We all have them.
In fact, we come in to marriage with so many expectations for so many things that we aren’t even aware of our own expectations.
They sit hidden until all of the sudden we realize that we were expecting something that didn’t come to fruition.
Realistic, imaginary, necessary, basic, or deep… expectations are at the center of a marriage and when unmet, can be the very string that unravels it all.
And, if we are able to put words to our expectations, we really don’t even know what we are putting words to until there is a situation to match our expectation.
There are times that I am frustrated, huffing and puffing around the house completely unaware that I’m actually more upset about an unmet expectation than I am the offense.
I wanted something. He didn’t do it.
And vice versa.
Did you know that both husbands AND wives can be guilty of both sides of the expectation issue?
Yep. Husbands and Wives.
You see we all carry into marriage lists and job descriptions and preset ideas and underlying thoughts and hopes and dreams and unrealistic versions of what our spouse should or shouldn’t be.
When we wake up one morning and realize that we married a REAL person with faults and issues and strengths in areas we didn’t expect… well that can be an unseen problem.
But it can also be an unseen blessing.
I have realized that oh yes… Jeremy will fail to meet expectations. I will fail to meet his. That is absolutely going to happen. We are going to disappoint and frustrate and hurt. Mostly likely completely unknowingly, we will not live up to the lists and ideas and dreams and hopes.
Thankfully, all those lists and dreams and hopes and ideas and thoughts and expectations aren’t always what we need or what God wants to bless us with.
Those “unmet expectations” can be true blessings in disguise.
They can be things on the list that God has for your life.
Ways he wants to teach you and grow you and build you into an image of Him.
And we need to match our list to his…
So how can we do that? How can we make our expectations a blessing and not a hindrance to our married life and family life?
1. Put words to expectations for yourself. Sit down and write out your thoughts and dreams and hopes and lists. What are you really expecting from your marriage? your spouse?
2. Pray about that list and ask God to match it up to His list for your life. He will so lovingly point out the things on your lists that are unrealistic, unnecessary, and even unfair to your spouse. He will also lovingly point out things he has blessed you with that you didn’t even realize you needed.
3. Voice even the smallest expectations to your spouse. And encourage them to do the same even if it is really hard to do! Open communication is key to making sure you are both on the same page. Communication daily about big things, little things and everything in between will prevent an unseen expectation from cropping up and it will also give your spouse a chance to meet your expectation.
4. Remember, your spouse probably really wants to help and be and do the things you need! They are madly in love with you and they want to see you function at your best. If they can help make that happen, they will want to know!
5. Not all expectations are created equal. Don’t expect things that your spouse can’t give. He is your friend, your lover, your confidant, your partner, your blessing from God. He is NOT your everything… that place belongs to God alone. For those expectations your spouse can not provide, remember that your heavenly father is truly able to be your everything, your all in all.
6. Unmet Expectations do not give you the right to be mean. This is a hard one! Attitude, grace, mercy, compassion… ALL of these things will keep you from saying and doing things that you regret when you feel like an expectation went unnoticed or ignored or forgotten.
7. Continued unmet expectations are not the end of your marriage. The grass is not greener. That friend that seems to have her every need met by her spouse… yeah. She probably doesn’t. Keep pouring energy, time, effort into your marriage and watch what God can do!
8. Remember, you fail too. You forget, ignore, and overlook your spouse’s expectations all the time. Daily even. Stay humble. Perfection is not in the marriage equation. Only grace and forgiveness and patience and God-like love.
9. Be able to let go… once God shows you something you can lay at his feet concerning an expectation, lay it down. Let it go. Give it to God and pray that He will provide for your marriage in surprising ways!
10. Be open to what God is doing! He just might wow and surprise you with bigger and better!
Whether it is daily things like taking out the trash or bigger things like attending church with you and your kids, trust that God is at work.
Trust that God has your best at heart and that He is your everything…
Your spouse is a sweet blessing, a welcome friend and a courageous life partner.
Walk marriage together as God leads you every single day.
Everything else will fall into place…
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