4 Dangerous Expectations I Had About Marriage- By Guest blogger Sarah Coulter

4 Dangerous Expectations I had about Marriage

I was looking to the wrong man.

I have to start this off with the disclaimer that I am happily married and this is not a bash session on marriage in the slightest. But I’ve noticed some concerning things in my own marriage and the young women I see around me and I wanted to address them.I got married to the only man I ever dated; the only man I ever kissed. I prayed hard and long about him and I entered into marriage cautiously and joyously. I did everything I thought I was supposed to. Everything we tell single Christian girls to do. Pray and seek God…Marry a man of God. 

I did all that. I married who I felt God told me to and I gave my heart to him.

 My husband is such a solid man. He is hardworking and a wonderful family man. He is all I ever wanted in a husband and more. Most of the problems I have in my marriage are from my own expectations being skewed.

My heart was “broken” in about the second year of marriage. I had built my husband up to the point that if he made a mistake or hurt my feelings, I become absolutely disillusioned and depressed. It sounds melodramatic but this can happen to anyone when our expectations don’t meet reality. I wouldn’t have qualified myself as a girl with high expectations but as it turns out, it doesn’t matter if they are “high” or not. I simply had thoughts about what life would be like, period.

 

So here are four expectations I had that turned out to be dangerous for my heart.

  1. My husband will make me happy.

Of course, he’s gonna make me happy! That’s what husbands are for, isn’t it? We were silly in love and over the moon, there was no way our “honeymoon” phase wouldn’t last. I used to roll my eyes when other couples would tell us that it doesn’t last. They didn’t know OUR relationship. Boy, did I get a wake-up call.  

I don’t remember the first fight we had, but I remember yelling at my husband. YELLING. He said some things that hurt me and I said some things to spite him. It was ugly. And you know what? No one walked away happy. Yet, I still expected him to repair the damage. It wasn’t my fault after all. And this is one of those ways expectations creep in. We want perfection, basically. But perfection is impossible. Sometimes I think that my husband comes pretty close, fights and all, because he truly is an amazing man who blesses me every day, but I can’t expect him to be perfect. There is no one on earth who will ever make you happy forever. That is a job for God and God alone. The problem lies in the fact that we want a human to fulfill a soul need that God designed for HIS love to fill.

 2.I can change my husband(OR he won’t change, I love him the way he is)

We may never think it consciously but in the back of our minds, every time we meet a potential mate; we find a flaw and think, “Oh, that’s ok, I can fix it.” Not only is this incredibly prideful and arrogant, it’s also deeply hurtful. If we go into a relationship with a list of things that should be “fixed” we will never appreciate who our spouse really is. These things don’t always have to be faults. Maybe it’s a career choice or a silly habit. It can be the way they dress or even the music they listen to. The things that seem cute at first can end up annoying and aggravating us to the point that we think we need to “solve” our spouse.

 God designed us as unique individuals and not as robots. So instead of focusing on the things that we don’t like, we should celebrate our differences.

Going into my marriage, my husband and I agreed on basically everything. But as the years rolled by, we both developed new interests and lost some old ones. All of a sudden, we didn’t agree on everything, we liked different music, different clothing styles and enjoyed different outings. This is a natural process of life, how many know we don’t keep the same posters up as when we were twelve years old! The two trains of thought run along the same heart issue. We either want to change the way our spouse is to be more like us, or we don’t want them to change to be less like us.We end up trying to control their every move.

Being a controlling wife is not something we want to be, and definitely isn’t what I expected to be. But my security was in my husband and not God. So when my husband wasn’t who I thought he was anymore, my world shifted. Again, it sounds melodramatic doesn't it? This is what I’m talking about though. The very idea that our spouse can fill a hole that God can fill. The fact that we go into marriage with expectations and hopes and dreams, and they aren’t always met. No one can meet every single one of our fantasies. And even if they do, we would still not be satisfied because our hearts hunger for a deeper satisfaction, that can only be found in Christ.

 My marriage has only ever been the kind of marriage I hope for when I am being the woman I should be. When I place God on the rightful throne of my heart, I am deeply satisfied and fulfilled in my marriage because we are just two broken people needing grace in the presence of God. Anytime I rely on my husband to give me security, I end up feeling shaken. Even though my husband is as steady as a rock, and the most trustworthy man I know, it doesn’t matter because,

 “Thus says the LORD: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD.” Jeremiah 17:5

 But just a couple of verses later, it says, “But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. “ (vs 7)

And in Psalm 125:1 it says, “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.”

 I don’t have to ever feel shaken or insecure. As long as I’m trusting in God.  

3. Marriage will give me freedom.

 We think, “Once I get a boyfriend, I will be happy” and then it’s, “Once I get engaged” and then it’s, “Once I get married.” But relationships won’t solve any problems. More often they reveal more problems!

In our day and age, feminism has taught that women don’t need men to be stable. And while I don’t believe that with how many careers are out there that we NEED men for money, God did design us as two wholes to make a bigger whole. We are intracity connected, designed to fit together in a helper meets helper situation and become a glorious representation of Christ and His bride. What happens is that we construct an idea of marriage that is unbiblical. We either want to be a lazy stay at home wife who does nothing for her husband at all, or we are so focused on our own independence and careers we are no longer fulfilling our roles either. And yes, there is a definite “role”.

Before we enter into marriage, we can imagine ourselves as the perfect wife and our spouse as the perfect husband. But as time goes on, it’s easy to get lazy in the little things. Instead of looking to be a blessing as we used to do, it’s possible to only focus on ourselves. On what we want, on what we feel like, on how we want things to go.

I thought that marriage would give me the freedom to be financially secure with two incomes and be independent from any responsibility. The truth is, there is more responsibility in marriage than I thought. Spouses have a responsibility to each other. To love and to cherish, to honor and respect. Independence is not really compliant with the way that God made marriage. We are knit together, to be independent would be ripping us apart.

4. Marriage will make me less lonely.

My husband is a good man who is patient with my crazy moods. He reaches my heart when I’m in the deepest pits and joins me in the highest mountain tops. But loneliness is a battle that stays no matter who you are with and that is simply because loneliness is a soul problem. We crave connection, we long for depth and a filling in the deepest parts of us. My husband has reached through some very large walls I built up, but even still I can feel lonely on my bad days. Why is that? Just this: loneliness is plagues us as a result of sin, and God uses that to draw us toward Himself. He is the only One who can fill us.

And that is really what all these expectations led me to. I was a Christian before I got married, but I had no idea how much I really needed Jesus. I was looking to the wrong man, my whole teenage life, obsessing over boys and dating and eventually getting married. All that opened my eyes to the fact that I was asking a man to fill the place only God could fill. And that is the most dangerous expectation of all.

 But what do we do? Where is the hope? Here is the hope:

 “My soul, wait in silence for God alone, for my expectation is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation.” Psalm 62:5-6

Marriage is invaluable and husbands are a huge blessing, but our expectation and hope can be in God only. Everything on top of that is just a bonus. 

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