Imperfection Has Made Our Marriage Perfect

It wasn’t love at first sight.

I met Julie through a few friends of mine 22 years ago, and after getting her number, didn’t call her back for 2 weeks.

After leaving maybe 20 messages on her answering machine (which today we call “stalking”) she called me back, reluctantly, and we spoke for three hours.

I knew I was going to marry her on our first official date.

It was love at second sight.

21 years of marriage, this week, have undoubtedly required a retooling of my understanding of partnerships, parenting, myself and several other critical relationships.

Early in our marriage each of us had taken a Meyers-Briggs personality test and the results were atypical of most married couples.  Our tests results (INFP –The Mediator – Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving) were identical, unlike most married couples whose personalities are usually opposing. And, although “like” attracts “like”, in marriage it usually works out that the personalities of the husband and wife are markedly different to allow each person to bring something unique to the coupleship. But, in our case, it’s like looking in a mirror.  Both of us bring a lot of the same qualities and traits to the marriage.  Here are some of the characteristics of an ENFP:

ENFP Strengths                                                                                                                       

  • Outgoing and Carefree                                          
  • Empathetic
  • Flexible and Spontaneous
  • Highly Creative
  • Strong Social and Communication Skills

ENFP Weaknesses

  • Disorganized
  • Hypersensitive
  • Overthinks
  • Seeks approval from others
  • Struggles to follow through on ideas

As you can see, sharing traits can be a blessing and a curse.  Although both of us are very empathetic, we tend to be hypersensitive. And, we are highly creative, but tend to overthink a lot and seek approval from others.  Oh, and although we have strong social and communication skills, both of us struggle to follow through on our ideas. So, you can see how our mirrored traits could create some serious obstacles in our marriage and our parenting.   

The Meyers-Briggs exercise was probably one of the more important proactive steps we had taken very early on in our marriage. We learned specifics about each other’s personality characteristics and that gave insight into how both of us tend to manage personal relationships, career, parenting and many other interactions.

That awareness has averted many fights in our 21 years of marriage.    

After 21 years of marriage, I have come to value and honor our similarities. And, as is the case with marriage and all of its ebbs and flows, it takes a mastery of so many different skills, abilities and states of mind:  loyalty, patience, mindfulness, flexibility, commitment, understanding, thoughtfulness, assertiveness, love, communication, self-awareness, empathy, a growth-mindset, persistence, compassion and the list goes on and on.  The real interesting part for me, is that in some way all of the last 33 blogs have attempted to explore, understand and explain the foundations of certain human abilities and their interconnectedness within and to the world around us.  Here are three of my favorites…


When he was just 35 in 1966, Junior Johnson told Big Bill France at NASCAR that he was done racing.  At breakfast soon thereafter, France told the one-time moonshine runner that he couldn’t just quit. 

“You’re committed to racing,” France pleaded. “No, I’m not,” Junior replied. “Yeah, you are,” France shot back. Junior shook his head and looked down at the eggs and bacon.  “That chicken was involved in this breakfast,” he said.  “That hog was committed. I’m not committed.” “Then Junior Said to Jeff … ”The Best NASCAR Stories Ever Told, David Poole and James McLaurin, Triumph Books/182 pages

You cannot be an “involved” participant in your marriage because it doesn’t really work that well if you aren’t “committed” to your spouse and the process.

Don’t get me wrong, there have been times when both of us have contemplated quitting, but our commitment to each other and our children have forced each of us to “give” when our egos were telling us to stand our ground. 


If you look at any relationship as something that “evolves” over time there are 3 stages: Dependency, Independency and Interdependency.

The independent stage creates a paradigm where both people as individuals are able to evolve, but the marriage evolution stalls because each participant operates on behalf of their own best interests. The dependent stage holds one person responsible for the physical, emotional and spiritual guidance of the marriage.  As you can imagine, this stage creates a paradigm of imbalance if left to subsist over long periods of time.  While interdependency acknowledges the independent and dependent nature of relationships it is focused on creating an environment of sharing, understanding, and collective mentoring.

Self-awareness and relationship-awareness determine the current stage of your marriage.  Over the course of 21 years, we have been through both the dependent stage and the independent stage and right now we (most of the time) reside in the interdependent stage. Getting to this place has been a journey in and of itself and required harnessing many skills, like communication, honesty and trust.  


Have you seen Good Will Hunting?  Well, if you haven’t, go see it.  There is an exchange between Sean and Will that goes like this:

SeanMy wife used to fart when she was nervous. She had all sorts of wonderful idiosyncrasies. You know what? She used to fart in her sleep. Sorry I shared that with you. One night it was so loud it woke the dog up. She woke up and gone like “oh was that you?” I’d say yeah…I didn’t have the heart to tell her…Oh God…

Will: She woke herself up?

Sean: Yes!…. Oh Christ….aahhh, but, Will, she’s been dead two years and that’s the sh*t I remember. Wonderful stuff, you know, little things like that. Ah, but, those are the things I miss the most. The little idiosyncrasies that only I knew about. That’s what made her my wife. Oh, and she had the goods on me, too; she knew all my little peccadillos. People call these things imperfections, but they’re not — aw that’s the good stuff. And then we get to choose who we let into our weird little worlds. You’re not perfect, sport. And let me save you the suspense. This girl you met, she isn’t perfect either. But the question is: whether or not you’re perfect for each other. That’s the whole deal. That’s what intimacy is all about.

It sure does help to marry your soul-mate since the relationship tends to develop over many lives and because you have done this “relationship” thing before, you can skip the small-talk and get right to the “good” stuff.  And, for me, that stuff is the little things about Julie that no one else knows.  The way she chews the blanket when we are in bed.  Her bathtub singing. The things that have endeared her to me the most. The things that matter.  

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