Dare 1 of The RESPECT DARE…Expectations

Sitting next to each other in the church pew at a conference for young girls and their moms, my daughter and I smiled at each other. Standing and worshiping together, we clapped hands, waved our arms, and sang our hearts out. We took notes sitting side by side and ate Chick-Fil-A sandwiches for lunch.  We talked and laughed a lot. The main message of the conference dealt with Jesus Christ as our King, our Lord, our Savior, and a ton of attention was given to the concept of purity.  Aware of the sexual activity of eleven-year-olds in my daughter’s life, I felt privileged to attend with her.

Almost a year later, however, I had a realization as I was reading 1 Corinthians 7. Sitting at my kitchen table, Bible and notebook handy, I nearly spilled my coffee as I saw the words leap off the page.  I read the passage again and again.

How had I missed this?

And I realized at that moment, that although I had not grown up going to church or reading the bible, like most women, my exposure to secular culture had imprinted the same message on my heart: romance is wonderful, dating is fabulous, and a man will sweep me off my feet and we’ll live happily ever after…white picket fence-style.

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Many of the parenting books I read and the tweener ones I gave my daughter were also focused on having the right perception of boys, and praying for the man she might marry someday. I don’t disagree that those things are important. One of the best resources I’ve seen is Passport to Purity, as it is more about the tweener than the tweener’s potential future mate. However, I noticed there was something prolific in the conference messages and popular materials: Christian culture encourages young women to dream about marriage, to spend a ton of time praying for the man she’ll court, marry, and have children with. Even many of the songs from Christian artists are about falling in love with people. The message seems to be,  “God has a man for you to marry, someone who will care for you, protect you, and father your children.” What’s missing is, “You might not get married, you may struggle with being boy-crazy, or you might not.” Also, “You may not be able to get pregnant, and that doesn’t make you less of a woman.” Completely absent was, “Christians have trouble staying married, too, and that’s because marriage is really hard.” What is missing from the message is the Truth Paul communicates in 1 Corinthians 7 (ESV):

28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed woman marries, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that.

32 I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. 33 But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband.

The Truth is this – marriage and family are filled with extra difficulties – ones that can sometimes divide our interests. I’ve also searched the Bible on marriage and found that it is good for a man to have a wife, a blessing, actually.

Numerous proverbs address this notion of blessing from a woman known to him as wife.

What isn’t mentioned?

How great a blessing it is for a woman to find a husband.

When I asked Google® about this, all the verses that it returned were about how blessed a man is for having a wife!

From the very beginning, we see that it wasn’t good for man to be alone, we see the wife as someone who helps him. While this is a privileged experience, one should stop for a moment and acknowledge what we are getting ourselves into when we sign up for this lifetime commitment. We should consider for a moment, that if we are thinking that some other person is going to make us happy, we are setting ourselves up for a lifetime of frustration, sadness, discouragement, and loneliness.

There is an answer, however, that not only “works” but is the reason we are alive.

We are here to glorify God.

Knowing that, we should pursue relationship with Him, wrap our identity up in Him, and expect Him to be our comforter, provider, protector, confidante, friend, and lover of our souls. Yes, we need to work on all of our relationships, especially those closest to us, our closet neighbors, our family members, starting with our husbands.

But expecting our husband or children to fulfill us? Sorry, no. Biblically, there is no word on what a husband brings to a wife, but we know what we bring to him.

Hopefully, good, all the days of our lives.

And God will bless us, if we’ll but expect from Him the wonder we seek from fallible humans, especially the one we call, “Husband.”

Dare you to take inventory of your expectations in marriage…

Double dog dare you to comment below…

Glad you are on the journey with us. We have begun a weekly walk through of The Respect Dare.  Grab your copy of the book, your coffee and snuggle up with us. Respond to the questions in the book, then come here for additional thoughts and dialogue. Hope you’ll subscribe to the blog and stick it out, remembering that perseverance grows mature faith. If you missed the three broadcasts last week with Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine of FamilyLife Today, you might listen to those here – they’re great as a foundation.

We’re going to take a look at the different contexts as we walk through the book. Monday, I’ll blog about the week’s dare, and Debbie will talk to parents of tweens and teens. Tuesday and Wednesday, we’ll talk about the same dare in different contexts with Leah and Debbie. Subscribe here or on their blogs or both, as Thursday and Friday content will be different for all of us. You can also follow us on Facebook® where there’s tons of additional dialogue, daily tips, and other resources.

At any rate, we’re interested in what you think, so please join us, share wildly (as a Titus 2 woman of influence) and comment.

