Got expectations? They might be destroying your marriage.
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?
(stay tuned to the end for a special GIFT to you from FamilyLife Ministries and me!)
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.
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 by signing up for the marriage tips and stick it out, remembering that perseverance grows mature faith.
At any rate, we’re interested in what you think, so please join us, comment, and share wildly (as a Titus 2 woman of influence)!!
AND… I have something for you… We have an agreement with FamilyLife Ministries – if you want to attend the Weekend 2 Remember, you can get 1/2 off by using the code, “NinaSentMe” through this link or the ticket below. Jim and I have been a number of times and highly recommend it.
Love to you,
Want more help right now? Check out the video on expectations from 100 Huntley Street!