When “Wow, I found my perfect match!” turns to “Whoa, this guys got some flaws!” don’t panic. When you married, you likely had a dream of what your life would be like and who your spouse would be. It doesn’t take long for that idealized image to give way to seeing your husband for who he really is—a real person with imperfections. Learning to love the real man you’ve married may be challenging, so here’s ten tips that can help you do just that.

Tip #1: Embrace imperfection.

Embracing your husband’s flaws may seem like letting go of the dream you had for the man you married. To keep the dream alive, you may have set out to improve or change your mate. You might point out his flaws, in hopes of getting him to alter his behavior. Initially, your husband may respond with an encouraging change in behavior, but if your attempts to improve him persist, he’s likely to pull away or push back. Reality is, your mate is much more likely to change if you give more focus to what he does well. It’s okay to complain occasionally. Embracing their imperfections simply means to willingly accept the fact that they aren’t perfect and will not perfectly meet your needs.

It’s important to keep two things in mind to help you embrace your husband’s imperfections. First, his flaws are a part of him, but not all of him. We tend to rehearse our complaint in our head until it casts a negative light on our whole husband. Try to keep it in perspective. He is a work in progress, too!

Second, marriage by design is intended to transform two imperfect people into two great lovers. Learning to deal with one another’s imperfections makes us grow. We can, either fight and resist the things that are difficult about our mate, or choose to expand our love to embrace all of the other, the good and the hard. We can begin to see our mate’s imperfections as a means whereby we are made into better lovers.

“You come to love not by finding the right person, but by seeing an imperfect person perfectly.” (Sam Keen)

Check back next week for 10 Tips to Loving an Imperfect Husband: Part 2!