An Open Letter to My Imperfect Wife

My dear, imperfect wife…I wouldn’t want you to be any other person than who you are.

imperfect wife

Hey babe, so just so you know up front, I’m writing this private letter to you publicly, and a few thousand other people will see it, and I probably should have told you in advance that I was inviting thousands of people into our lives, but they needed a place to crash and … anyway … hope it’s cool!!

Anyway, I just wanted to write you this note and say that it’s okay that you’re imperfect.

Wait. I think that might come across wrong, like I’m saying that as The Perfect One, I give you permission to not be perfect. Let me explain.

Our culture puts a ridiculous amount of pressure on you. You’re supposed to have career dreams and aspirations, but you’re also supposed to be a mom, and a wife, and make our house a home, and while you do all those things you’re also supposed to meet some standard of beauty that literally doesn’t exist (look, even your friend Jennifer Garner isn’t perfect!). Since we are Christians, you also feel the added pressure of being a “good” follower of Jesus, who memorizes chapters of the Bible and prays for hours on end, and is this Mother Theresa level spiritual role model to our kids. But that’s silly, because Mother Theresa didn’t even have kids because she was a nun. Like, if she had kids, I bet she would have lost her temper with them sometimes. Maybe a lot? I feel like I’m getting sidetracked here.

Oh, you also are so relationally attuned to others that you feel this pressure to be a great friend who never lets others down. And then on top of that you’re smart enough to know that this whole “be perfect” thing is a lie, and you shouldn’t believe it, but then you do believe it sometimes which makes you feel like you’re perfecting not being perfect and so now there’s that too.

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As you may have noticed, I’m not a woman. As you also may have noticed, I don’t always necessarily “understand” women. However, it seems to me like you’re bombarded about a million times a day with messages making it pretty much impossible for you to be okay with sometimes not being okay. Every movie, TV show, ad, and Instagram depict some non-reality that says “if you’d only try harder, this could be you.”

So that’s what I mean when I say it’s okay you’re not perfect. I figure it doesn’t hurt to hear read your husband saying that.

imperfect wife

On the days when you were so busy taking care of a sick one-year-old and you didn’t get a chance to put on makeup or do your hair, it’s okay. I know a lot of times you want to do that stuff for you, not for anyone else, but for what it’s worth you still look pretty, even when your hair is literally sticking out sideways from our kid using it as a security blanket. Like, I’d still make out with you is what I’m saying. I think I’m getting distracted again.

The times when you lose your patience with our three-year-old after an hour of non-stop tantruming, it’s okay. Honestly, he’s kinda the worst sometimes.

When you forgot to get the non-dairy milk, it’s okay. I can run to the store and get it.

When you feel like you barely made a dent in your mental checklist, it’s okay. I won’t do all the things, but I can do a couple of the things, and if you want me to I can help you prioritize the things, unless you don’t want that, in which case I absolutely will not help but just listen.

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When the best you were able to do was throw a handful of two second prayers up at the ceiling and hope God heard them, it’s okay, because he did, and he has a lot more grace for you than you do for yourself, and also I’m praying for you today.

You’re a good mom. You’re a good wife. You’re a good friend. You’re a good Christian. You’re good. Not perfect, but good. I love you and believe in you and I wouldn’t want you to be any other person than who you are. And I know I probably don’t tell you these things enough – you’ve also probably noticed that words of affirmation are hard for me – so I thought I’d write them down … and then share them with the world …

Because I suspect there are a few other wives out there drowning under the weight of perfection, and some husbands who don’t know how to say it, but would want their wives to know it’s okay not to be perfect. That they don’t expect that. That they love them just as they are. Thanks for letting me write this note to you to them as well. Because they could totally share this with their wives as a way of saying “this is how I feel too.”

But enough about them. I love you!

Josh

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This article originally appeared at Thriving Marriages.

Joshua Pease
Josh is a writer and speaker living with his wife and two kids in Colorado and the editor of ThrivingMarriages.com. His book, The God Who Wasn’t There, is available here.

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