If you meet a perfect person, don’t marry them! Please run, take off! Leave your shoes behind, carry your ID and maybe your sim card, but run very fast and don’t look behind. Unless of course you have a secret wish to meet with your maker before time then you can stay and indulge them or if you harbor some political ambitions then maybe you could consider marrying that person because they can be head your secretariat or form part of your think tank mechanism for manufacturing lies.
I told you the other day that we married folk, lie a lot and I will continue hammering that point until you quit believing us and start taking in what the Bible says about this noble institution. We have crafted words and phrases that tell you what your itching ears want to hear and then you go and apply it and then wonder how comes it’s not working. If there is any married person who tells you that they married the perfect mate, please stop eating pay the bill and take off because that is another compulsive liar who doesn’t care about your future and he/she hasn’t read the Bible. You stand a better chance with a stranger than your friend.
Perfection is a myth! When you think about it critically there is nothing perfect in this terrestrial existence. Have you seen or heard of anyone that is without any taint? Then why are we so gullible even to fall for what we know is a diminuendo into an abyss of non-existence?
Psalm 14:2“The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.”
You have 'refused' to date until you meet "the ultimate ideal partner"....utangoja sana (you will really wait my fren)!! The only person who should demand perfection is a flawless person and you are not! You must have heard the joke of this lady who had these incredible standards for the ideal partner in her twenties. Of course, every guy in town could not meet them and as she slid into her 30s and 40s, the standards dropped and finally she just wanted a man, any man provided he is breathing.
Perfectionists are really imperfect partners. They have a false sense of self entitlement that will cripple you. They are usually loaded with an unimpeachable list of very high standards that they too cannot meet. You will be terrorized at the slightest breach of his/her laws that were enacted without your consent just because your partner possesses a tyranny of emotional intellect. After all they know everything and they don’t make mistakes.
Sue and Joseph
Joseph was the ideal campus guy. He was among the first guys to spot a Craig David look with his beard and make the owner of that style look like a wanna be. He had it going for him. He was born again, a dancer, member of the body building club, a straight A student and then he dressed well. The cherry on the ice cake was that he was a perfect gentleman and not a player. His first-year relationship ended in a whisper and he never dated again despite being ‘the guy’. Several girls had his profile photo as their screen saver.
So, it was a real shocker when he approached Susan in their last semester and asked her to be his girlfriend. At first Susan was bemused and puzzled… Joseph wanted to date her? She was a nondescript lady in campus and she couldn't understand how this buffet of masculinity managed to summon all his awesomeness and ask this unremarkable lady from the hinterland of Ushago (countryside) whose name had very many consonants than the alphabet. It sounded like someone eating a chapati (Swahili wheat bread) that had only been cooked on one side.
She was smitten, stunned and besotted by this dazzling Joe and she agreed to date him. The first two weeks were good and the second fortnight, they started pretending. When they began their second month, his true colors came out of his closet. He wanted her to change her dressing, he wanted her to account for her entire day and he chose her friends….it just felt like a headmaster pupil relationship and it wasn't long before long Susan felt suffocated.
Her best friend noticed it and tried to give her some advice but she wouldn't listen. When she thought about the idea of leaving him and living without him, she felt like her teeth were sweating a strange fluid and her tongue tasted like a dry old blanket full of bed bugs. There was no way she was going to leave him. She will do her best to change for him.
They graduated and he got a first class honors and she got a second upper. Their parents met on that day. Susan’s parents were really impressed by this young hunk of a guy who said the right words with the appropriate body language. Joe’s parents were easy going, they were just glad to meet their son’s girlfriend and family and happy that he was dating a Christian.
Joseph got a job immediately and couldn't understand why Susan was taking time to land a job despite the fact that she had attended several interviews. Their dates were loaded with fights and demeaning vocabulary that really pummeled Susan’s persona. If she tried to raise that issue, that in itself would be a problem, if she kept quiet the entire time…that too would turn into a verbose lecture punctuated with verses from the King James Bible on how she was acting improperly.
Amidst all this drama, Joseph went to South Africa for some work and came back with an engagement ring for his girlfriend. Being a meticulous guy, he painstakingly planned and proposed to Susan in a spectacular fashion that would shame Hollywood movie directors. The guy scripted, directed, hired people to role play and managed to bring an entire floor in the busiest shopping mall in town to a grinding halt just so that he could propose to his sweetheart and ask her to marry him.
She mellowed and this gesture alone made her forget everything. In fact, she saw herself as the one who was not up to his standards and she made a mental note to improve so as not to be a disappointment. She was going to marry the most charming man in town.
Planning for the wedding was another chapter in the book of their life. Sue had little input because he kept on reminding her that she was the village girl and he was the one who knew everything about everything. She acquiesced to playing a minor role in the planning despite the fact that she had always been told that the wedding day belongs to the lady. This was Joseph, the multitalented superman, her very own idol and she wasn't going to allow just one day to come in between them.