Love to you,

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Comments

  1. Tiffanie says

    My expectations have shifted dramatically since first reading this book.. I have sense read a few others that go a little deeper still into the psychological part of men/respect and women/love. It is my promise I made to God that I will love and honor my spouse. FOr him to feel that, I must show respect and restraint.
    I used to fly off the handle and it was a MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY. Now I am not that nasty.. I have my moments still but they are getting fewer and fewer the closer I walk with the Lord

  2. Heidi Sisson says

    I am waiting for the book to arrive but I have been studying and researching changing my marriage since October. I had to learn the hard way that expectations are not needed in a marriage. Expectations create resentment. I am trying to get rid of my expectations but I still catch myself. The difference is I can now hear when the expectations start to creep into my thoughts and I can take steps to stop it right there. It has been an amazing journey and I look forward to the arrival of the book so I can have a relationship with God and my husband and children.

    -Heidi

    • Nina Roesner says

      SO glad you are here! And you don’t have to wait for the book to have a relationship with God, Heidi. He is with us right NOW. :) Lord, I pray that You make Yourself known to Your daughter, that she see You, hear You, and I praise You and Your Spirit for opening her awareness – she is catching herself. Thank You for that. Lord, I pray that Heidi find You in proverbs and psalms, and in the gospels, that she read Your Word and begin to follow You. You are everything, God, and we are excited about becoming women of strength and dignity together, arm in arm, linked across the miles, walking this journey together. Lord we choose to focus on the things we can change, our own behavior, our own relationship with You. Thank You for Jesus, it’s in His name we pray, Amen.

      Love to you, Heidi.
      ~Nina

  3. Cole says

    Ally, these are just my initial thoughts. I am by no means an expert on marriage. To sum up what you said-my understanding is that your husband slept with another woman before you two got married. Their relationship was years ago and she is now married to his cousin.

    I just want to ask you what is it about this woman that is triggering you? Is it fear? Fear of what? We tend to control what we fear. Is it jealousy? Insecurities? Do you fear you are being compared? These are all good questions to ask The Lord because if you are feeling any of these things and along those lines then this woman is not the problem and her being in your lives isn’t the problem. Sure you don’t go to the party and you maybe able to carve her out of your life but if you are dealing with jealousy or insecurities then you didn’t deal with the weed. It’ll grow somewhere else.

    I say all this with the presumption that there is no indicator of inappropriate behavior. Your husband loves you,Ally. He asked YOU to be his wife. YOU are the mother of his children. He works to provide for YOU. Trust your husband. Set up appropriate boundaries for opposite gender relationships but do trust him. He hasn’t given you a reason not too.

  4. Lynnora says

    Thank you for sharing! I’m married now, and though I love (and respect) my husband and laugh with him often, I do wish that 1 Corinthians 7 had been preached a little louder and more often when I was single. Through no ill intentions, I was thoroughly convinced that the ONLY good future I could have would be one in which I fell and love and married a God-fearing man. No one sat me down and said, “Sometimes the most amazing women are the ones who don’t get married, who can dedicate their entire lives to focusing on God’s work.”

    Looking back, now that I am married and have a daughter, I see how much EASIER it was to focus on God’s work when it was “just me” and I didn’t have the responsibility of wifedom and motherhood. Am I thrilled to be married and a mom? YES! But when I was single, I was able to accept a job offer as an overseas missionary, raise support, pick up and move across the world, and do all that in less than three months. Three months! And it was the thrill of a lifetime–for two years I got to just serve, serve, serve the people of another culture, with nothing to focus on but just the service. My husband and I have talked about moving back overseas as a family, but honestly, the task seems much more daunting now–moving a family is different than just moving yourself.

    All this to say “thank you” for the reminder of this passage, and while I WILL teach my daughter the value of marriage, and how it honors God and is an act of service, I will also tell her the stories of all the awesome adventures I had when it was “just me & God” on the team. :)

    Thank you!

    • Nina Roesner says

      Lynnora -
      Glad you are here, and I thank you for sharing your story! I often wonder how many of us God would have told to get married if we had been asking and listening at the time! :)
      Love to you,
      ~Nina

  5. says

    This is Amazing! Tonight, I will begin leading a small group of military wives through the Respect Dare. I am so excited to go through it again and for my amazing friends to join me. I have pointed them to your blog as well!

    • Nina Roesner says

      Awesome, April!! :) SO GLAD you are here! Let us know if you have questions as you walk through the dares with your group. We are also interested in hearing their stories. Praying for you all!
      Love to you,
      ~Nina

  6. Stefanie says

    O, Lord, help me to let go of those expections!!

    Just about the time I feel I have this Dare under control – there is goes again!! So I hop back on the bus and do the Dare again and again and again.

    The positive note is that the expectations I have looked at and let go of before typically (notice I said typically – not always) are not the new ones popping up. It is good to see progress.

    So I will hang in there and God will walk with me thru it again. It is also great to know I have others walking thru it with me.

