. But i have met a man who adores me for who i am, and hope to marry him someday soon, and carry on with our lives. My failed marriage isn’t a bad thing… It showed me how i don’t want to treat the person i love or be treated. Marriage is a blessing…but so can divorce be.
Thx Rachel. This gives me hope.
Beautiful and so so true. Thank you for sharing yourself in this post.
Last year, a friend gave me a gift card to your shop and I chose a stacking ring inscribed with “grace”. I wear it daily as a constant reminder to show grace to others, to share grace when I’m with friends and most especially, to receive grace. Perfection is something I used to (and sometimes still do) strive for and when I fall short I feel badly about myself. This little reminder is an anchor for me to remember that I already am enough, imperfections and all.
I TRULY needed to read this, today. We must have been made from the same mold. I shall try my best to embrace the HOT MESS that my OCD turns me into! I need to “chill”. I am 52 and life seems to be picking up speed, with each passing year!!!!!!!!
Lisa, thank you so much for sharing your life so honestly.
This post struck such a chord with me, just finishing 12 rounds of chemo and struggling in a very tough marriage, we separated at round 7 I think.
But my song in my head and heart and new body is JOY. I’ve been saying it for weeks. I have to purposefully redirect my old thinking to JOY!!!
Prayers for your health to be fully restored and blessings for a happy life. ♥️
Great post. Embrace the messy that we are rather than try to ‘fix’ it. I must remember that.
I absolutely love this…and I’ve lived it too! It is so real and so familiar. I am a “recovering” perfectionist. It’s a battle I fight all the time. In fact, it started my blogging journey, coincidentally, shortly after I became a mom. Great post!
Oh my gosh! Lisa, I so needed to read this today. I have , for 57 years, strived to be perfect. I have driven my mom, my kids and my husband…probably a few friends as well, crazy with my obsession to be the perfect daughter, the perfect mom, wife, hostess, guest, employee, friend, knowing the whole time that I am not. I never felt enough.
I am pushing 60 and probably just coming in to my own. My grand daughters think I am perfect and that I am enough, just the way I am, flaws and everything. And, if I were to ask all the other people I mentioned, they would probably tell me the same thing, Wendy, you are enough,just the way you are. We love the you that you really are.
So, Lovely Lisa, thank you so, so, very much for sharing this part of you with us.
I wish you and your beautiful family a VERY Merry Christmas and a most joyous and prosperous New Year! May God’s Grace continue to shine on you all!
Wendy you are paralleling my life story. 32 years ago, after the birth of my last child,
my doctor gave me a strong dose of advice; “if you don’t quit trying to be the perfect wife, mother, friend, daughter, you are going to kill yourself”. Sound advice…Right? I would think on this advice from time to time when I crumbled into an exhausted state full of anxiety and tell myself to heed this! But unfortunately it didn’t last long. Now almost 30 years later I am a woman on a mission. A mission to take this wonderful gift of wisdom I was given and apply it in my life. I am much happier and peaceful even though it is still a struggle to let go of perfection. But it is worth the work!
Yep…a recovering perfectionist.
wow, thanks! so much more I could say, but don’t have the time
jumping for joy requires no lessons
What a honest post, I’m proud of you for putting it out there. This time last year I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown my life was a mess, it had been for years. I lived in a consistent state of fixing things , smooth it over so it appears to be better than it is. Then on Decemeber 27th the straw that broke the camels back
I couldn’t live that life another minute. I took a stand for me and my daughters and declared my year of peace and joy.
Never again will I live without JOY in my life, we are mothers, sisters, daughters and we have a tendency to put ourselves last on the list. I challenge you today seek JOY in all you do. If you need help reach out , there are people who will help you. A year from now you will reflect on former you and be so glad you started the journey. Be strong and remember Fear is a Liar!
I wish I had learned this before I turned 60 and lost the love of my life trying to be the perfect wife and mother. You are wise beyond your years. XO
This post is amazing. A few weeks ago as I was driving to my 3rd job of the day, I had a breakthrough… I am afraid to share it because of offending someone.
God is not perfect. And that is OK.
God created the world – God is great and wonderful – God is God – yes, But. God is not perfect. That’s why our world is not perfect. Suffering is not an intentional blow from God. It just is, because, God is not perfect. God wants us to be happy and loved – like all parents want for their kids – but is not perfect.
You can be wonderful God, and still not be perfect.
And if we can forgive God for that –
We can forgive ourselves for that –
And we can forgive each other, for not being perfect. We can forgive our parents, spouse, children.
I waited for the lightning bolts to fry me. Instead just a peace came and a patience – with my child with autism, with my child with anxiety, with everyone and all their quirks that I had been wishing were not there. It’s not “they are perfect as they are, quirks and all”. It’s, “They’re not perfect and that’s OK. They don’t have to be and you don’t have to fix it”
God is perfect, but the perfect thing about God is you don’t have to be perfect for Him to love you. God loves you when you do good and God loves you when you do bad. He just loves you. The world isn’t perfect because we aren’t perfect and we make choices that make this world the way it is. I am not saying your child is autistic because of your choices, but I am also not saying that an autistic child is a bad thing.
