I'm somewhat of a pop culture head. I'm pretty sure that's why, whenever I hear the phrase, "perfect match", the first thing that comes to my mind—well, it might surprise you. Ready? It's the song from School Daze. Some of y'all might remember when Jane (Tisha Campbell) licked the scalp of Julian (Giancarlo Esposito) while the song, "Perfect Match" played in the background (couldn't find the actual movie footage but you can listen to the song itself here). Yeah, it's kinda one of those things that you can't un-see once you've seen it. Along these same lines, the next thing that usually comes to mind is the movie The Perfect Match starring Terrence J and Cassie. If you didn't catch it when it came out in 2016, basically the premise of it has something in common with the characters in School Daze—both couples idealized one another, so much, that they initially thought they were "perfect" for each other. Yet, once more layers started to get pulled back and reality started to really set in, they ended up having to accept that, when it came to being the so-called perfect couple, nothing could be further from the truth.
Yes, I intro'd this point by referring to two fictionalized accounts. But y'all, in real life, I sit in counseling sessions all of the time that consist of two people who are either extremely disappointed or flat-out pissed off that their partner, the one who they initially thought was perfect for them, has turned out to be any and everything but. And because they are so hurt by that, almost to the point of believing they've been betrayed, they figure that the appropriate response is to the end of the relationship so that they can make room to find true perfection.
Hmph. I'm hoping that I don't need to tell you that anyone who's looking for the perfect person is going to be on that quest, for the rest of their life. But what about the ever-so-romantic—and I'm rolling my eyes, even as I'm typing this, by the way—phrase, "They might not be perfect, but they are perfect for me"? Is that worth looking for? Eh. It depends on how you look at the word "perfect".
And that's actually what we're going to dive into today—figuring out if there is such a thing as a perfect match when it comes to romantic relationships. Let's look deeper by addressing five main points.
Perfection Is Hella Overrated
If you're out here looking for your perfect match, take a moment to ponder a particular definition of the word. To be perfect is to be "excellent or complete beyond practical or theoretical improvement". Aside from this being an impossibility for any human being (short of Christ himself), this definition alone is why I encourage people to desire a relationship that is healthy (functioning well), not perfect. Why? Because one of the most beautiful things about a healthy relationship is it consists of two people who are invested in helping the other to grow, evolve and mature into a better version of themselves. If the relationship was already "perfect", where would there be a need for any of this, since there is nothing that needs to be improved upon?
If that sounds absolutely crazy to you, let me try and approach it from another pop culture reference standpoint. Any of you who are old school Sex & the City fans will probably remember the episode when Carrie kept trying to create drama with Aiden when they first started dating (there's a clip of it here). Why was she being a relational drama queen? Because—get this—things were going too well for her (Carrie really was a pretty neurotic mess in hindsight, y'all). While that might sound dysfunctional AF (and it is), there are a lot of people who are a lot like this, just on a lower and more self-aware scale.
"This" in the sense that they don't want to be bored in their relationship. They want a few challenges. They look forward to a-ha moments and emotional roller coaster rides. Smooth sailing freaks them out. Perfection seems suffocating.
So yeah, let's start with one reason why a perfect match is a ridiculous notion is because most of us don't want something that doesn't require any improvement on some level. We merely want something that isn't toxic or counterproductive. And when it comes to that resolve, being in something that is healthy will suit us just fine. Next point.
Know What Else Perfection Is? SELFISH.
Something that is needed, for any relationship to flourish, is maturity. And a part of what comes with being mature is having the kind of emotional intelligence that portrays a healthy level of empathy. When a person is empathetic, not only does it mean that they can identify with the thoughts and feelings of another person, but they are intentional about doing it. When someone expects perfection, whether it be from their partner or their relationship, it means that, whenever their partner makes a mistake (or sometimes even just a poor choice because that is not always or necessarily one and the same), the person leaves no room for forgiveness or even hearing their partner out because wanting perfection is wanting no room for improvement, remember?
Not only that, but desiring perfection means you are only caught up in what you expect rather than what the reality of something is. Well, that is until you are the individual who is needing the forgiveness, a listening ear or a shoulder of support.
Example. It's been more than a dozen times when I've helped a couple work through infidelity. The person who initially gets cheated on is always like "this is the unpardonable sin" (yeah, if you're a Christian, you don't want to get into how the Word says that husbands should love their wives like Christ loved the Church and the Church are people who are unfaithful to the godhead on a regular basis—Ephesians 5). But sometimes, I'm able to encourage the one on the receiving end of the cheating to stay, only for them to do the exact same thing later up the pike. Suddenly, when they are the offender, now there are explanations, justifications and the longing for compassion.
