Richard and I recently returned from a dream-come-true trip to Paris, France. Feeling like stars in a movie, we dined in quaint sidewalk cafes, attended mass at Notre Dame Cathedral, gazed at the Mona Lisa in the Louvre, enjoyed a panoramic view of the city from half way up the Eiffel Tower, and cruised the Seine River at night.
Looking at this photo of us during our dinner cruise on the Seine, I remember a story I wrote in It’s a Wonderful (Imperfect) Life.
I wanted to be a perfect wife—to be all Richard desired and make him happy he married me. But my initial goal turned into obsession. I felt compelled to modify my personality, beliefs, talents and hopes to match his. It looked good, but it felt awful.
Eventually my unrealistic expectations led to burnout. The outward me could no longer live in disharmony with the inner me. I had to do something or crumble. Yet, the thought of changing the way we related to each other scared me.
“What if you don’t like me or our marriage when I share the real me?”
“I will,” assured my husband.
At first I didn’t believe him. And truthfully, adjusting our conditioned relational patterns—the way we’d learned to interact with one another—felt unfamiliar and awkward to us both. Yet gradually we’ve grown more comfortable sharing our needs, vulnerabilities and desires.
We’re discovering how to combine who we are on the inside with what we appear to be on the outside. I think we’re growing into the individual persons God created us to be. We’re also enjoying our imperfect relationship–loving our everyday times together, as well as the unique times like Paris. And I’m grateful. Imperfect, it’s true, but grateful.
I’d love to hear from you about your travels in Paris or your experiences as an imperfect, but grateful person.
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Joan C. Webb
Writing, teaching, coaching to empower and set free.