In the April 2016 priesthood session of conference, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, "In God’s plan of happiness, we are not so much looking for someone perfect but for a person with whom, throughout a lifetime, we can join efforts to create a loving, lasting, and more perfect relationship."
Relationship coach Alisa Goodwin-Snell extended that advice to all young single adult members of the Church in a recent Mormon Channel Daily podcast and explained how a "perfect" relationship should not be the goal.
"It goes without saying that anyone you date and marry is not going to be perfect, and neither are you," Goodwin-Snell says. "And I think one of the hardest things that we come to realize as we get older, and we’re dating and getting married, is that we’re dealing with mortals—flawed people who make mistakes and say unkind things sometimes, and fall short of this perfect ideal that we may have worked up in our minds."
Goodwin-Snell explained how expecting perfection in relationships and potential partners leads to disappointment and unmet expectations. She confronted the idea of "good, better, and best" in the singles world.
"Oftentimes singles think that if they date the best, they are the best—they’re going to get the best outcome. And the truth of the matter is the best of the best does not exist," she says.
Instead of expecting a "perfect" relationship or a "perfect" partner, Goodwin-Snell advised singles to expect challenges, disagreements, and imperfections, and to see those challenges as a good thing. Explaining the basic law of opposition, she described how singles who expect a flawless relationship eliminate the possibility for growth.
"The more we strive for perfection, the more we’re going to drive ourselves into anxiety, and we’re going to drive ourselves away from our relationships," Goodwin-Snell says. "The solution is in learning how to manage these issues together as a couple—that it’s as we overcome these struggles together that we become more. That’s how we grow. That’s how we become more like God’s plan."
Although striving for perfection is a worthy goal, expecting a "perfect" spouse or a "perfect" marriage as an immediate goal only leads to disappointment and anxiety. Instead of expecting perfection immediately, expect to grow towards eventual perfection as you work through your challenges, disagreements, and imperfections together.
In his conference talk, "In Praise of Those Who Save," President Uchtdorf says, "Great marriages are built brick by brick, day after day, over a lifetime. And that is good news. Because no matter how flat your relationship may be at the present, if you keep adding pebbles of kindness, compassion, listening, sacrifice, understanding, and selflessness, eventually a mighty pyramid will begin to grow.
"If it appears to take forever, remember: happy marriages are meant to last forever! So 'be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great [marriage]. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.'"
Listen to the full podcast on Mormon Channel Daily.