By Tom Holland
An extremely zealous preacher was presenting a sermon on the importance of spiritual growth and development. He paused and said, “If anyone in this audience is perfect, please stand up right now.” A man toward the rear of the auditorium stood. The surprised preacher said, “Sir, do I understand that you are claiming to be perfect?” The man said, “No, I don’t claim to be perfect. I’m standing for my wife’s first husband.”
Marriages made in heaven (Matthew 19:6), have to be lived on Earth. Mature people know that there are no perfect marriage partners. Unfortunately, some imperfect marriage partners feel free to be constantly criticizing the other marriage partner. One man was his wife’s number one critic beginning with breakfast. She never cooked his eggs properly. Finally she decided to fry one egg and scramble the other one. He sat down at the breakfast table and immediately informed his wife that she had scrambled the wrong egg.
Mature marriage partners will accept with appreciation constructive criticism from the marriage partner. But the fault-finding negativism that may come from pride or low self-esteem can take the joy out of marriage. The cure for fault-finding is biblical love. Love is active goodwill. According to an inspired discussion of love, it is a quality of character that “suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up (arrogant), does  not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil …”  (1 Corinthians 13:4-5).
We appreciate people who try to build us up. We learn to resent people who are tearing at us with negativism.
Since marriages are lived on Earth with imperfect people comprising the marriage, there must be kindness, longsuffering, patience, and forgiveness. These virtues are in reality love in action. This love is the foundation for continuity in the marriage contract. This kind of love puts joy in marriage. Two people bound together in biblical love understand that God created marriage for the happiness, security, peace, and contentment of mankind.