1. THE SLOW FADE OF UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
We all have expectations. It’s healthy to have expectations. It’s also unhealthy not to have expectations because you will simply be drifting with the next raft on board without considering much, reflecting much or observing much.
I must admit that I had some unrealistic expectations when I got married. Some were overt, and some were subtle. Truth is, however much they weighed, they soon grew to be insurmountable stumbling blocks to the progress of our marriage.
One of the biggest unrealistic expectation I had was expecting my husband to pick up my tempo, and do something because “I said so.” Not that it was defeating, not that it’s wrong for me to suggest anything, not that it was anything or uncalled for, but it was the ‘clinging’ that was so off-centered. My unrealistic expectations definitely gave birth disappointment, anger, nagging and perpetual discontentment because I could not have what I had painted in void.
Like me, most of us persist in clinging because it gives us something to hold on to and allows us to very often to sidestep the hard work of changing what we have control over: ourselves. I say again, ourselves.
See, the cost of loving someone is never cheap. You cannot buy love but there is a price tag to maintaining a relationship, and a healthy relationship at that. The longevity of a relationship is often determined by what you two can trade off. Humility for pride, love for indifference, intentional spaces for an inadvertent life.
All in all, the only person I was in control over, was myself. I had to do a personal introspection, and wage war against my internal turmoils. Dismembering my unrealistic expectations was and still is a slow painful death.
See, letting go of ones unrealistic expectations doesn’t necessarily mean having no expectations at all. It’s choosing an internal posture of holy resignation. Hebrews 11:1 begins by saying, Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Physical eyesight produces a conviction or evidence of visible things; faith is the organ which enables people to see the invisible order.
Holy resignation rests on the pillar of faith. So, faith is not a bare belief or intellectual understanding. It is a willingness to trust in, to rely on, and to cling to God.
Practically speaking, in marriage, a holy resignation means accepting and loving your spouse without demanding that he or she change while resisting the vortex of despair and blame, and standing in FAITH that God will complete a good work in your marriage—regardless of current circumstances or regardless of whether you have differing opinions.
We all need a wartime mentality on the battlefield of marriage. When we move past the opulence and bliss of our weddings, the temporal decisions of the wedding dress, the flower arrangements, the venue and all, we are faced with critical decisions of living out our marriage vows for the glory of the Lord. The sweet romantic bliss tasted on our wedding day is a real part of marriage — seasons and moments that should be treasured — but it’s the hard fought battles won with grace that sustain a marriage.
Whether we like it or not, the battle against the world, the devil and or sinful selves begins, not ends, when we make our wedding vows.
Our selfish desires will immediately rank out its chocking fumes, threatening to suffocate what God has began. Weeds will begin to grow and rear up like a fire-breathing dragons. The ancient prowling serpent will creep in and suddenly whisper to our ears, “your spouse is baying for your blood.” He will twist and turn all truths. You must take heed to what you hear.
Luke 8:18 says, Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them.
In my own experience, it’s our own unrealistic expectations in marriage that blind us from seeing the land mines around us.
Do not let expectations triumph over the glorious relationship that the Lord is slowly unraveling before your eyes. It’s one thing to say we will glorify God in our marriage, but it’s quite another for both spouses to have a crystal clear picture of a glorious marriage by waging war against the fiery darts of unrealistic exceptions.
Trust the Lord on behalf of your spouse. The fade might have lingered for while, but trust the Lord enough to help you wage the war on unrealistic expectations by taking on His glasses of grace, the glasses of His purposes for His glory and to set all up for our good.