Expectations are an area in our marriage that can really trip us up. One of the big problems in relationship, whether new or old is the problem of unexpressed expectation. We all have them, but unless you both are aware of them it makes fulfilling each others needs considerable more difficult. We simply take it for granted that the other person know our wants and needs. Unless you are both mind readers there will never be a meeting of the minds. Another problem occurs when our expectations for our marriage are unrealistic, then a series of potholes will litter the matrimonial highway. We can easily lose sight of God’s design for our marriage; we can forget all the qualities that first attracted us to our spouse; and we can forget just how special our mate really is. We can get so caught up in our differences (often the things we found endearing at first) and forget that our spouse’s strengths offset our own weaknesses and vice versa. We begin to focus on how our partner can be fixed rather than understanding how God created them different from us. We focus on our feelings rather than the practice of love.
When it was all said and done, the apostle Paul had one expectation: “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death” (Philippians 1:20). Paul’s expectation was that Christ always be honored.
Now let’s do an experiment. Go someplace where you can be alone, someplace comfortable and with no intrusions. You may both complete the following exercise in a personal journal or notebook. Each of you sit for about fifteen minutes, silently. Once your mind is clear of outside interference make a list of six expectations you have for your mate, the future of your relationship or anything else that you’d like to see your spouse do more often. Really give this some thought. Consider how these expectations would make you feel if they were tended to. Now that you have completed your list, go back and reread it. Do you find more negatives in your expectations list than positives? Has your lack in expressing them to your spouse led to certain expectations being unfulfilled? I then suggest that you both sit together and share your lists with one another, discussing together the unrealistic ones and coming up with a plan to put forth the effort to address those that are attainable. Working toward meeting the needs of our partner displays a great sense of selflessness, the foundation of a healthy marriage. Remember, we can work with what we know. Be blessed!
©2018 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design
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