AHHH – VALENTINE’S DAY!
That magical day when romance is in the air and many women have higher expectations than EVER for their men.
For men – it can be a day filled with consternation, apprehension, anxiety and fear – that what they plan or do will not meet their wives’ standard. This is especially true if things did not go well in the past.
WE HAVE FREEDOM
As believers in Christ – we are free from the carnal expectations and demands of the world. We don’t have to buy into the world’s ways and the world’s system and what the world says we must do or should do. There is freedom in Christ – even on Valentine’s Day in our marriages!
We are free to appreciate our husbands, enjoy them, respect them, and release them from cultural expectations and our own expectations. We set our hearts on Christ alone. We are content in Him. Anything else we get is icing on the cake. We can ask for what we would like. We can ask our husbands what they would like. We can appreciate all that our men do if they do something for us. But we are not slaves to expectations any more. We don’t have to react sinfully if we don’t get what we want.
Really – praise God for this – I don’t even have to be a slave to what I want anymore! I have died to self and to this world (Romans 5-8, Galatians 5). I live by the power of God’s Spirit for Christ. I seek His will and His glory, not my desires any more!
Let’s talk about our expectations for Valentine’s Day. There is nothing wrong with liking to feel loved, pampered, adored, and treasured. We LOVE romance as women, don’t we!?!? But where is it that we go wrong sometimes? And why is it that Valentine’s Day can sometimes be the most miserable day of the year for some couples?
Sometimes our expectations are HUGE:
- he should “just know” what I want without me telling him
- it’s “not romantic” if I tell him what I want for Valentine’s Day
- he should plan the whole thing all by himself and surprise me
- he should take me to MY favorite restaurant and get me a spa package and get me my favorite flowers
- if he really loved me, he would do X
- he should know what kind of jewelry I like and it needs to cost at least $XXX – or he obviously doesn’t love me
- if my husband doesn’t get me X – he doesn’t care about me at all
- he should take me away for the weekend to a hotel – as a surprise – without me having to mention it
- he should send me a 2000 word love letter/email gushing with all the romantic reasons he loves to be with me
Let’s notice something here…
Those expectations I just listed – do you see where my emphasis is? “HE SHOULD”
This is where I get into trouble. I am in charge of me. I can control me. I don’t control him. Is it fair, right, or reasonable to expect a man to read my mind, or to do things just because I expect them?
The other dangerous thing in some of those statements is how I am assigning evil motives to my husband if he doesn’t do what I want. I don’t know his heart! I cannot accurately make assumptions like that. Most husbands truly do love their wives and don’t want to hurt or upset them. Most husbands love to make their wives happy – if they think it is actually possible (check out Shaunti Feldhahn’s book, “For Women Only.”) I will push him away and make us both miserable if I assume he hates me and constantly demand reassurance of his love. I need to find my primary reassurance that I am loved, accepted, cherished and valued in CHRIST.
I can ASK my husband for things or tell him what I want with a smile, a pleasant voice, and respect in my heart. But I cannot demand. That is rude! It is unbecoming. It is disrespectful. No one responds to demands very well.
A very good definition of happiness is – the closer our expectations are to reality – the happier we will be. Conversely, when our expectations are very high, and reality doesn’t come close to our expectations, we are easily disappointed, resentful, discontent and unhappy. Also, when we tie our contentment and wellbeing to a specific outcome (our expectations), rather than to Christ, we are setting ourselves up for a fall.
The changeable factor here? OUR EXPECTATIONS!
Sometimes our reactions are AWFUL
How do we respond to our husbands if we are disappointed with what the did/did not do for us for Valentine’s Day (or other days)?
- yell and scream?
- call him names?
- become hateful and full of contempt?
- withhold sex?
- ruin the entire day, or maybe a week, with our wrath?
- pitch a fit?
- give him the silent treatment for the rest of the day, or week, or month?
- criticize and condemn our men?
- bash our husband to other women and tell everyone else what an unthoughtful jerk he is?
- act like we are “entitled” to have him do magnificent things for us – but care very little about his feelings?
What kind of behavior does Jesus expect from us towards our husbands?
We think a lot about love as women, and we expect our husbands to love us. But how do we treat them? What do they expect of us? What do we expect of ourselves as wives?
