Excerpt from An online Course: Where God puts two hearts in a home
Expectations in a Marriage!…..You may arrive in marriage with a whole hope chest full of expectations of how your spouse will behave. You expect your spouse to take on certain roles and perform certain duties. Perhaps you gathered these expectations from seeing your parents, from studying the Bible, or from another marriage that you have observed. For instance: Husbands, did you think that your wife would keep the house clean like your mother did? Wives, did you expect that your husband would repair things around the house? One of you may have expected a particular type of child discipline, a certain type of vacation, or a certain frequency of sex.
You may not have realized that those expectations were there until your spouse failed to meet them. Then, you may have been shocked, disappointed, or even angry that he/she did something so totally contrary to what you thought was proper. Without a proper response to disappointment, a marriage can be severely wounded.
Let’s see this interchange from a disappointed spouse.
“Mom, why is marriage so hard? Cora sighed as she took a sip of tea, wincing as it burned her tongue. I love Stephen so much, but we disagree in areas I never expected like he wants me to keep Joshua quiet so that he can watch the ball game, and I think that he should play ball with Joshua. Sometimes he acts so selfish!
Mary, her mother, nodded thoughtfully: He is selfish. But so are you.
I had to learn about my own selfishness before our marriage could grow stronger. Everyone will tell you that marriage is work, but it took me a while to realize what that means. Sometimes it meant giving up what I thought was fair or even what I thought our marriage should be. She turned and looked at Cora. Do you remember when you were in ninth grade? Cora nodded. Of course. The factory closed, and Daddy just moped around the house. You went to work at the school. You were both so unhappy. It really scared me because I thought that you might get divorced.
I‘m sorry you had anxiety. We were both committed to our marriage, but it was pretty bad before it got better. Ultimately, God used that hard time to teach me something that I needed to learn.
Like . . .?‖ Cora asked.
Well, like when I got married, I had packed up all my expectations right along with my clothes. I just expected your dad to meet all my needs emotional, physical, and even spiritual. I had a really long list, and I blamed him whenever things didn‘t go right. So, when he wasn‘t living up to my expectations anymore, I felt betrayed and angry with him even at God. I thought, This isn‘t the man I married!‘
Then God showed me that the biggest thing I had packed was my selfishness. I had to learn to see myself as God‘s agent for good toward your father, even if he wasn’t meeting my needs. Cora laughed, It‘s easy to see how much you love each other now. You‘re like a couple of newlyweds!
Now that Dad is not depressed, it‘s easy. But I don‘t take the things that he does for me for granted anymore. I am so grateful that he still loves me after all these years. Good times come, and bad times come. It‘s being faithful through both the good and the bad times and loving each other through it all that pleases God.”