“Wait a second,” I said, dumbfounded, “a girl’s [insert some aspect of a girl] isn’t important to you at all?”
“No,” my roommate responded. “I’m a [insert other aspect] guy.”
My roommates and I have discovered things about each other over the years. But some of the most interesting things are the different qualities we look for in girls. They can be physical or non-physical qualities, but I realized how the perfect girl isn’t the same for all of us. We have differing opinions on everything from tender or strong, quiet or boisterous, curvy or not curvy, types of eyebrows, chins, clothes, voice, first language, occupation — whatever.
But the other day I heard the story of how a friend met her husband, and it opened up a whole new layer of this subject to me. In her case, it was actually something that most others would consider a “flaw” that ultimately brought them together.
My friend had a foster sister who died very young from liver failure. She was just friends with her future husband until one day he mentioned his liver had serious problems. He had been scared to share this with anybody, but for some reason that day he shared it with her. And because she had a very soft place for that struggle, she felt a new kinship to him. Soon they were dating and eventually married.
I like to think of it as a flaw that saved at least one of them from the rest of the dating pool so they could eventually find each other. A finding flaw, if you will.
And so this made me wonder. Is this a thing? Do other people sometimes find their partner not because of their perfection, but because of a specific imperfection? I polled my friends on Facebook and got a lot of funny and interesting stories. People found each other over everything from how their names would be hilarious combinations if married, to how others deemed them childish because they loved playing Pokemon Go, to some flaws that were much more difficult and serious, yet brought them together.
But I discovered something even more interesting when I heard their stories. For those who found their partner partly because of a flaw, the flaw flavored their marriages with a deeper richness than if they had found their partner by their strengths or near-perfections.
As an example, one friend said that when she met her husband they both had really hard experiences in their pasts. Their hard pasts were in part what had up to that point kept them each single. They became friends and only because they were “just friends” did they have the confidence to share those histories with each other. But it was because they had each dealt with similar hardship that they had the empathy to hear and accept the other person’s story of pain. The trust that grew from sharing their histories solidified their friendship and gave them extremely solid ground to build toward marriage when romance started to blossom.
It may seem like an unlikely success story, but my friend said there are some serious blessings borne out of their journey. I asked what those blessings are. She listed: “Our commitment to each other, our determination to make things work. Our appreciation for each other, especially for the friendship we have, which neither of us had before. Respect. Safety. Real love. And we see God’s hand sustaining us continually. We rely on Him constantly, and while He doesn’t make everything easy, He hasn’t let us fall.”
I was then able to see the same thing in my other friend’s story, the one with the liver failure. When I asked her what her marriage is like she said, “It hasn’t been easy with Ben sick for so much of our marriage, but it’s been filled with gratitude and love. We work together as a team and are quick to forgive and serve one another.”
Both these stories, and some of the other ones I heard, convinced me that something much deeper was happening in marriage. Not two people loving each other only for their strengths or what they brought to the proverbial table, but two people understanding new depths of Christ’s love because of beautiful imperfection.
Their finding flaws.