Yesterday, we looked at some common expectations that wives often carry into marriage and how they can create resentment in us (For Part 1 of Expectations, please click here). We also looked at reality vs. these expectations.
Here are some more expectations that we often bring into marriage that sometimes create resentment
- that if I am married, my husband will spend all his free time after work doting on me
- my husband MUST initiate prayer with me every night and initiate devotions/Bible reading with me or he is not a good spiritual leader
- that I am always right and leave no room for my husband’s perspective at all
- I should always get MY way
- if I am married, I will always feel loved by my husband
- if I am unhappy, my husband is to blame and he must change
- I am not a big time sinner – I won’t cause my husband any pain/wounds/grief/distress
- I am better than my husband (spiritually/mentally/morally/emotionally)
This is not remotely an exhaustive list!
REALITY VS. THE ABOVE EXPECTATIONS
- Husbands have a lot of things they want and need to do. Not all of it will always involve us. That does not mean they don’t love us! It just means sometimes they need time with their guy friends. Sometimes they need time to chill out. Sometimes they need time to cut the grass. Sometimes they need time to work on their hobbies and passions. Sometimes they need time with just the children without us. It is easy for wives to interpret, “If my husband doesn’t do things with me every possible minute that he is home from work, he doesn’t love me or want me.” This is usually NOT at all true! Allow your man the time he needs to recharge and do things he enjoys – even without you sometimes. That will give him a much greater appreciation for you and he will enjoy the time he spends with you infinitely more than if you are clinging to him and resentful of him spending any time away. A wife who is a bottomless pit of need REPELS her husband far, far away. A wife who is understanding and supportive of her husband’s hobbies and recreation will tend to have a much more loving husband.
- The Bible does say Christians should pray continuously, without ceasing, for our leaders, with thanksgiving, with faith, in a closet so that the God who sees what is done in secret will reward us, in groups of 2-3, corporately as a church… There are many instructions about prayer. But I can’t find a verse that says, “Husbands must initiate prayer with their wives.” I believe couples SHOULD pray together. But if your husband is nervous about praying out loud – please don’t shame him! He may feel intimidated or too vulnerable. Please do not try to force him into praying with you, and don’t judge him as being less spiritual if he hesitates about praying out loud together. Pray on your own and/or with a godly female prayer partner. Pray for your husband, thanking God for him. If there is NOT a lot of tension, you could try, politely, respectfully, pleasantly asking your husband sometimes if he might pray with you/for you. If he doesn’t answer or gets upset – then leave that topic alone and let God work on him. You focus on praying yourself and on your own sin and your own intimacy with Christ. If your husband is far from God, I Peter 3:1-6 is your prescription from God. If he is far from God, words from you about spiritual things will only repel him farther from God and from you. If he is far from God, make sure you are obeying God and honoring your husband’s leadership and showing respect for your husband – that is how God can use you to influence your husband. But ultimately only God can open his eyes. You can get out of God’s way in your husband’s life by obeying God yourself.
- Be open to your husband’s ideas. They will be different from your own. That does not mean he is wrong. God may well be speaking to you through your husband at times (if he is not asking you to sin or condone sin). Be willing to hear your husband and accept that your husband has a masculine brand of wisdom and a masculine perspective that is very different from yours, but that he has a lot to offer.
- Expecting to always get your way is one of the fastest ways to misery I know. And trust me – I have been down that road MANY MILES. It does not go anywhere good! Be gracious and selfless and allow your husband to do things the way he likes to as a gift to him. Lay down your own desires at the feet of Jesus and seek His will, His glory and His way, not your own!
- You will ABSOLUTELY NOT always feel loved by your husband. That doesn’t mean he won’t love you, necessarily. But you will not always be able to FEEL/hear/see his love. When your heart is set fully on Jesus, you can ride out those times because you have your identity completely in Christ, and you have your security in Jesus, not a man. You keep obeying God for your part, don’t react in sin, stay close to Jesus. And see what God will do.
- I am responsible for my own happiness. My husband is not responsible for my emotional and spiritual well-being. He wants to see me happy. He will probably try to do things that make me feel happy. But every time I am unhappy it is not his job to make me be happy. I am an adult. I am responsible for my emotions and my spiritual condition. I look to Christ to find my fulfillment and joy and strength. My husband will add extra things to my life that do make me happy – but my primary source for my wellbeing is Jesus.
- We are all big time sinners. All of us tend to commit idolatry, be prideful, selfish… the list goes on and on. I WILL sin against my husband. I will hurt him. Probably many times. I have to be able to accept that I am human and understand that I need the blood of Jesus to cover my sin. I need grace to give to myself. And I will need grace from my husband.
- We are all on level ground at the foot of the cross. We are all equally wretched sinners. None of us are good. Only God is good. My husband may fall for temptations that don’t tempt me. But I have other sin-tendencies that are just as heinous to God’s holiness. My husband is my fellow-traveler on this road of faith in Christ. We are equal in sinfulness and equal in the amount of the grace of Jesus that we desperately need.
We’ll look at some additional expectations vs. reality tomorrow!