Before I got married, I remember just waiting for a dealbreaker to surface in whomever I was dating. At the same time, as I grew increasingly excited and attached in relationships, I also feared I might reveal something to the special person that would be a deal-breaker for them.
There were just some things I knew I personally couldn’t live with for the rest of my life, and there was no use dating someone with whom I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life. When I was dating Nate, I knew that he was a good match with flaws I could deal with. We balanced each other out really well. Even if we weren’t on the same page about everything, we could get there through conversation. He and I were increasingly open with each other while we dated. We didn’t hide anything from each other—especially once we were engaged—no matter our fears of rejection. That was only fair since we were asking a lifelong commitment of each other.
I remember early on worrying what I would do if I found myself living one of those awful stories you hear about women suddenly finding themselves with husbands who are abusive or unfaithful. What if he was faking all along and then completely changed when we got married? What would I do? I reasoned that although this happens in some instances, he had spent extended time with my friends and family. If there were warning signs of a problem, they would have told me. Everyone I loved, loved him. That brought me peace that there weren’t dealbreakers that I didn’t know about.
We got married, not because we thought we were perfect, but because we knew we could grow in love by working through our flaws. Now that we’re committed to each other in marriage, anything new that surfaces has to be dealt with instead of passed over. He’s not going anywhere, even when I do things that aren’t right. I can share the details of my life and heart without fearing being rejected. I can be completely, authentically myself. I can trust I will still be loved even when I fail.
One example of this trust that comes to mind was when I started finding myself screaming at our toddler when I got frustrated with her behavior. Before we were married, if I’d started randomly yelling at children, that would have been a dealbreaker. Neither of us foresaw this anger coming out, but when it did I could discuss it with him. He wasn’t going to run away from me or hate me. He loved me as I went through it and learned better ways to respond to our child’s demands.
We can worked through my flaws because he wants to help me overcome them as much as I do. It’s these moments—moments when you don’t like yourself but you see your spouse still standing next to you, with you, walking you through it—that binds you together and brings you even closer in marriage. It’s a beautiful thing to know you can work through your flaws with someone, without them being dealbreakers.