PMS.  I don’t know a woman who doesn’t deal with it.  I’m not talking about what you probably thinking, I’m talking about perfect marriage syndrome.

It flares up at different times but the times are predictable.  When we find ourselves around other married couples who are really killing it in life, it flares.  It happens at weddings when we reconnect with friends we haven’t seen in awhile and feel that insatiable need to impress them, making it look like we’re really doing well at this whole life thing.  It sometimes happens at church on Sundays.  But it especially flares when something goes awry in our own marriage.

A few months back all the Radiant columnists came to Nashville for a weekend retreat in our home.  Saturday afternoon our toilet decided to, shall we say, malfunction. I knew how to fix it but I didn’t have the right tools I needed and besides that, I didn’t want to spend the time fixing it because that would take time away from planning, dreaming and laughing with the Radiant girls.

So I did want any smart woman would do; called my husband. I asked him to come home and to my great dismay, he told me that he already had plans and kindly said that he did not want to interrupt them to come back and fix the toilet. I was outraged. Hot angry tears poured down my face and I used all sorts of colorful adjectives to articulate how I felt and what I thought of him in that moment.

The girls were in and out of the kitchen, refilling coffee mugs and popping open cans of La Croix from the fridge as this phone conversation was taking place in the hallway just off the kitchen where the malfunctioning toilet was.  There was no concealing what was going on.  After I hung up the phone, sweet Kelsey and Kelly came over and asked if I was ok, which only induced more burning tears and anger.

All these girls were in my home, I wanted it to be a beautiful, restful and peaceful weekend.  I wanted the house to look perfect, I wanted everyone to feel comfortable, and I really wanted my husband to be charming and sweet and come home and fix the freaking toilet!  I wanted to live up to being the marriage columnist for Radiant by being a good wife with a darling husband and fabulous marriage but clearly, that had already gone out the window.

I was embarrassed and ashamed so I went outside and smoked a cigarette while the girls sat around in the living room, curled up under quilts, talking and laughing.  Standing by the chicken coop in the backyard, I bawled my eyes out, flicking the ashes away and hoping that none of the girls would see me out there.  Then I felt even more embarrassed and ashamed for smoking that freaking cigarette and of how deathly stricken by perfect-marriage-syndrome I was.

What I found is fascinating, I don’t think there is a married woman who doesn’t find themselves, at some point or another, stricken with PMS.  But what cures us of the ills of PMS is the having the connection with fellow wives who know the truth.  They know the truth, that your marriage is not perfect, their marriage is not perfect, no ones’ marriage is perfect.

There is something that is so relieving, so freeing, to know that there are others who are the same.  In a world of staged Instagram marriages, it is so refreshing and such a great comfort to know there are people just like me that have perfect marriage syndrome.