    • Nina Roesner says

      Stefanie!
      You are ONE SMART COOKIE! :) As we grow in maturity, He reveals more opportunities to reveal Himself within our nature. You are WISE to look at how far you have come, the growth you are incurring. Beautiful. Wise of you to help yourself be encouraged. Seriously. Wish more people were that mature! (okay, myself included sometimes!) LOL I am hanging in there, too. :)

      So glad you are here!
      Love to you,
      ~Nina

  7. says

    Morning Nina,

    What a revelation! As a man, I know I am blessed beyond measure because of the wife God provided for me. But I have seldom even paid much attention to the words SHE has spoken to me, about God “bringing me to her.” Having been in a terrible marriage prior to my life with Debbi, it is MORE than evident that neither I nor my previous spouse gave credence to the process of allowing Him to choose FOR us.

    We did the choosing, and it was miserable.

    But you are right. The male-dominated culture of “biblical times” spoke to the man. Since scripture “designed for women” is limited, I think you are right on target. When THE relationship is right with Father, the eyes are opened. The temptation to leap into a relationship with the first “someone good” may still be there, but glorifying God and the self-discipline to listen and follow His lead rather than the pressure of peers and society in general is HUGE!!

    Purity (waiting) is still high on the chart. But you nailed it. The intimate relationship with Jesus just HAS to come first. I’ll be encouraging both parents and young women to place this as priority #1 starting today.

    So, I guess I, in as much as I can as a man, accept the dare :)

    Thanks for your leading.

    • Nina Roesner says

      Kyle -
      Thank you so much for your comment – and for what it is worth, I fully believe we are genderless in heaven. “There is no male or female…” and we’re not married there, either. I’m glad you are here – I speak primarily to women, but I know much of what I interpret also applies to men. The Word is always the Word, however, isn’t it? :) Glad that you are here, glad that you are encouraging others to put Him 1st. He is EVERYTHING, regardless of our gender or marital status.
      In His Great Love,
      ~Nina

  8. Ally says

    Hi Nina,

    Are there some basic expectations that we should have of our husbands and how do we go about standing up for those while still being respectful?

    My particular challenge is this: Before we got married my husband advised me that he had been intimate with a woman many years before we got met. Unfortunately his cousin then got involved with her and decided to marry her. My husband informed his cousin about their involvement but the cousin still went ahead with the marriage.

    My husband informed me that he had been involved with this woman but did not go into the details. I assumed that it had not gone very far so did not really mind that we spent time with them socially.

    About 6 months ago it came out during a conversation and my husband told me that he had slept with this woman. I was upset and felt violated that she had been in and out of our home and involved in my childrens lives. I had even assisted her with an assignment she was having problems with! My husband told me ” We never have to see her again.”

    Now, 6 months down the line, we received a call from his cousin inviting us to their childs birthday party. I don’t feel comfortable about seeing this woman again and told my husband that I didn’t want to go. His response was that he would attend and take the kids with and they would not be long. This doesn’t make me feel any better than if I were going! I didn’t say anymore about it- which is very unlike me! but my husband could tell that it was bugging me.

    How do I confront this in a respectful way and what should my respectful reaction be if he does decide to go to the party and take my kids with?

    Thank you.

    • Nina Roesner says

      Ally -

      I’m so sorry you are going through this right now. It sounds just awful and stressful.

      I’ll try to address the three questions I saw. First, are there expectations we should have? That is a huge question, one that would have a ton of different answers, depending on where we are at in our journey. Is it reasonable to have expectations? Depends on what they are. The healthiest of expectations are simply this: expect your husband to behave like your husband already does, meaning he is a sinful human, just like you and me. Do you want more? Do I? Of course, but God has not given us Jesus in human form as our husband – He wants to turn our attention away from worshiping the ideal of marriage and focus instead on HIM.

      How do you confront this? I don’t know if you should. The Bible tells us to “overlook an insult” and to “turn the other cheek” and to “confront a brother’s sin against us” – these messages are not in conflict, but rather are the Word, which God will bring to you depending on your specific situation. If God tells you to confront, then He will also give you the words. As you journey with us, you’ll see some examples, but we don’t recommend doing it because you might know how. We only recommend following the Lord. And if the answer is not clear, then do nothing, wait, until the Lord directs you. Sharpen your listening skills by spending time in the Word daily (you may already be doing this, I don’t mean to sound judgmental here, just hard to discern from text), spend time listening to Him, and as a sheep, you’ll come to know the Shepherd’s Voice – and He will confirm His will for you, also.

      I’m sorry I didn’t give you a step-by-step solution. :) I hope you understand what I mean. Know you are prayed for, and precious to both the Father and us.

      Glad you are here!
      Love to you,
      ~Nina