“Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left.” – Isaiah 30:21.
Whether they are new or been in the back of our minds for decades, we all have expectations. Expectations can be good, but often they are bad when it comes to marriage. Most conflicts in marriage could be traced back to unrealistic expectations on the part of one spouse or the other. Expectations are kind of like those lists we create like the “Things I’m Looking for in a Mate.” Unfortunately, our expectations are more fantasy than reality. The key is to have realistic expectations, but that is not always the case. Overcoming those expectations is not easy because too often our expectations are rooted more in the desire for the ideal rather than the human spouse we married.
For example, most people that get married have the expectation that marriage will meet their needs. Your spouse should do more to meet your needs. Really, how could your husband or wife be that insensitive, clueless, or apathetic? You’ve tried to tell them over and over again how much you need help around the house, or someone to listen or be emphatic, or someone to help shoulder the brunt of the in-law attacks or financial burdens. Is a little kindness, respect, and love too much to expect from a spouse? You will never be able to enjoy the beauty of marriage if your spouse’s job is to complete you. We all want the kind of relationship where the spouse understands and meets all our needs. But your spouse is not going to meet all your needs. Guaranteed. And if you keep waiting for them to do so, you are certain to become bitter, empty, and angry. Only God can meet your needs as Paul tells us in Philippians 4:19 (TPT): “I am convinced that my God will fully satisfy every need you have, for I have seen the abundant riches of glory revealed to me through the Anointed One, Jesus Christ!”
Then there is the whole expectation that marriage will change him or her. Many people enter into marriage with a predetermined idea of what they want their partner to become. When we get married, we make all sorts of promises. The marriage contract, by its very nature, is a series of promises. But when you think about it, the institution of marriage, and what we assume and expect of each other within a marriage is typically in conflict with reality. Regardless of how much you think you know about relationships before getting married, the months following those wedding vows may throw you for a loop. Often, this comes from having an unrealistic view of marriage. For example, your personal insecurities won’t go away just because you’re married, just like your partner won’t change overnight into Prince Charming or Mrs. Perfect just because you tied the knot. Learn to embrace an imperfect spouse, change your expectations to overlook the flaws, praise the positives and help your spouse grow spiritually.
Rather than dwelling on unmet expectations, learn to invest in your marriage. Invest in building a spiritual connection with your spouse. Pray together. How might you best support what God is doing in the life of your spouse? This is about supporting what God wants to do, not how you want your spouse to change.
- Do you have expectations for your marriage? How have they changed over the years?
- What can we do this week to decrease our level of expectations this week?