This is part 3 of a series on expectations we have about marriage vs. reality. Click to read Part 1 and Part 2 if you missed them.
One time in 7th grade, I was at a party. I didn’t know that Cherry Coke had just come out. And I took a sip of a soft drink, expecting Coke. When I expected Coke, but it was Cherry Coke, and I had never tasted that before – it was a VERY UNPLEASANT SURPRISE! I actually like Cherry Coke now. But I enjoy it a lot more when I know what to expect and am not taken by surprise – expecting one thing, and experiencing another. My expectations made my first Cherry Coke experience unpleasant. But if I had the proper expectations, I could probably have enjoyed the experience.
Laying down unreasonable and unrealistic expectations is part of the path to peace and joy!
EXPECTATIONS WE SOMETIMES TAKE INTO MARRIAGE THAT CAUSE US TROUBLE
- I can and should change my husband with my love
- my husband will NEVER notice another woman exists on the planet
- my husband will never be tempted to lust after another woman
- my husband will never be tempted to flirt with another woman
- my husband will always agree with me
- if I explain myself enough, my husband will see that I am clearly right – about everything
- my husband will always clean up after himself
REALITY VS. THESE EXPECTATIONS
- I cannot change people! Only God can change people. I can influence my husband. But I am not responsible for him and I cannot MAKE him do anything. I am only responsible for my own sin, my own emotions, my own behavior, my own obedience to God, my own attitudes and my own walk with Christ.
- All people can be tempted to flirt or lust. Men and women. The vast majority of husbands will commit lust in their hearts at some point or many points. So will most wives. Now, just noticing that there are other women on the planet is not sin. Noticing a beautiful woman is not sin. It is only when he undresses her with his eyes or uses his imagination to picture having sex with her that he sins. But you can’t control his thoughts or keep him from sinning. And you don’t actually know what is happening in his thoughts. It is easy to judge and condemn him, but only God knows his heart. Many women have their husbands’ visual purity as an idol. Meaning, “I won’t be happy unless my husband never sins in his thought life.” But we women can’t keep ourselves from sinful thoughts many times – we hold on onto anger and unforgiveness and bitterness and resentment, and we gossip, and we judge others as being “less than” us, and we pridefully think we are always right… we can’t keep our own thoughts sin-free. We do well when we allow God to deal with our husbands’ sin and we allow God to work in our lives about our own sin. There are times we may need to confront our husbands’ sin gently, respectfully, humbly, after first dealing with our own sin… but then there are also times to give grace. I pray we will be sensitive to God’s Spirit and His Word and wisdom and honor Him in these matters!
- My husband will NOT always agree with me. No two people will always agree. I don’t have to agree with him. He doesn’t have to agree with me. And we don’t have to fight when we don’t agree. He is allowed to be his own person with his own thoughts, just like I am. Just because he thinks differently, does not mean he is wrong. And just because I think differently from him does not mean I am wrong. We have different perspectives on life. That makes us stronger as a couple!
- More words can fix almost anything in a woman’s world – not so in a man’s world. Many times more words make things worse with men. Brief explanations are usually best. When we get too carried away with explaining ourselves, it can look like we are trying to control our men or justify our own sin sometimes. Sometimes our men see that we are wrong. And more words won’t help. If your husband is getting increasingly agitated as you explain and explain – just stop. Be quiet. And wait for awhile. When we don’t drop something and don’t listen – it can be very frustrating for our men sometimes.
- Nope. And if that is a big problem for you – probably best not to get married! Being married means cleaning up after other people sometimes. Being a mom is going to be even more of the being-someone’s-servant thing. Jesus says that anyone who wants to be the greatest in His kingdom, must become the servant of all. Embrace having a servant’s heart if you want a husband and family!
The closer reality is to my expectations, the happier I will be.
And, conversely, if my expectations are FAR away from reality – the more miserable I will be.
Please open our eyes to faulty expectations and unrealistic expectations we might have of our husbands and of marriage. Help us to get rid of any expectations that dishonor You and our marriages. Help us to set our hearts firmly on You alone. Help us to lay down our will, our rights, our plans, our dreams, our hopes, our desires, our wisdom and ourselves before You – and let us pick up Your wisdom, Your will, Your desires, Your plans, Your dreams, Your glory and all the riches of heaven. Let us seek Your will far above our own now. Be greatly glorified in our marriages!
In the Name and power of Christ,