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Expectations – Part 4

couple walking

We have been looking at our expectations and how they get us into trouble in our marriages this week.  (Click here for Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3)

I love the quote, “Expectations are premeditated resentment.”

The number of expectations I have had of my husband and my  marriage seem practically limitless.  I know I am only covering a fraction of them in this series!  But I pray God might open our eyes.

Let’s look at some more expectations we can easily have of our men that we might need to lay down.  Some of these things are not wrong for us to want – but if we make these things more important in our lives than Jesus – we can get into a lot of pain.

EXPECTATIONS:

  • My husband will only say glowing things about me to others
  • There will be no need for my husband to ever give me constructive criticism or a rebuke under any circumstances
  • My husband will use the same words/intensity/expressions that I use
  • My husband will ALWAYS put me squarely ahead of all other human relationships in his life
  • My husband will always think I am the most beautiful woman on the planet, even if I dress in sweats/jeans all the time and quit taking care of my appearance
  • I should be the leader in my marriage – I am “more qualified,” “more spiritual,” “more organized,” “more responsible” and “more intelligent”
  • My husband will only lead in the ways I want him to

REALITY

  • There will be times my husband will say things about me with a bit too much brutal honesty and my feelings will be hurt.  He may not intentionally mean to hurt me, but I will be hurt sometimes by what he says about me and to me.  What a great chance for me to practice extending grace and forgiveness!  And I, unfortunately, will sometimes hurt him by my words, too.  We are both sinners.
  •  I am a sinner.  And I am FAR from perfect.  God can and will speak to me through my husband if I will listen and not defend myself.  Sometimes my husband can see my blind spots that I can’t see at all.  Here is my Youtube video about handling our husbands’ constructive criticism of us http://youtu.be/OEAis1auJRo
  • My husband is NOT ME!  He will not use the same words for the same feelings that I do.  He will not have the same emotional intensity about the same things that I do.  He is different from me, but that doesn’t make him wrong.  My phrase, “That would be GREAT!”  might mean the same thing that his phrase, “Ok, I assume that would be ok” might mean.  I get into a lot of trouble when I assume that he means the same thing I would mean if I said what he said.
  • My husband is human, and I cannot control him.  He might put his friends, extended family, coworkers, children/step-children ahead of me sometimes. (Yes, he SHOULD put me as his wife first among human relationships.  But I cannot force him to do this.  I can pray for him and influence him – but I cannot force him to do what I want, even if what I want is the right thing).  Reality is that the more I try to MAKE him put me first, the less likely it will be that he will want to put me first.  I can’t make him put me first.  I can influence him by my godly example or I can repel him with my neediness/clinginess/demands.  My power is not in trying to force and control him with my hands around his neck.  My power is in my smile, my praise of what he does well, my faith in him, my trust in him, my admiration, my pleasant tone of voice, my friendliness and the joy of Christ radiating through me.  My power is when I put Jesus SQUARELY FIRST in my heart and set my whole heart completely on Him, not my husband, not my being in control and not anything else.
  • My husband might not always think I am the most beautiful woman on the planet.  And you know what?  I am not the most physically beautiful woman on the planet.  And I am totally fine with that.  I long to be beautiful in God’s sight and have a gentle and peaceful spirit that does not give way to fear and is of great beauty in God’s eyes.  But I do want to put forth some effort into my physical appearance to show my husband I respect myself and him.  That means a lot to most husbands – for me to spend a little time fixing my hair/makeup and wearing some beautiful, feminine clothes sometimes.  I personally do this almost every day as a gift to my husband and a reminder to myself to cherish the gift of my femininity.  What my husband thinks about my appearance is not really under my control.  I don’t obsess about it at all.  But I do want to look attractive for him.
  • God gave husbands the position of spiritual authority in marriage (I Cor 11:3 and Ephesians 5:22-33, Titus 2:2-5).  We cannot take that away from them.  God says “the husband IS the head of the wife as Christ IS the head of the church.”  It’s not “He SHOULD be”  or “He COULD be the head.”
  • Nope.  My husband will lead in ways I don’t agree with at times.  Just like God leads me in ways I don’t agree with at times.  But God can and will use my husband to lead me to His will and His glory in my life when I trust Him.  I can (and should – in my opinion) – tell my husband what I want and don’t want and what my feelings are – respectfully and politely.  But then if he doesn’t agree, I trust that God will lead him and will use him to lead me even when I don’t understand and can’t see the ultimate plan.  Unless my husband is asking me to sin or condone sin, God commands me to  follow my husband’s leadership.  And what a blessing it has been for me and my whole family when I do that!  God’s wisdom is way above my own.  And He has taken me to places that are so much better than the places I would have gone if we had done things MY way.  But even if my husband makes mistakes, I can trust that God is able to use all things for my ultimate good and His glory because I love Him and am called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)  Check out my Youtube video about Biblical Submission here http://youtu.be/qCwK7_W22bk

20 thoughts on “Expectations – Part 4

  1. I have been married for almost 29 years (March 25) and know all about delayed resentment…I mean expectations. Thank you for your perceptive article. I was nodding my head in agreement the whole time. It has taken me far to long but thanks be to God I have learned to be content in where He has placed me and who He has put in authority over me. Emotions were created to enhance our lives, not rule them. Sadly, too many wives never learn this.

