Loving an Imperfect Spouse

If you live with anyone for long, sin patterns and bothersome traits will quickly emerge. And marriage is no exception.

If our husbands are in Christ, we can take this truth to the bank, knowing that God’s power never comes back depleted. The same God who called our husbands to Himself is sanctifying them day by day (2 Cor. 4:16). Even if there is a specific sin or quirk that your husband doesn’t see, you can find rest in the fact that your husband’s power to change doesn’t rest on him at all—it rests on God (2 Cor. 3:4–6).


We all have quirks, don’t we? If you live with anyone for too long, sin patterns and bothersome traits will quickly emerge. And marriage is no exception.

Perhaps you can even think of a list of those very quirks and sins that make up your husband?

Maybe he forgets to do the house project you have asked him to do repeatedly.
Maybe he likes to have his shirts folded in a certain way, and you fold them differently.
Maybe he only eats meat and potatoes while you yearn for variety and culinary culture.
Maybe he forgets to plan date night.

Of course, these things didn’t always bother you. Before marriage, you either didn’t notice them or didn’t think they mattered in light of the great love you felt for him. But the longer you are married, the more you would really like him to change. Welcome to the reality of two sinners living in a sin-cursed world. Elisabeth Elliot has these helpful words to say about how we relate to an imperfect husband.

“My second husband once said that a wife, if she is very generous, may allow that her husband lives up to eighty percent of her expectations. There is always the other twenty percent that she would like to change, and she may chip away at it for the whole of their married life without reducing it very much. She may, on the other hand, simply decide to enjoy the eighty percent, and both of them will be happy” (Love Has a Price Tag).

Bearing with One Another

So what does it look like to “enjoy the eighty percent”? While you are married to the man you love, you are also married to a brother in Christ. The passages that speak to how we live as Christians speak to our marriages too.

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