Yes! Beautifully said Jenny!
Thank you Jenny for correcting her when she said God is not perfect. He is THE ONLY THING in this world that is perfect.
Thank you. Just simply, thank you. xxoo
You get it. You truly understand. Where we THINK that we need to be perfect to have joy, it’s only when we’re authentic that we find it. It seems so obvious, but it’s not. If perfection was the only way to have joy then no human on earth would ever be able to experience it.
I have loved the Starburst ring forever just really could not afford it, now by the grace of God it is on 30% off, I tried to order and for some reason my it will not take my email, just another scam, so disappointed!
Contact us at customer email@example.com and we’ll try to help. xx
I wish it was that easy. I have 4 kids and my youngest has Autism. I need, I want/crave that acceptance of less than perfect is good enough. But my husband is a perfectionist and wants it all, and wants to be perfect in front of others. And that creates tension and unhappiness. Wrapping paper on the floor stresses him out and he has to tell everyone what to do to fix it all. That stresses everyone else. ?☹️??
Do what you can to bless those around you. I didn’t say do everything, do what you can. I often ask myself, would this bless my husband… Or anyone else for that matter. Our culture says, “don’t let anyone walk over you”. Courtesy says” you are important to me and I value you.” Pull up your socks, get out of pajamas (I just did), pick up the laundry. Not because you have to, because it will bless your home and therefore bring you joy. This is the act of choosing Joy. Give thanks with a happy heart. I tell myself this plus, it lines up with Truth about Jesus message to all humans. Hope this makes you smile today. From one learning lady to another.
Thank you,Tricia. I needed to hear that just now.
So good!! I remember one Thanksgiving a few years ago my mom requested all of us at the table take a turn and share what we were thankful for. We were all adults by this time and those of us with kids had them there as well. I’m fine with these kind of rituals but my brother and my brother-in-law are especially NOT fond of this kind of demonstrative exercise. So my brother said “Pass” as did my BiL. My mom ended up pouting in the kitchen a few minutes later and when I asked her what was wrong she said, “Is it so hard for them to just share one thing?!” I said, “Mom, you have your WHOLE family here. None of us is in jail, no one is addicted to anything, we have jobs and are pretty happy. Do NOT make your Thanksgiving table game mean anything. They just don’t want to play. They are HERE, they ARE participating. LET IT GO.” I’ve taken my same advice many times when I feel the noose of perfection taking hold turning me into a crab. I’m also sad when there are moms that won’t invite people over ever because their house is not in perfect shape. LET IT GO. You are missing so much FUN by worrying about perfection. This holiday season just keep asking yourself “Does this (clean floor, perfect gift, clean and pressed child or whatever your thing is) really matter?” If not, LET IT GO. Happy holidays and count your blessings. XOXO
great response to a great article!
I’m so guilty of wanting perfection, and missing out on life! Lisa, this is PERFECT!! I need to read this daily.
Best advice I’ve read in a LONG time. Thank you!
Goodness, I feel like I just read about myself.
Ranee I feel the same! I’m working with a counselor to overcome my need for perfection. It’s so much easier than you think to break the habits you’ve been engrained with. The perfect, clean house. The perfect marriage. The perfect daughter, mother and wife. The perfect yard. The perfect decorations for every holiday. I despise Christmas simply because of the stress I put on myself to have not just the perfect gifts, but beautifully, perfectly wrapped gifts and the perfectly decorated house. Masking my depression so people don’t see my internal struggles. I’ve struggled for years to achieve the perfect body. Learning how to let go is so incredibly hard. The mental let down and disappointment by not achieving perfection and in others by not having the same need for perfection. Yet it comes in waves and I am trying so hard to achieve BALANCE and find the joy in all the blessings I’ve been given. Thank you Lisa Leonard for being so honest and real. ❤️
Thank you ❤️ I needed this!!
My bracelet arrived yesterday. The names of all five of my grandchildren are hand stamped on it. My bracelet is very personal, stylish and simple. I am absolutely delighted.
My brother-in-law once told my daughter that perfect people are hard to love. He’s right.
Just found your blog and shop and I love it all! Thank you for sharing and reminding us to choose joy!
Wow! That’s was perfectly put ! I also try to make everything perfect or seem that way and it drives my husband and kids crazy. I am sitting here reading this crying thank you for sharing and just know you touched someone out there! ?
Lisa, Such an inspiring blog! Thank you for sharing.
If your interested please share my friend’s story.
I am looking for a necklace that i can but three dates of birth on it. There does not seem to be enough room . Do you make anything like this??
How about the open circle? You can customize both sides. http://www.lisaleonard.com/open-circle-pearl-necklace-sterling-silver-prd-lpd003-si/
I found this to be so very much reflective of my own aspirations and realizations. You echo my mind and heart. Many women surely relate. Thank you for your connective share!
Perfection is a myth, but yet so many of us fall victim to it. Thank you for being real, and using words that hit home for so many. We are all on the same journey, just different roads.
