Thursday, February 13, 2014



Valentine’s Day 2014

A Facebook friend recently shared a thought by Chip Ingram that caught my attention. It simply stated that “A perfect marriage is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other”. That’s a good thing to consider for anybody in a committed relationship on this Valentine’s week 2014. Perhaps it made more of an impact this morning as I finished the laundry and removed trapped cotton fibers from the dryer’s lint filter. It’s always wise to check the filter in case it’s completely jammed with anything that circulates out of the dryer as the clothes are readied for another fresh day.

So what in the world does a lint filter have to do with a perfect relationship? Well, as imperfect humans, we all need to come to grips with the concept that perfection is difficult to achieve. My wife Karen had developed a minor sinus irritation. As a consequence, she was always in possession of a tissue. And those tissues generally ended up in any possible pocket of her wardrobe. We both worked, so it was reasonable for both of us to share household duties and the weekend laundry fell on my side of the ledger. Needless to say, some of those ubiquitous tissues ended up in the laundry almost every week and I was always fishing their scattered remains out of the lint filter. Then I would complain and we’d exchange a few barbs back and forth in our weekly recycled tissue ritual. It was never a big deal but always a small irritation.

Then Karen was diagnosed with breast cancer. The next time I discovered a full lint filter, I was reminded that it was small stuff indeed and a blessing to validate her presence. And I never mentioned it again. That was a period of total appreciation for each other. Now whenever I clean the lint filter, I’m reminded of her memory and the day I resolved to filter out the small stuff and accept the imperfections in our relationship. The lint filter in my dryer is embossed with the instruction to “clean before each load”. That’s a good reminder to filter out all the small stuff in our head before each interaction. One of the biggest mistakes a couple can make is to commit to a relationship with the intent of changing the other person. And it always seems to be the small stuff that distracts us from the important stuff which can eventually destroy the relationship if not resolved—it’s much better to accept our little imperfections and refuse to give up on each other.

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