Grandiloquence and splendor wrapped up the entire wedding. Guests enjoyed danced and had lots of fun. It was a momentous occasion that was followed by a 3 week honeymoon at the Caribbean. Things were rosy, they were married and she saw a nice side of Joe that she hadn't seen in a long time. This was the guy she fell in love with, this was the loving person that she had envisaged getting married and so they were going to have a lovely drama free marriage, the challenges they had during date were a storm in a teacup.
When they came back home, their honeymoon life continued as usual….no sorry, their honeymoon life did not continue...In fact on the second day after their honeymoon she accidentally dropped a glass in the kitchen and it broke into pieces.
“Is that my glass?” Joe yelled from the bedroom.
Sue froze and couldn't utter a word.
Her husband came with the urgency of an ER doctor and couldn't believe what he saw.
“How careless can you be, what kind of woman are you? You don’t do drugs do you?”
“I…I…what? Is this your debut in our marriage? When we get to 10 years will we have anything brittle in this house? Or do you want us to start using plastic utensils………?” He continued with his merciless onslaught over one glass and for the next 10 minutes she sucked it all up. She was confused and tongue tied at the same time. She actually felt like going to the supermarket to buy ten other glasses to replace that one glass.
Joe was the darling of every one. He had charm and wit that was irresistible. Whether it was in church or at a party, Joe was able to blend it appropriately and stand out when necessary. Sue watched how he role played in public and at home and she couldn't believe it. She remembered her mom’s counsel, “Ndoa ni kuvumilia” (marriage involves perseverance). She was trapped to this guy and somehow, she couldn't crack the perfection code. She wondered how they were so in love and yet he never stopped demanding less than stellar standards in everything. Should she also come up with her own set of rules…she wondered.
Being around her husband was a living nightmare. You had to choose your words carefully, in fact you had to rehearse them lest you speak something that is off in his world and get a backlash. It didn't help that Sue had a slight lisp and a bit of mother tongue influence in some words, he was intolerant and extremely impatient. She felt stuck and stifled with a handsome guy with a great body but sickening perfectionistic tendencies that border on narcissism.
When Sue messed up he could flare up and go on hours about her mistake. He would even take her on a ‘fishing trip’ of her past mistakes just to remind her of the past. One interesting thing is that Sue never remembers him apologizing for anything. One evening she ‘collected’ all her guts from ‘under her bed’ and asked Joe.
Joe, how come you never apologise when you are at fault?
“I’m never at fault honey. I don’t make mistakes and when I do it’s because you push me to it….” Joe had the gift of gab, he could talk himself out of any situation and she was always left confused with him but again she seemed to agree with him that indeed it was her fault that he did those mistakes.
On and on, they guy continued to berate and slice her into smithereens. Her ego was in shards by the time she conceived. She put on a lot of baby fat, her face was ‘swollen’, she now had thick lips and some acne on her face. Joe couldn't understand why she had to eat several times a day and he thought that she is becoming a glutton. He would show excitement at the thought of being a father and then become impatient with her as time progresses. She called her a lazy wife, anytime she dragged her feet. He even had the temerity to remind her that Serena Williams won the Australian Open when she was 3 months pregnant.
In her heart, she wanted to tell him, “Why didn't you marry her?”, but then she knew what would follow and she wanted to balance her stress levels. So, she let it pass and that became the norm of their sickening marriage. Joe would mount up his pedestal of self and talk down at her like a common plebeian and she would take it in.
When the baby came, Joe became a hands-on dad, doing all he could to be supportive and of course just pushing her to the limit whenever he thought that she was slow in one thing or the other. When the baby was 3 months old, Sue sank into depression and became completely withdrawn. She just shut him out and was in the process of shutting her baby down when their nanny intervened. She had seen and heard how demanding this guy had been to his wife and she could see her resigned and helpless state.
One evening as he pounced on her with his list of maternal failures, the nanny went up to the bedroom door and recorded that entire diatribe and forwarded it to both their mums. She followed it up with a text saying, “I know that this is none of my business and I am aware that I could lose my job, but I feel like I have to do something before its too late. All is not well.”
The parents tried to arbitrate...
The parents tried to arbitrate after they received that voice clip and Joe was incensed. He went on another tirade at the house manager and fired her on the spot. He didn't see the crisis in his house and for the first time in 3 weeks, Susan opened her mouth.
“I’m a prisoner in my own marriage and I want to be free. Joe, let me go and be at my mum’s place for sometime and then come back when my head is clear”
Her hubby reluctantly agreed to let her go and that was the beginning of another chapter in their marriage. With time Susan came back to herself after attending some counseling with a therapist who helped her come out of that depression and for the first time she could breathe again. She could fart and exhale from her rear end without feeling guilty. She was coming back to herself and she really felt good.
Joe on the other hand had regained ‘his space’ with his OCD predispositions. He missed his family, but then he had the chance of arranging everything in its right place, according to their right color scheme and in his own taste. His house was impeccably clean, talk of being spotless, the guy was a neat freak even the flies needed a visa to pay him a visit because there was absolutely no trash even though he cooked every day! He visited his family every weekend and he was the usual Mr. Perfect again doing all the charming things. His mother in-law thought that things had changed but then Susan was not a fool, she could see right through his facade and she had gained some ground that she wasn't willing to cede.
