Well, here we are, week one of the relationship series. Today we're discussing Expectations in Marriage and we'd love to have you join us! Feel free to post your own thoughts and link up below or just join in the discussion in the comment section. I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Expectations have been the single, most difficult obstacle, for me, in marriage. I got married at twenty and was a naive, romantic, idealist. (My lucky husband, right?) I didn't have any great examples of a strong marriage, but I was confident that with God and our love it would always be easy. No, really, I really thought that.
My expectations have ruined many a special times and have caused me to feel unhappy and unfulfilled in my marriage. When Eric didn't get me more than one present at Christmas I would be disappointed, when he took me to the wrong restaurant on Valentine's Day it wasn't good enough, and it wasn't just special occasions, even the overall tone of our marriage was one of, "not enough." I looked to Eric to fulfill a need in me- to be loved and cherished and "special'- and when it didn't look like how I expected it to look like I felt hurt and rejected. It even got to the point where Eric was afraid to do something for me. He'd say, "Well, when I try, it's never good enough. Why even try?" Of course, this made me feel even more hurt and rejected, so it would be a continuous cycle.
When I've allowed my husband to be himself, imperfections and all, I've found that I have so much more peace and joy and I'm able to more freely love and appreciate my husband. When I'm focusing on what is- not on what could be or what I want to be- I'm able to more fully enjoy the moment or season or situation. Is he the perfect husband? Of course not, but that's a good thing, because I'm definitely not the perfect wife.
I found I needed to let go of all of my expectations. Even realistic ones. Do I think every wife should be provided for, romanced, dated, pursued, cherished, and always feel loved? Of course! Is every woman, at every moment, going to feel these things? No. Even if you feel your expectations are not only realistic, but completely justified, let them go, anyway. We can't ever look to a man, even our husbands, or any other person, to make us feel loved and complete. (Of course, if you're in an abusive situation, then get the heck out right away.)
Marriage (and all of life) is filled with the unexpected. When we enter into something- any new relationship or situation, we never know what is going to happen. Instead of focusing on what you hoped it to be, focus on what is. Love what is. If there are things you want to improve or areas you need to grow in, that's great, but don't forget to rejoice in the many things that are. There's always things to be thankful for and the more you focus on them the less important the other things may seem.
I haven't let go of all of my expectations and I haven't figured it all out. It's a continual process, but I finally feel like I'm learning to just enjoy my marriage and not idealize it. I read once that the people that go after happiness, the ones that will do anything for happiness, are usually the most unhappy. I choose to be content in what I have.
Have you dealt with unfulfilled expectations? What did it look like for you?
Don't forget to visit Courtney and Gina to read what they said about Expectations.
(I stole this cute collage from Gina's blog. Thanks, Gina!)
Read about Expectations in Marriage.
Week 3: Comparisons (Or, Keeping The Passion Alive- you pick)
Week 4: Loving Through (when the unexpected happens)
Week 5: A Strong Marriage While Parenting
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