Dare 1 of The RESPECT DARE

...how expectations may be destroying your marriage

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!


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

6 thoughts on “Dare 1 of The RESPECT DARE

  1. I definitely appreciate these points Nina. Iam OFTEN reminding myself I am his helper, NOT the other way around. And I definitely need to manage my expectations. Although when I seem to be doing it right he does try to be my helper as well. Jesus did ask us ALL to serve… I would also like to recognize we are looking at a book written in the time when culturally women were still mostly looked at as property. That’s why Paul had to spell it out for the men and thankfully for us as well, coming from a new perspective for these men. Also these books were written by men so they are going to tend to write moreso for the men’s perspective.

  2. I respectfully submit that finding our everything in God will be experienced in heaven, not here on earth. Our relationships will affect us whether we have a great relationship with God or not. The Bible says we will have trouble in this world and I would prefer to do life with God, rather than without Him. But this article felt a bit chastising for women. We are emotional beings and we are the relators, so, of course, relationships that are out of whack will affect us. We cannot pretend that a good relationship with God will make our lives amazing if our husbands are not being good husbands.

    • Hi Janise,
      I think you might have misunderstood Nina’s viewpoint if you thought she said God will make our lives amazing if our husbands are not being good husbands. I believe her message was that we can have fulfilling lives that honor God even while struggling in difficult marriages. For what it’s worth, I think what qualifies as a good husband is subjective. I used to think my husband wasn’t a good husband, but when I worked on my relationship with the Lord, I found he was a much better husband than I realized. That doesn’t mean he didn’t have issues to work on, but I had plenty of my own to deal with as well.

      I know some women are in marriages where the husbands are not “good” by anyone’s standards and that has to be a super hard place to be. Nina seems to be very aware of that as well and that’s why she helps women learn godly boundaries in her Strength and Dignity group. 🙂


    • Janise –

      I’m so sorry!! I really am.

      You are absolutely right.

      The last thing I wanted to imply here is that we won’t be affected by difficult relationships or circumstances. I do know that having a relationship with God can make the unbearable bearable, and even joy-filled, but we cannot endure those things forever because we ARE human. And we ARE women.

      The last thing I wanted anyone to feel was chastised. I’m really sorry.

      I’ll re-read it and if you had particular phrases that felt that way, please let me know.

      Love to you,

  3. Thank you for the post. It was a great read this morning. It reminded me of how we are told not to add or take away what is in the Bible in Revelations 22:18-19. Respecting the silence of the scriptures is just as important as the commandments.

    Marriage seems idolized in our culture when the relationship we should be really striving to improve is the one with God.

    • Thank you for your kind words, Nicole. I assure you any good you see is Jesus! 🙂 I fully agree with what you said. Thank you for adding that to this discussion!!

      Love to you,

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