When we marry we discover a fact we may have overlooked. Our spouses are flawed. We may find ourselves blindsided by their humanity. No matter whether our spouses possess strong faith or not, still they will fail in many ways, for they are merely human.

No one’s perfect.

This sounds like common sense. We should know this, for we aren’t perfect either. But we often entertain dreamy-eyed, Disney-esque, happily-ever-after expectations. I know I did.

Yet the Bible repeatedly confirms the universality of flawed humanity, detailing one human failure after another with God’s mercy and grace offered freely to each one. Even the “giants of the faith” all exhibited evidence of human failing. This is the human story.

No one is perfect but Jesus.

Yet, in spite of our failings, we all want to be respected, appreciated, valued, cherished, and seen. So do our spouses. One mistake we often make when we’re overwhelmed by the flaws of our spouse is to withhold these very affirmations that cause married love to grow. This is self defeating.

I urge you to humbly consider your own failings and mistakes instead, and then to treat your spouse as you would want to be treated. See your spouse as a fellow growing and flawed human being. Extend grace and consideration, as you hope it will be extended to you. Be the first to forgive and to offer kindness. Seek to outdo one another in unconditional love. Don’t be afraid to be the one who moves toward love and forgiveness first. Look for the glimmers of good, and then praise your spouse when you see them. Praise so your children can hear it.

Christ is with you, empowering and helping you. Walk in His steps. He went first.

Respect. Appreciate. Value. Cherish. Accept the other’s humanity.

This is what builds a good marriage that survives the trials and challenges of life. It’s worth the intentional effort. God’s grace will enable you to do it. Trust Him.