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Expectations – Part 1

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We all go into marriage with a lot of expectations.  (Click here for Part 2, Part 3, Part 4)

And, as a reader of mine quoted last week,

“Expectations are premeditated resentment.”

Ladies, what are some expectations you have of your husband and marriage?

Some expectations – I believe are valid.  I believe we should be able to expect our wedding vows to be honored.  But sometimes even that doesn’t happen, sadly.

WHAT ARE SOME EXPECTATIONS THAT GET US INTO TROUBLE?  WHEN I THINK:

  • if I love my husband well (or submit to him biblically and respect him), that my husband will always love and cherish me the way I want him to – that he will “owe me” and must please me or must be the man I want him to be or act in certain ways
  • if I do things right – God will also “owe me” and I will never have to suffer
  • my husband will never turn me down for sex
  • my husband must be perfect and must never sin against me
  • that marriage will be like a romantic movie, I will constantly feel “in love” and “loved”
  • that marriage will solve all my problems
  • that if I am married, I will never be lonely

There are many more possibilities, but this is a good place to start.   Keep in mind that these expectations can easily become idols for us – and we can easily set our hearts on these things instead of on Jesus alone.

We will look at some additional expectations tomorrow.

LET’S TALK ABOUT REALITY VS. EACH OF THE ABOVE EXPECTATIONS

  •  I have an obligation to my Lord, Jesus Christ, to obey His Word and to love my husband, respect him and honor his God-given leadership (Ephesians 5:22-33, Titus 2:2-5, I Corinthians 11:3, I Peter 3:1-6).  But my accountability to God is for my own sin and my own obedience and God requires my obedience to His Word regardless of my husband’s corresponding obedience to God’s Word to love me as Christ loves the church.  Husbands are people.  They have free will.  Just like my husband cannot force me to obey God and love Him, I cannot force my husband to love God and obey Him.  And I cannot force him to love me either.
  • God values suffering when it is for His glory. God promises that we will suffer in this life.  Jesus suffered as an example for us.  And God wants to use suffering to make us more like Jesus.  My life will have suffering.  But God’s promise is that He will be there to empower me to endure and that He will teach me and make me more like Jesus.  I will learn the most during my times of suffering if I will listen for God’s voice.
  • Reality is that husbands do reject their wives sexually, sometimes.  Some husbands do this more than others.  But the way I respond when I am rejected is a big indicator of how close I am to God.  Can I take my hurt and pain to Jesus and find my fulfillment, joy, strength and purpose in Him alone?  Or do I begin to cherish a grudge and bitterness and hatred?  God can and will use these situations to help make me more holy if I am willing to do things His way and let go of my own wisdom.
  • Husbands are human.  They are all wretched sinners in desperate need of Christ!  So are wives! He WILL sin against you – the question is only when and how much.  God can and will use these opportunities to reveal the sin in your own heart because we are most tempted to sin when we have been sinned against (Gary Thomas Sacred Marriage).  If I cannot respond to my husband’s sin with mercy, forgiveness, grace, respect, gentleness and speaking the truth in love (after removing the sin from my own life first) – then I have a lot of sin to confess and repent of before my Holy God.
  • Marriage CAN be very romantic sometimes.  But it is not Hollywood.   And it can be and will be excruciatingly painful other times.  It will not follow a carefully scripted movie plot line.  When we expect men to act the way they do in romantic chick-flicks (which are often written by women) – we are buying into a fantasy that completely warps real masculinity.  We set up false expectations for our men when we consume these things. If watching romantic movies, reading romantic books and listening to love songs creates discontentment in you – romance may be an idol and it is time to stop watching and listening to these things and time to focus on Jesus and His love.
  •  Paul says that those who have married will have much trouble in this life.  Marriage does not solve nearly as many problems as it creates!  Marriage is a gift and a blessing.  God designed it to demonstrate His love and relationship with His people.  But in a marriage between two sinners – there is MUCH TROUBLE.  Expect that.  Be prepared for it.  Don’t complain and argue.  Be ready to give grace and to roll with reality and be flexible.  Your way is not the most important thing.  God’s will is the most important thing!
  • The loneliness that happens sometimes in marriage is a loneliness that far exceeds (in my view) the loneliness of being single.  There are times that we will be lonely, VERY lonely in our marriages.  I believe that is our cue to look to Jesus.  Our husbands will fail us.  But Jesus never will.  When I keep my heart set completely on Jesus alone – I will find the belonging, the security, the peace, the love, the acceptance and companionship I so desperately long for.