    1. Gleniece,
      You are very welcome!

      I sure wish I had learned this stuff earlier, too. But glad that we are learning now. 🙂 May God richly bless your walk with Him and your marriage! I am here if you want to talk about anything. aprilc@sc.rr.com Much love to you my sister!

      1. Jean,
        Thanks for your comments!

        I do mean it that we only control ourselves, not other people. We can ask for what we want and need and expect and we can do that with dignity – that will usually get us what we want much more effectively than trying to force people to do what we want them to do.

        I used to try to control my husband – for about 15 years. We were both miserable. When we realize that we only control ourselves and that we cannot make people do things, we will have a lot more healthy relationships.

        There are times that women (and men – but I only write to women) try to make other people do what they want by being needy or clinging or by demanding their way. I don’t believe this is a demeaning phrase. That is a description of some tactics people use sometimes to try to get their way. I used to do these things myself – the results were awful. There are more effective ways to influence people than those ways.

        I am not talking down to women or blaming them – I am shining a light on where our power truly is in our relationships. Our power is in being responsible for our own emotional well-being, our own obedience to God, our own sin, our own behavior, our own thoughts, our own motives and our own actions. I greatly respect both women and men – and most of all I respect God and His Word and His design for marriage. How I WISH that the women who came before me had been able to teach me these things instead of my marriage paying a high price of me trying to control my husband and be disrespectful to him for so long – and I didn’t even realize what I was doing.

        I appreciate your time and that you care about women. I also deeply care about women and marriage – or I wouldn’t write this blog. Thank you!

  2. Jean,

    I don’t believe that I am saying any of the messages you think I am. I have a feeling that we are on such separate pages that we are not going to come to an agreement. I am NOT AT ALL saying that women have to just take being sinned against. I have posts about confronting our husbands’ sin. But I believe we should do it respectfully, humbly and according to Matthew 7 and Matthew 18.

    I am not scolding or blaming.

    Each person is responsible for his/her own sin.

    And I always tell women to say what they feel and need and want and to share their opinions. But I encourage them to do it in a way that is respectful.

    I don’t know you or if you have a relationship with Christ. I am assuming you don’t agree that women should obey the Bible. But I am not really sure what you are advocating.

    You seem to want me to say that women should or could control other people or punish other people. I can’t say that.

    Women and men are of equal value in the sight of God. Galatians 3:28.

    I unfortunately am not going to have a lot of time to do a bunch of arguing with you.

    My husband has a site for men where he addresses their side of the relationship and how they are to love and honor their wives and lay down their lives for their wives as Christ did for the church. http://Www.respectedhusband.wordpress.com.

    I have seen God heal many dozens of marriages and seen people go from divorce and fighting and stonewalling and hatred to unity and bringing glory to God.

    I pray you will find a relationship with Jesus, too, and find His peace, joy and purpose for your life.

  3. Sorry – trying to cook supper and answer comments is not the best idea!
    I missed your first question.

    NO! It is not ok for either spouse to put other people ahead of his/her spouse. Marriage is a covenant between the husband, wife and God. Neither of them should ever allow another person to come first in their lives.

  4. God’s Word commands husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for it. It also commands husbands to treat their wives with honor and respect. And the same God who wisely commands husbands to love their wives commands wives to respect their husbands and to cooperate with their husbands’ God-given leadership – unless the husband asks the wife to commit or condone sin. Ephesians 5:22-33

    God’s Word also commands wives to love (in a friendly affectionate way) their husbands and children, to live pure lives, to be kind, to be busy at home, to be subject to their husbands so that the word of God is not maligned. Titus 2:2-5

    My focus is only on the wives’ responsibilities before God. Maybe that is why it seems lopsided to you? I’m not sure.

    Wives should be treated with great love, honor, respect and protection by their husbands. Wives should be cherished and adored. Wives’ feelings and opinions should be extremely important to their husbands. And wives should respect and honor their husbands and be cooperative with their husbands’ ideas and leadership. That would be marriage the way God designed it.

    Marriage is primarily designed to show the relationship between Christ and the church. That is God’s primary purpose in marriage. The husband represents the love, servant-leadership, provision and sacrifice of Christ and the wife represents the adoration, respect and cooperation of the church with the leadership of Christ.
    Ephesians 5

  5. Jean,

    I am very glad you commented and shared your disappointment. I am trying to understand exactly what your concerns are. Being labelled disrespectful and demeaning to women really hurts me – because that is not my heart at all. If I am actually doing something ungodly or disrespectful – I want to be called out on it and I will gladly repent.

    I don’t mind criticism – but from a sister in Christ, I do want the criticism to be constructive, please. I welcome your suggestions about how I can approach women in a way that makes you believe they feel respected – and you may certainly share how you would prefer to be addressed. I will take your comments into careful and prayerful consideration.

    We are all human. We are all wretched sinners – men and women. But God calls us to live Spirit filled lives of holiness and that is my desire for women. It is impossible on our own, but with the power of God’s Spirit – all things are possible.