After about 3 months, Joe asked his wife to come back home and for the first time in a very long time Susan found herself saying, “No.” A polite but emphatic No.
Abnormal awkward silence.
Susan couldn't believe herself but she was glad that she said it. That word sneaked from her heart and by passed her mind and out of her mouth it landed on Joe’s eardrums like a reverberating gong!
“Why honey? I want my family back with me, you are doing well and our baby is growing….”
“That’s precisely the point Joe….” Susan interjected which again was unlike her,
….I don’t think I’m right for you. I do not have a voice in our relationship.
The past three months have been so therapeutic, I have had a lot of time to think and process and now I know that you are not content with me as I am.
Right from college, you have tried and maybe succeeded in some instances to mould me into another human being. It’s like you are forcing me to become the princess in your own castle, instead of treating me like a princess in our palace.
You want me to fit in with your many rules that really have no bearing.
It’s like you have a constitution that is constantly being updated without ‘marital wifi’. I don’t even know my favorite color, the things that I like doing were thrown away into the trash by you and congratulations, you have succeeded in making me feel unimportant in this marriage.
Apart from making love to you, can you tell me anything that I’m doing right in this marriage…. please honey, just tell me one thing that I do right for you that you can appreciate without any addition from you?
You are superman, you know everything.
You can never be corrected, you never apologize, you have a way with words.
I think you must be God.
When I’m around you, I feel like I need to have a written script from you so that I can answer appropriately.
I’m no longer walking on eggshells and it’s because I smashed all of them and now you took your standards a notch higher.
I feel like I have to tip toe on water and ensure that all my toes don’t get wet despite the fact that I have no control over surface tension.
You are impatient with me, I don’t feel safe around you, you tell me that you love me but all I feel towards you is resentment and total antipathy.
I’m done pretending and I’m done playing nice. I’m not perfect and in fact I don’t even want to go there because it is an unattainable ideal.
You have amplified my mistakes and yes, they are glaring, but where is the place of grace and acceptance? When will I ever feel like it is okay to be human again?
Joe, I’m not coming home!!
Joe was befuddled. She never knew that his wife could stand up to him and say No. He was used to being a bully and having his way in almost everything. So now his wife was breaking up with him and being very calm and very civil about it. This was scary.
“Are you divorcing me?” he asked.
I didn’t say that, I said that I am not coming home. Okay let me be elaborate.
It has occurred to me that I am unable to meet your exceptionally high standards.
To do so would mean that I need to be trained to be an actor and all so that I can play perfect royalty to you, it’s clear I flopped the auditions.
So now I want to be human, a normal flawed human being who can be accepted so that together we work and walk towards the cross of Christ and allow him to continually perfect us into his image.
I don’t see that in our marriage and until I’m sure that we are on that journey together then we will stay separated.
This is my perception of you, I think you have reached, you seem to breathe with the angels in the third heaven. I’m still waiting for the rapture and so I think I am safe right here
He was dealing with Susan season 2
Joe tried to work his magic by pulling out every card in his arsenal but neither of them worked. He was dealing with Susan season 2!
Joe went back to his house and had a long meeting with himself. Could it be true that he was actually a perfect beast that had successfully pushed his wife out of their home? He believed in the sanctity of marriage and there was no question that he loved his wife but to hear that she now begrudged him actually crushed him to the core. He decided to get help because he was determined to woo his wife back.
The counselor he met with asked to meet both of them so that he could hear the wife’s side of the story and after Sue had stated her side. He told them,
“There is hope for this marriage, but you Joe must take the lead in this because you are the missing piece in this puzzle. You sound like a boss and not a leader, it’s like you have a list of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that your wife has to meet compounded with monthly targets and a strict evaluation/appraisal every quarter. As a husband, you do not dictate, you listen, you consult, you reflect and then give direction. When was the last time you apologized to your wife?”
“You see my point and that one right there is pride! You are a proud man Joseph and one of the things that you have to learn if your marriage is going to heal is to apologize. You need to look at your wife right now in the eyes and hold her hands and tell her just how sorry you are!”
Joe turned to Sue and gave a heartfelt apology and then broke down. Susan stood up and held him and both of them hugged and cried for what seemed like eternity. Susan was washing away all the pain from destructive words and Joe was just remorseful for being an insensitive control freak. It was the closest they had felt in a long time and that was the genesis of their restoration.
If you are ‘perfect spouse’ and you pride yourself in your 'perfectionistic' ways, then you really need a trip to Calvary before you choke the life out of your spouse. You argue about petty stuff like the toothpaste, the tissue rolls, the parking space, table etiquette….all these things don’t really matter when you are sick and you need someone who genuinely loves you.
You can successfully lull your spouse into sleep with your many demands, but then remember one day, he/she will wake up and you will wish that you hadn't gone that far.
If you are struggling with this intruder in your marriage, there is help for you, you don’t have to slaughter each other in your dreams.