Whether it is on Valentine’s Day – or any other day of the year, Jesus expects us to:
- respect and honor our husbands out of reverence for Him (Ephesians 5:22-33)
- cooperate with our husbands’ leadership out of reverence for Him (Ephesians 5:22-33, I Corinthians 11:3, I Peter 3:1-2, Colossians 3:18, Titus 2:3-5)
- be kind to our husbands (I Corinthians 13:4-7)
- be patient with our husbands (I Corinthians 13:4-7)
- not be jealous (of how they spend their time, of them giving attention to our children, etc)
- not be arrogant/prideful and think we are better than and more spiritual than our husbands (I Cor. 13:4-7)
- not be rude to our husbands – EVEN if they sin against us! (1 Cor. 13:4-7)
- not be selfish/self-seeking (I Cor. 13:4-7)
- not be easily angered against our husbands (1 Cor. 13:4-7)
- keep no record of wrongs our husbands have committed against us (I Cor. 13:4-7)
- not delight when things go wrong for our husbands (I Cor. 13:4-7)
- always protect our husband spiritually, emotionally, financially, physically, seeking to do him good, not to harm him (I Cor. 13:4-7, Prov. 31) – if a husband is truly abusive or acting in criminal ways and a wife is not safe, please get appropriate help ASAP!
- always trust our husbands whenever possible (and if it is not possible, we will trust God to work in our husbands for their good)
- always hope in God (I Cor. 13:4-7)
- always persevere in the marriage (I Cor. 13:4-8a)
- not quarrel (I Corinthians 3:3 – quarreling means we are worldly, and not spiritually mature)
- not argue
- not complain (that Jesus might shine brightly in us as we hold out the Word of life! Phil 2:14-16)
- have a servant’s heart and pray for God to show me how I can bless and serve my husband and make the day special for him – and not make it be all about me (Luke 22:26)
- joyfully, willingly participate in sexual intimacy with our husbands (1 Cor. 7:1-5) unless there is infidelity, true abuse, major illness, etc…. (For more in this important topic, please search my home page for sex, sexual rejection, initiating, feel like a piece of meat, do I condone abuse or marital rape.)
There are many more things Jesus desires us to do. But I think this gives us a great place to start.
Keep in mind that to Jesus – the way I treat my husband – is the way I treat Him.
Many wives who read my blog have the opposite issue sexually where the husband is the one refusing to have sex and the wife wants to have sex. In that case, ladies, let’s respond with grace. We can ask for what we want respectfully and kindly, without a lot of pressure and definitely without resentment or anger. If your husband cannot or will not have sex with you, making a huge deal out of it and getting extremely upset and in his face about it will only repel him even more. Praying for wisdom for those of you who are facing these painful and difficult situations – that you might treat your husband with respect, even if he is not giving you sexual intimacy as he should. We cannot force or coerce our husbands into sex anymore than we would want them to force or coerce us. I pray God might empower us to respond with grace and His wisdom.
My heart goes out to those of you who are suffering in this way. You are not alone. This is a pretty common situation. I have more about it on the post, <a href=”http://peacefulwife.com/2013/05/02/the-devastation-of-sexual-rejection-in-marriage/” title=”The Devastation of Sexual Rejection in Marriage”>”The Devastation of Sexual Rejection in Marriage.”</a>
WE HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE OR BREAK VALENTINE’S DAY, LADIES!!!!!
By our reaction, our gratitude, our response, our patience, our grace, our forgiveness, our mercy… our being full of God’s Spirit and reacting in the power of Christ instead of our sinful nature.
I get to decide if we have a wonderful day together or if it will be miserable torture. It is ALL in my attitude and my response to my husband.
Let’s choose to be thankful, pleasant, grateful, calm, gracious, accepting, respectful, admiring and let’s choose to be flexible and roll with whatever happens with a cheerful attitude. Let’s NOT argue or complain, but be a godly example to those around us.
IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT ME
Why is it that we think Valentine’s Day, or our wedding anniversary should be all about us getting stuff and being pampered? One of the best gifts we can give our husbands is to lay all our expectations and all the pressure aside and just accept, love, respect, and treasure our men exactly as they are.
Let’s focus on what our men would enjoy and be thankful every day for our husbands being in our lives.
I pray You might help us to keep our eyes on You. Help us to honor and love You and to obey Your Word. Help us to keep our hearts set squarely on Christ, on desiring Your presence, on loving Your Word, on wanting to be more like You and seeking Your will and Your glory.
Help us to stop looking at ourselves and what we will get and help us to have servants’ hearts and focus on serving You primarily and then our husbands. Make our marriages strong, vibrant, healthy and godly and let Your Name be greatly glorified in our homes!
In the Name and power of Christ,