They stood side by side. My baby sister and her new husband. Framed by the tree with lights in it.

My parent’s backyard hummed with people – friends and family who came to celebrate this union, this joined life. And the synergy between the two was palpable.

Her blue eyes sparkled brighter than usual as the sun set over my mother’s ripening garden. Between guests, she reached out for his hand and I watched, as his fingers gently folded around hers.

We celebrate marriage. Because, when it is selfless and honest, it is the bedrock of sure and successful things. Of thriving communities, societies, families, and happiness.

Weeks ago, this groom said something my sisters and I cannot forget. He said about his wife-to-be, “She loves me perfectly, despite my imperfections.”

If you’ve been down the marriage road a ways, you know that’s easier said than done. Sometimes we withhold love out of anger or disappointment. We meet each other eye for eye, tooth for tooth, because we feel criticized, neglected, or misunderstood.

But what if we could give perfect love? Love without price or condition? Love that heals mistakes, forgives, and pulls us close when the world says push away? That is the goal, I believe, in loving any human soul. To accept each other. To love, even when it is hard.

Ironic isn’t it? That perfect love finds opportunity in imperfection.

So I am considering the people in my life. I am looking at my own life. None of us are perfect. All of us deserve a measure of mercy, and the gift of grace.

What can I forgive? Where can I mend? Who can I love today, perfectly?


Catherine Arveseth
In four years, Catherine became the mother of five children, including two sets of twins. Catherine recounts her long struggle with infertility and how time in this personal “wilderness” helped her to see motherhood differently. Catherine also shares some of the complexities, joys, and coping strategies that help her live–and love–her busy life as a mother of five.
Catherine Arveseth

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