I LOVE a quote that a reader shared with me last week, “Expectations are premeditated resentment.”
I have been hearing from a number of newlywed wives – and the thing that strikes me is the unrealistic expectations these precious sisters of mine have. Reminds me of myself!
SOME UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS WE OFTEN HAVE OF MARRIAGE/HUSBANDS/MEN
- When we get married, things will be exactly the same between us as they were when we were dating, but we will just be together more.
- If I do everything I am supposed to do,”respect and submit to my man” then he will always love me in the ways I want to be loved.
- My man will constantly tell me he loves me.
- My man will think and act and feel just like I do.
- If he is distant, it means he doesn’t love me, because if I were distant like that, it would mean I didn’t love him.
- If he is not as verbal and chatty as I am, it means he doesn’t love me.
- Once we are married, my husband will always want to have sex with me.
- My man should initiate prayer every day with me.
- If my man has issues with porn, it means he doesn’t love me.
- If he withdraws from me, it means he wishes he had never married me.
- He will be just like his mentor/our friend/my dad
LET ME SPELL OUT WHAT IS USUALLY CLOSER TO REALITY
- Dynamics change A LOT when a couple marries. It is impossible to predict exactly how things will change, but they do change dramatically.
- Your husband will not always be perfect. He is human. Sometimes he will sin against you. Sometimes you will feel unloved, lonely and ignored. Sometimes even if you do everything right, your marriage won’t be as intimate as you want it to be. God will use these times to make you holy if you turn to Him. This is where you get to learn to give grace, to give mercy, to forgive and to overlook faults and die to self! IT WILL BE EXTREMELY PAINFUL SOMETIMES!
- Many men are not very verbal. Sometimes once they are married, they quit saying a lot of “I love you”s. This does not mean they don’t love their wives. It usually just means they are showing it with what they do more than what they say. Men often don’t understand how important words are to women and how much women need reassurance of their love. To them, if they married you, it means they REALLY LOVE YOU – and that is a pretty unchanging thing in most men’s minds.
- I promise your man will NOT think, feel, process, act or talk like you do. He’s a guy! You will need to learn to interpret what he says and learn how vastly different men are from women – or you will be really hurt a lot for no reason. Most men do NOT have evil motives towards us! We can easily deduce that is what must be going on by their behavior at times – but usually it is a misunderstanding about how different men perceive the world and their priorities. I’d recommend reading Shaunti Feldhahn’s For Women Only to learn more than you every could have imagined there was to know about how Christian men think.
- Men can get distant for many reasons. DO NOT assume he doesn’t love you or doesn’t want you just because he is distant. He may be feeling disrespected. He may be consumed by a problem at work. He may feel inadequate as a provider. He may be overwhelmed with new responsibilities (having a new wife and a baby on the way – for instance) and may be feeling like he is drowning in all that is expected of him and like he is not sure if he can do this. He needs to see your FAITH in him. And he needs you to be a safe place for him to share his heart.
- Men bond silently a lot of times doing shoulder to shoulder things. Men don’t bond with words. They bond with shared experiences. Spend some time with your man just being with him as he does things he loves to do. Don’t talk. Just enjoy being there and be ready to listen if he wants to talk.
- Husbands don’t all always want to have sex all the time. There are lots of reasons a husband may not want to have sex: he is exhausted, he is extremely stressed, he is feeling disrespected (that is a huge turn off), he is feeling controlled/smothered by you, he is sick, you are sick, he is hurt, you are hurt (back injury or something), you are being too sexually aggressive towards him (sometimes backing off and waiting to let him pursue you works better), he is depressed about his job situation, he has a lower drive than you do and is ok with having sex just once or twice a week. There are also times that a husband’s desire can be very low due to medical issues, side effects of medications, porn addiction, or infidelity. But the first list of reasons I mentioned are usually the more common ones. When you get married, please understand that you and your husband will NOT always both want sex at the same time. You will experience rejection at times. That does not mean he doesn’t want you, or that he doesn’t love you. Be prepared to be able to handle “no” graciously and take your pain to God and be patient and receptive for the time when he is ready. (PS – men’s testosterone levels are highest in the morning. If you get married and your husband is too tired at night or turns you down a lot at night, try initiating without words in the morning instead.)
- Most Christian husbands, even pastors, do not initiate prayer with their wives – sometimes EVER. Don’t expect him to suddenly do this when you get married if he wasn’t doing it before. If he is ok with you respectfully asking him to pray with you, awesome. If he is uncomfortable with praying together – pray by yourself or with a godly older mentor. Just because a man doesn’t want to pray out loud does not necessarily mean he is not a good spiritual leader or that he is not a strong believer. Being verbal and vulnerable in prayer out loud is really intimidating for a lot of men. Don’t pressure him! If he is a believer, he will hopefully be praying on his own. But you can’t control or monitor that. Let God handle your husband’s spirituality.
- MANY MEN – the vast majority of men today (especially under 50) have had some involvement with porn (this tears my heart to shreds!). A man’s addiction to porn actually has nothing to do with his love for his woman/wife. But it is sin, and it is destructive to the relationship. And it easily leads to more sin. For help with a porn addiction, click here.
- We women are awful at making assumptions about our men’s motives. Unless he tells you he doesn’t love you anymore – and he is still there – assume he DOES love you and that something is bothering him. It might have nothing to do with you. Sometimes guys are depressed. Sometimes they have a bad day. Sometimes they get into a funk. Unless he directly says you have done something, do not assume his withdrawal is about you. You may ask him if you did something that came across disrespectfully. You can ask him politely if he is ok. But if he stays quiet, give him some space. Go do something you enjoy. Pray. Go for a run. Go spend time with girlfriends. Let him have some space. He will probably be better in a few hours or a day or two. If he does want to talk, be all ears. Be willing to listen if he wants you to do something differently. Be cooperative.
- Let your man be himself. He is not his mentor. He is not his friend. He is not your dad. He will do things his own way, have his own ideas and be his own person. He is also not you. Allow him the grace and freedom to be himself. ACCEPT HIM! Do NOT try to change him! 🙂 Life will be so much more enjoyable for you both if you can start with this understanding!
This is only a SHORT list of possible unrealistic expectations we have of our men. But it gives us a place to start.
Let me know if you have any questions, I will do my best to answer. I am not infallible! And I am human! But I will try to explain the whole realm of masculinity and point us to Christ and His Word!