Let’s talk about expectations.
From the time I was a little girl up to even now, I’ve created lists and lists of qualities and characteristics I expect from the people around me; my friends, family, employers, church leadership, mentors; and yes, my husband.
I remember when I was younger sitting in my room with my older sister, pen, and paper in hand, writing trait after trait after trait down on this paper; just brainstorming, hoping to pinpoint what exactly we were looking for in the perfect man.
He would have blue eyes and be passionate about music. He’d make a career out of it if he could. And we would probably meet at church, and we would both consider church to be our second home.
He’d be kind and gentle, but firm in his convictions.
He would love God will all his heart, would avoid driving like a maniac, but still be adventurous and active, and of course, would
have a six pack look strong and healthy.
I would seriously spend hours mapping it all out; what perfect (for me) would look like. And I was going to find the guy (one day anyway). He would be my prince charming (except for cooler, because he would remember me by my face and not my shoe size) and it would be just like the Disney movies (minus all the magic spells and the whole “damsel in distress” scenario that is oh so popular in Disney fairy tales).
It all sounded… perfect.
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Enter: The #1 Biggest Mistake Of My Marriage
What I failed to realize though, no matter how many times people around me hinted at it, was that perfect doesn’t exist. Not outside of Christ, anyway. There is not a man in the world that could meet my every expectation, fulfill my every need, or shower me with my every desire.
There isn’t a man in the world that can be everything that I need him to be all the time. The same is true for you. Perfect isn’t out there.
I used to get in some pretty hefty fights with God when it came to my marriage because I expected that when I got married it would be to the perfect man. And as naive as it may sound, I expected I would be the perfect wife. The reality of it (as I found very quickly) was that we both fall short. And the more I poked at his specks and logs, the more visible each of mine became to him.
Back to Reality
The hard truth is simply this:
In marriage there will be disagreement, there will be conflict and arguments, hurt feelings, and possibly tears. There will be misunderstandings. At times, you will feel distance.
There will always be a blot of dust to contrast your perfect white walls.
But that doesn’t mean your marriage is void of love and it doesn’t mean your marriage is failing.
It just means you’re two imperfect people who have chosen to stick it out together and love each other beyond your imperfections. Love doesn’t erase our flaws, or our spouses flaws for that matter; it is simply our decision to be committed to a person despite their flaws.
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The Right Kind Of Expectations
Now, I’m not here to say “away with expectations,” or anything like that. Expectations aren’t all bad. In fact setting them can be a great safety net for your marriage, so long as you do three things:
1) Communicate your expectations to your spouse.
Don’t let your expectations go unmentioned. That is the best way to keep them unmet. Take time during the week to chat with your husband about what you need or desire from him. If there is a problem, share how he can help you. If you don’t want him to help and just need a listening ear, tell him that.
Unfortunately, men can’t read our minds. So if we expect something of them, it’s only fair that we share that expectation with them.
2) Keep your expectations reasonable.
Most times it’s unintentional, but it does happen; that we set our expectations so high no husband on earth could attain them. And so, enters the arguments, hurt feelings, and the mascara smearing tears.
Let’s just avoid that all together and be fair when setting expectations with your groom. His love for you may be grand, but he himself is still just as human as the man next door. Be reasonable in what you ask of him.
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3) Be gracious.
In those moments when he does fall short of your expectations, love him anyway, be kind anyway, and forgive always. It’s okay to communicate your hurt or disappointment; but instead of letting your frustration pave the way, let grace drive you.
The biggest mistake you can make in your marriage is to expect complete perfection from a wholly imperfect person.
Would you agree? What other behaviors would you classify as major marriage mistakes? How do you keep yourself from falling into those behaviors?