To read the first post about expectations, click here.
WHAT ARE SOME EXPECTATIONS THAT GET US INTO TROUBLE? WHEN I THINK:
- if I do things right – God will “owe me” and I will never have to suffer (I can control God. I can earn His love and a wonderful life by my definition)
- my boyfriend/husband must be perfect and must never sin against me
- that my relationship/marriage will be like a romantic movie, I will constantly feel “in love” and “loved”
- that a committed relationship/marriage will solve all my problems
- that if I am married, I will never be lonely
There are many more possibilities, but this is a good place to start. Keep in mind that these expectations can easily become idols for us – and we can easily set our hearts on these things instead of on Jesus alone.
We will look at some additional expectations tomorrow.
LET’S TALK ABOUT REALITY VS. EACH OF THE ABOVE EXPECTATIONS
- God values suffering when it is for His glory. God promises that we will suffer in this life. Jesus suffered as an example for us. And God wants to use suffering to make us more like Jesus. My life will have suffering. But God’s promise is that He will be there to empower me to endure and that He will teach me and make me more like Jesus. I will learn the most during my times of suffering if I will listen for God’s voice.
- Men are human. They are all wretched sinners in desperate need of Christ! So are women! He WILL sin against you – the question is only when and how much. God can and will use these opportunities to reveal the sin in your own heart because we are most tempted to sin when we have been sinned against (Gary Thomas Sacred Marriage). If I cannot respond to my husband’s sin with mercy, forgiveness, grace, respect, gentleness and speaking the truth in love (after removing the sin from my own life first) – then I have a lot of sin to confess and repent of before my Holy God.
- Marriage CAN be very romantic sometimes. But it is not Hollywood. And it can be and will be excruciatingly painful other times. It will not follow a carefully scripted movie plot line. When we expect men to act the way they do in romantic chick-flicks (which are often written by women) – we are buying into a fantasy that completely warps real masculinity. We set up false expectations for our men when we consume these things. If watching romantic movies, reading romantic books and listening to love songs creates discontentment in you – romance may be an idol and it is time to stop watching and listening to these things and time to focus on Jesus and His love.
- Paul says that those who have married will have much trouble in this life. Marriage does not solve nearly as many problems as it creates! Marriage is a gift and a blessing. God designed it to demonstrate His love and relationship with His people. But in a marriage between two sinners – there is MUCH TROUBLE. Expect that. Be prepared for it. Don’t complain and argue. Be ready to give grace and to roll with reality and be flexible. Your way is not the most important thing. God’s will is the most important thing!
- The loneliness that happens sometimes in marriage is a loneliness that far exceeds (in my view) the loneliness of being single. There are times that we will be lonely, VERY lonely in our marriages. I believe that is our cue to look to Jesus. Our husbands will fail us. But Jesus never will. When I keep my heart set completely on Jesus alone – I will find the belonging, the security, the peace, the love, the acceptance and companionship I so desperately long for.
WHAT DO I DO WHEN MY MAN DOES NOT MEET MY EXPECTATIONS?
Do I believe I am justified to sin against him by cussing, screaming, yelling, throwing things, hating him, resenting him, gossiping against him, undermining him to our children, withholding sex from him, not forgiving him, thinking I am so much better than he is, belittling him, disrespecting him, taking over and trying to control him and the family? If I respond in even one of these ways – I am in sin before God.
The way I respond when my husband doesn’t meet my expectations reveals the level of sin in my heart. It shows whether the sinful nature is in control or God’s Spirit is in control. When God’s Spirit is in control, He empowers me to respond to my husband, even if he sins against me with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control.
Take a minute and think about
1. What are your expectations of your man/your future man and marriage? Are any of them toxic?
2. How do you respond when your expectations are not met now?
3. What idols and sin is God revealing here that He wants to deal with and remove from your heart?