Well, they say you should give your writing a title that attracts attention! Maybe I should explain why I’m talking about farting on a blog about romance.
Within our Christian romance culture, we Christians hope to find a wonderful, godly, lasting love. We hope to find that special someone with whom to share a huge helping of God’s goodness in romance and marriage. You don’t have to go too far to find Christian people and books that talk about “waiting for the one God has for you” or “God brought us together,” or how “the Lord will provide someone for you.” There’s an emphasis on seeking that one wonderful person with whom you’re meant to find a beautiful, God-ordained romance, even though this idea is biblically unsound.
I went through my teen years getting such messages from Christian literature. Filled with blissful anecdotes about seemingly divinely-ordained romances, the books seemed to know what wonderful marriages are made of. The implicit message that got lodged in my head went something along the lines of, “Don’t run around the dating scene trying to find a significant other. Wait patiently for that special person God has in mind. Work on becoming a better, more mature and godly person. Then, in God’s perfect timing, all your patience will pay off in finding that wonderful person with whom you’ll have the marriage of your dreams.” As nice as it sounds, that idea helped me get into a very bad mode of subconscious thinking. There was a time in my life when I honestly thought if I waited and trusted God long enough I would end up with the perfect wife.
I remember moments spent as a young college underclassman, lazily daydreaming about the beautiful, wonderful, perfect woman I was waiting for. For quite some time I didn’t realize that I had subconsciously drifted into some very false and very dangerous idealistic thinking. The Christian books I read as a teen had me fully persuaded that God had a wonderful woman for me. It was just a matter of His timing until we found each other. So I figured if I passed on every inferior young woman that wasn’t super-godly-wonderful-amazing-perpetually-beautiful then eventually I would be divinely united my uber-wife.
At least, that’s what I figured until the moment that, by God’s grace, a gentle sanity turned me from fantasy back to truth. One day as I left my college dorm, my thoughts lazily slipped to the idea of my future angel-wife and how perfect she would be. Then, out of nowhere, a mercifully lucid thought slipped into my mind:
“Justin, you think your wife is going to always be sweet, always look beautiful, always have a smile for you, and never fart. That woman doesn’t exist. And if she did, why do you think you would deserve her?”
Oh, glorious truth, thank you for not forsaking me!
It was true. I had walked around for ages with the false notion that if I simply waited long enough I could find the perfect woman of every fantasizer’s dream. But the truth is that every woman farts. Every man farts too for that matter. Every person on earth, no matter how godly, kind, demure, courageous, beautiful, handsome, charming, or loving, remains human. That means that perfect person isn’t always going to be perfect. She may be wonderfully sweet in this moment, but the time will come when she’ll be tired, stressed, and mad at you. He may dote on you in this moment, but the time will come when he’ll act selfishly. He or she might seem like the image of perfection and beauty right now, but the time will come when his or her less pleasant aspects will reveal themselves. Everybody farts.
I believe in our Christian romance culture we run at risk of believing some overly idealistic notions. I fear the stories of blissful romances and seemingly God-ordained relationships leave us liable to think that if we somehow do things right, wait long enough, or trust that God is going to provide someone amazing, then we can find the perfect person who will give us nothing but joy the rest of our lives. The truth is that no person can be perfect this side of heaven. No matter how much joy your significant other brings you, eventually he or she will cause you sadness, disappointment, or anger. In this life, the best “perfect” we can be is “perfectly imperfect.” It’s as though when two people look at each other and say, “you’re perfect,” what they’re (hopefully) really saying is, “I know you’re far from perfect, but I still love, adore, and want you, flaws included.”
That’s what love really is. While we humans aren’t perfect, love is. That’s why love is able to wholeheartedly embrace someone who wasn’t listening, didn’t clean up, acted selfishly, didn’t help with the kids, or forgot to use the air freshener…again! It’s easy to think love is at its most glorious when we experience blissful romance. But I don’t think it really is. I think love is most adorned when we experience blissful romance. But love finds its greatest glory in those moments when the one you love seems as flawed and unappealing as possible, yet you choose to love him or her anyway. This is the love with which God loves us. This is what we really seek when we dream of the perfect person. We dream of someone with whom we share not just the adornment of romantic attraction but the faithfulness and substance of love that abides even in difficulty. This is the love by which we imperfect humans must love one another. God has blessed us with the joy of romantic love. But that doesn’t mean He gives us a perfect person. He gives us the opportunity to choose to love someone and see that he or she is “perfectly imperfect.”
Do you think you have any overly idealistic notions of your future someone? If so, take some time to reorient yourself to the reality that, if you marry, you’ll be marrying a flawed, imperfect human. Return to the truth that you’ll need to truly love him or her, unpleasant parts included. ‘Cause the reality is…everybody farts.
What do you think? Have you struggled with idealizing the perfect spouse? Do you have a story to share about how you and your significant other are “perfectly imperfect?” Share your thoughts in the comments!
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Photo Credit: mjtmail (tiggy) Title: Small Stinky Bottom. Modification: Image is cropped. Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mjtmail/7204891680/in/photostream/