Thank you for being vulnerable and speaking encouragement to all of us! I read this through tears. I’m not sure I’ve ever thought about wanting perfection until I read this—and then it hit me, I do. I just use the word “best.” I want to be the best wife, best mom, have the best life. It’s the very same thing you wrote about. And I’ve been where you spoke of and sometimes still get there. So, thank you for encouraging us to choose joy!
i think i asked you a couple of years ago if you could do something with joy on it… i think you waited for the perfect moment with the perfect combination of words… we all have choices in life… this is a gracious reminder
This resonated with me so much. Thanks for being honest and vunersble and real. In doing so you are helping others like me shed their outer shell ti embrace the hard and discover the joy.
Wow… Your writing is amazing! In particular this article. We just hit 13 years of marriage during the toughest storm in my life! Marriage is lovely when it’s going smooth, but when it’s NOT…oh boy.
To healthy marriages.
Beautifully said. Just what I needed to hear today. Recently released from the hospital diagnosed with a TIA (mini stroke) at 56. Trying way too hard to be perfect and missing the joy. Love following your blog. Sometimes I feel like I’m reading about myself.
“Flawsome: (adj) a person who embraces all their “flaws” and knows they’re awesome regardless”
Thank you, Lisa, for sharing such a personal time in your life. It resonates with me – I give and give and give, trying to be perfect so that people will love me. While I am able to see all shades of grey in other people and embrace it, all I see in myself is perfection or failure. You’ve reminded me that it is not only ok but best to allow myself to embrace all of me and life. To choose joy. Joyful blessings to you and your family.
Hi Lisa I can relate to your story. My marriage is far from perfect, sometimes I think my husband does not love me or ever has, I was so in Love with him and time and hurtful words in a way has made me stronger. 2 yrs ago I got real sick and have not been able to work and he gets very upset about that , but I finally realized that I am not able to work and I accept my illness I am broken may be you can design something for someone who is broken and accept it. I hope by Xmas I can afford the initial necklace. I love it. Thank you for reading these Delma
Delma: I’m so sorry to hear about your recent illness. And, the way your husband is handling it. I’ve gone through something similar over the past five years. I have an illness, too, and it has become overwhelming difficult. My husband seemed to be unaccepting of my inability to work. I took this very hard. But, now I’m realizing (through therapy) that maybe two things were happening – 1. I was grieving the loss of my old self and my abilities (and maybe he was, too). It impacted my esteem, our finances and our combined dreams as a family. And, 2. because I hadn’t fully accepted it, how could I expect him to fully digest it. My marriage is still very difficult for lots of reasons. But, once I accepted that my goals and dreams had to be modified and reevaluated. And, to be kind and caring to myself, despite the new restrictions on my abilities, he has seemed to embrace it better, too. It was getting close to be being a deal breaker for me. I kept thinking — I would never “expect” my husband to work if he became too ill to. But, I don’t think my husband had fully accepted that I was that ill. My acceptance of my own boundaries and capabilities helped him to find his way out of denial. Also, being approved for Social Security Disability Insurance has helped us financially (and, seemed to validate what I already knew, but he hadn’t accepted. I’m much too ill to work). It’s far from perfect. But, I’m finding joy again in the small accomplishments. Lisa’s piece was perfectly written. It really moved me! But, Delma, your response really touched me, too. You are in a difficult place. The one person you trust and count on the most, is the person who should gladly and enthusiastically want to take care of you wholly when you are in your most need. You don’t want to feel like your whole worth is a pay check. You contribute so much more than that. And, even if you didn’t, marriage is supposed to be about love and full support. But, this illness didn’t just take from you. It took from him, too. It took me five years to figure that out. I hope you don’t suffer for much longer. It’s hard enough to be sick. But, the guilt from a partner taints your healing process. I hope you find joy and acceptance and new shared goals. Don’t let this illness take any more from you. You deserve happiness!!
Great article. Most of us who have lived a few decades discover how infamous perfection can be and how devistating it is when you’ve put your eggs in that basket, then the basket falls apart. Thank you. <3
Thank you for this post. My husband and I just had the argument of the ‘century’. Your words and insight make me want to love him more in spite of our mess.
This made me cry. I called my mom and read some of it to her, to share the deep resonance for what I am I uncovering in my life. I especially am seeing this in my life as a single mom where I’ve judged myself so harshly and been cranky as a result. Choosing mess. Choosing joy. xo
I am learning slowly, slowly, that trying to be perfect and be everything to everyone doesn’t let me be me. If I surrender to vulnerability, I can actually love more and be more authentic.
Thank you for your honesty Lisa-I can relate in so many painful ways..I am on the road to honesty in my marriage and it is scary and hard, but I’m trusting it will be worth it. Your openness helps others (myself included) to be open about their struggles in marriage and not to feel so alone. And yes to messiness and real-that’s inescapable but as you’ve said before, there is beauty to be found there too : )
Beautifully said, Lisa. I love how they put it in Little Women, “hopelessly flawed”. I think we can all accept that we are, and that we can come as we are, to God, and into our marriage, knowing we are loved just as we are. We are clothed in all the beautiful and perfect things by Him who loves us. And there is so much we cannot control, only surrender.
thank you.. i stumbled upon this and even though i don’t try to be “perfect”, i feel like i want things to be and don’t appreciate what i do have..