WHAT DO I DO WHEN MY HUSBAND DOES NOT MEET  MY EXPECTATIONS?

Do I believe I am justified to sin against him by cussing, screaming, yelling, throwing things, hating him, resenting him, gossiping against him, undermining him to our children, withholding sex from him, not forgiving him, thinking I am so much better than he is, belittling him, disrespecting him, taking over and trying to control him and the family?  If I respond in even one of these ways – I am in sin before God.

The way I respond when my husband doesn’t meet my expectations reveals the level of sin in my heart.  It shows whether the sinful nature is in control or God’s Spirit is in control.  When God’s Spirit is in control, He empowers me to respond to my husband, even if he sins against me with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control.

Take a minute and think about

1. What are your expectations of your husband and marriage?  Are any of them toxic?

2. How do you respond when your expectations are not met?

3. What idols and sin is God revealing here that He wants to deal with and remove from your heart?

27 thoughts on “Expectations – Part 1

  1. This is great, April! When my hubby and I were in premarital counseling, one of the assignments we were given was to each make a list of what we expected of each other in marriage. At the top of my list was something like this: “When I have a hard day at work and come home grumpy, he will hug me and everything will be better.” Our pastor pointed out that I was seeking from man (my soon-to-be-hubby) what I should be seeking from God — taking everything to Him in prayer.

    This helped me to see that another human being is not in charge of my happiness or lack thereof — I am, and need to rely on the Lord to help me through the tough times.

    Blessings to you!
    ~Anna

  2. If God values suffering He really screwed up when He made the Garden of Eden. Satan brought suffering, and God doesn’t value the things of the devil.

    1. Leta,
      Thanks so much for your comment!
      Sin did bring suffering. You are right there was no suffering in the Garden of Eden.

      But now that we live in a sinful world, God uses suffering for our good. This is not popular – but it is a very dominant theme in the Bible – that God uses suffering to strengthen our faith and refine and test our faith for His glory. Here are just a few scripture references to God’s purposes being accomplished through suffering and how God uses suffering for our good and benefit.

      Isaiah 52:13-53-12 is all about Jesus – that He would be the “suffering Servant” and how “it was the Lord’s will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer” so that we could be made right with God.

      All of the disciples suffered greatly. The whole book of I Peter is about the fact that as Christians we will face suffering and persecution and that God uses suffering to make us more like Jesus.

      “In this you greatly rejoice (our heavenly inheritance that can never spoil or fade), though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire- may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” I Peter 1:7-8

      “Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed.” I Peter 3:13-14

      “Therefore, since CHrist suffered in His body, arm yourselves also with this same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.” I Peter 4:1-2

      “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the Name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a … criminal… However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that Name.” I Peter 4:12-16

      “So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.” I Peter 4:19

      “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4

      “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12

      “The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.” Acts 5:41

      “And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.” Romans 5:2-5

      3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. II Corinthians 1:3-7

    1. I know my reply may be late. I pray not too late. Speaking of prayer, prayer changes things and people too! However, waiting for the change can be tortuous! Allow God the opportunity to flip the script and give you the marriage you desire! Just hold on until the change comes! I know this is easier said than done. The enemy would want you to give up. You may feel that your marriage is dead. Allow God the chance to restore life to your marriage! He did it for Lazarus, He did it for Jesus, and He can do it for you!

      1. Thank you for this encouragement. I am at this very point in my marriage. Prayer, patience and not believing the enemy. It is truly hard.

  3. I am short of words reading this. I need to digest each line. I’m a tad scared that I did not run into this post coincidentally. God help me!!!

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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