    I completely agree with you that all people have value given to them by God. I don’t disagree one bit. And I completely agree that men and women both should treat each other with love and respect.

    I talk often about sharing feelings in a way that is most productive – talking about pure emotions “I’m sad.” “I’m angry.” “I’m upset.” “I’m afraid.” “I’m nervous.” and I talk often about women sharing their desires with their husbands in a very pure way that is not manipulative – that it is best to be straightforward and ask for what we want or don;t want, “I want to do X.” “I don’t want to do Y.”

    Of course there will be pain, hurt, frustration, anger and negative feelings to deal with. And as we can learn constructive ways to deal with them – we will find much better results in our marriages. God CAN empower us to do this!

    There are two places in the New Testament where women are forbidden to have authority over men in the church and forbidden to teach men. I desire to honor God’s Word and not overstep my bounds. I believe I have the authority to teach women because of Titus 2:2-5. But I do not believe God gives me the authority to teach men. So I do not address men. And I don’t talk much about what men should do because I am not talking with men. I only address what God asks women to do and the practical application of that.

    I do talk about women respecting their husbands and submitting to the God-given authority of their husbands. I don’t think that negates the husbands’ responsibilities at all. Husbands should obey God’s Word – absolutely! But we are married to sinful men and we have to deal with their sin against us. My desire is to see us learn to respond to our husbands’ sin in the power and strength of God and not repay evil for evil.

    My husband is accountable to God for his ministry to husbands. I am accountable to God for my ministry to wives. My business is to focus on my sin, my responsibilities before God, my spiritual growth, my example, my dying to self, my tearing out all idols and any bitterness, my living with Christ as Lord. The things I talk about are not things I understood until about 4 years ago – to my detriment. The things I talk about are things I had to learn the hard way. What I ask of women is to be the holy women God desires us to be His way and by His power. THAT is the most powerful thing women can do to influence their men to be more godly husbands. The more God is in control of my life – the easier it will be for my husband to hear God’s voice and obey God. The opposite is also true, the more a husband obeys God – the easier it is for his wife to obey God. Many of the things I write would apply to men and women. But I believe God has clearly showed me that I may not cross that boundary into teaching men. And – it is so easy for women (and this is what I used to do) to focus on what our husbands should do – and not look at ourselves. I am asking us to do what Jesus asked us to do – to remove the beam in our own eye before we address the speck in our brother’s eye (Matthew 7).

    If I am asking anything that God is not asking – I do want to know about it and I want to correct it.

    You are welcome to comment here. I NEVER want you to feel disrespected or demeaned. That is the farthest thing in the world from my intentions.

    I care about you. I care about your walk with Christ. I care about your marriage. I care about you shining brightly for Jesus.

    Thank you for your comments – I think there is much we actually agree upon.

    I pray that if I am being unfair or disrespectful to women that God might reveal that to me so that I can apologize.

    You are welcome here. 🙂

    With love and prayers for you, and gratitude for your willingness to express your concerns.
    April

  6. At last my many prayers, behavior, actions, & walk with The Lord has made the husband realize he was stuck in some weeds & needed to clean the flower beds. We are all human and all have struggles and as his wife it was my duty to not critize him but lead my example and he would eventually see the light shining off of me and want to shine things up a little!! It’s still a work in progress but finally off of the sideline and back in the game! Praise The Lord!

  7. I have been married for 11 years and my favorite saying about marriage is “We are one, but I am not you and you are not me.” Since I tend to oversimplify things, I think it comes off harsh but it corresponds with your point #3. God made marriage so that we can come together as one flesh (Gen 2:24, Mark 10:8) but we are clearly two distinct individuals, man and woman, who think very differently, handle situations differently, react and respond differently. We are meant to complement each other, not lose ourselves in each other. I had to learn this lesson through many tears.

    Thanks for your blog and keep up the good work!

  8. Hi April, I don’t think I expect too much from my husband but I always feel that he is more concerned about other females feelings before my own. Last week this young woman tagged him in a photo of herself, after he accepted her friend request just 2 days prior. I think this is weird but he does not see the big deal and after speaking to him about it I notice the photo is still there. I did expect him to remove it and not let boundaries be crossed but I feel he does not remove it because she might feel offended. I do not want to talk to him again about it – I have been reading your posts (trying to read them all) and I know I cannot make him do what he does not want to, he has started to improve in other areas of our marriage since I have started to change my attitude so I do not want to cause a problem now. How long should I wait to talk to him again or should I let it rest?

    1. BlessedbyHim,

      Is he generally trustworthy? She just tagged him in a photo? If that is all that has happened and he is not flirting or having private conversations with her, it may be something to let go. Unless there is a lot more to the situation. 🙂

      1. I did not mention it again – good think I was reading your blogs or I would have been on it everyday! God has been working in me and I am taking baby steps. I guess he was just waiting to do what he had to do without me telling him to. He unfriended her and the photo is now off and the photo was a bit flirtatious and he said he was not having conversations with her. I thank God I did not handle this my usual way and blow thing out of proportion. Thanks April.

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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