That's the thing about perfection. It can have you out here being so focused on how much it can benefit you that you don't realize the painful boomerang that it creates when you fail to meet perfection's expectations. And that's why I say that it's a selfish way of thinking. You're not always going to do things perfectly, so don't expect your partner to.
Perfection Is Also Fleeting, Temporary and Non-Committal
Everyone's love journey is different. I'll be the first one to say that. But whenever a person tells me that they're considering marrying someone who they've only known for a short period of time (by that I mean, they met them in six months or less), I am always—and I do mean, always—encouraging them to pump their brakes. Now I will say that although some scientific research says that six months is all that it takes in order for a person to know if someone else is marriage material, and I've even written an article on here that says many think that 13 months is how long you should (seriously) date before getting married (check out "Experts Say You Should Date This Long Before Getting Married"), I really believe that all of this needs to have the disclaimer of it only applying if you previously knew the person before you actually got into a relationship with them.
While there are some of us who reveal a lot of who we are (perhaps too much; that's what my peeps tell me about myself—LOL), straight outta the gate, more folks lean towards only revealing their good side, for at least 3-4 months or so. Some call that side a person's representative. And so, if that's all that you know, it can be very easy to think someone is perfect for you, when all that they're showing is, well, perfection. Then, you jump fully in—only to find out about a year later that they've got all kinds of bullshishery going on. Not necessarily vile, dangerous or even "bad" stuff; just things that don't complement you well or things that you don't want to deal with long-term. I actually have someone close to me who is going through the regret of marrying their partner in under two years, realizing that they didn't really know them very well at all.
That's why I say that, when it comes to romantic relationships, more times than not, if two people claim they are with someone who is perfect, they are also signing themselves up for a situation that is gonna have a shorter expiration date than what they actually bargained for or emotionally prepared for. Because until "the representative" goes away, oftentimes all you're seeing is a grand illusion. And once that bubble pops and reality sets in, it can cause you to see that you wanted someone…totally different.
Besides, Two Imperfect People Cannot Create a Perfect Match
I'm just gonna go ahead and put it out there. A lot of people are relational hypocrites. What I mean by that is, they want the kind of partner that they themselves are not. As I said earlier, this reveals itself, most often, in those who seem to think they should be forgiven for all of the things they do wrong while they tend to take on the "one and done" approach when their partner messes up. I really do say it all of the time in my sessions—if you're not good at forgiving others, you're someone who doesn't need to be in a relationship because, the reality—no matter how ugly, uncomfortable or not preferred it might be—is no one is perfect and everyone ends up disappointing us, at one point or another. That said, you're not perfect, by any stretch, so it would be ridiculous for your partner to expect you to be that way. By the same token, why would you put that kind of "perfection pressure" on him?
A healthy and thriving relationship isn't about looking for someone who is perfect. Emotional intelligence and maturity teach us that it's more about looking for the kind of person whose strengths serve to be a good complement for us and whose weaknesses are ones that we can truly handle.
I will die on the hill that, a perfect match leans on the side of being totally ridiculous because, how does that even happen when the two folks in the relationship aren't perfect themselves? Since they need to consistently improve, how could the connection not require the same mercy and grace? Anyone who declares they are a "perfect match" should revisit the word "perfect" often. Because again, if you are professing that your relationship cannot stand to improve, you are just fooling yourself. Everything and everyone needs improvement. That's not a bad thing. That's just the truth.
A Wonderful Complement Is a Far More Realistic Goal
Now that perfection has been broken down, all the way to the floor, does that mean that absolutely beautiful examples of love don't exist? I am absolutely NOT saying that. I know some people who, while I don't refer to them as being a "perfect match", it is extremely evident that they complement each other exceptionally well. I'll even go so far as to call them "soulmates" because I don't romanticize that term.
The Hebrew word for soulmate is "beshert" which translates into meaning things like "destined", "inevitable" or "meant to be". And yes, some people, I believe, when they allow God to lead them in their lives, they are brought to the mate who best suits them. That doesn't mean their soulmate is their perfect match, though. Actually, from the way I see it, it means God has brought them to someone who will best improve them as they do the same for their partner. A soulmate or bashert is about an amazing complement (check out "If He's Right For You, He Will COMPLEMENT Your Life") NOT a perfect match.
So, while this might've burst some Disney and chick flick bubbles, I actually think that is a good thing. Perfection may be a goal, but, at the end of the day, it's an impossible one. Don't waste your very precious time looking for a man who is perfect when you aren't. Open yourself up to the possibility of connecting with someone who is good, who is holistically healthy, who strives for improvement and will complement you best. That guy? He's better than perfection because that guy…is real.
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