Alright, I’ve got to be honest with you. I don’t really want to write about this topic today!!! Letting go of expectations is extremely difficult for me and it has been one of the biggest struggles my husband and I have had in our marriage.
“I think if I could help a new wife in any area, it would be to discourage her from coming unto her marriage with a big list of expectations and then being upset when her husband doesn’t live up to them. Of course there are some basics that should be agreed upon before the wedding date, such as fidelity, high moral standards, physical and emotional love, and protection. When you don’t get those things, you can ask for them. When you still don’t get them, you can pray. But when it comes to the specifics, you can’t require one person to meet all your needs. The pressure to do that and fulfill your dreams at the same time can be overwhelming to a man. Instead take your needs to God in prayer and look to HIM for the answers. If we try to control our husbands by having a big list for them to live up to and then are angry and disappointed when they can’t, WE are the ones in error. The biggest problem in my marriage occurred when my expectations of what I thought Michael should be or do didn’t coincide with the reality of who he was.” (The Power Of A Praying Wife, Pages 40,41)
When we got married, I didn’t realize I had a big list of expectations for my husband…that is, until he didn’t meet those expectations and I was feeling disappointed and angry all the time! My husband had the basics down; he was faithful, he had high moral standards, he was an awesome provider and he loved and protected me. There were a few things I expected him to do because that’s what I thought husbands did. One of these things being bringing me flowers. I have to tell you, my husband is not very romantic. This is something I knew going into our marriage, but I guess I expected him to be once we got married. I can’t tell you how many times he would be late coming home from work and I would automatically come up with this lovely scenario in my head about how he stopped off at the florist and bought me a dozen red roses, how he would hide them behind his back and then pull them out with such flourish that I would swoon and fall even more deeply in love with him.
When he would walk in the door empty handed complaining about the homeless guy at the gas station who was mad that my husband only gave him change instead of dollars (since, of course, he was getting gas after work, not buying me roses), I would be angry and disappointing. It sounds silly now, but it became a big problem. I felt myself being disappointed a lot because my husband didn’t live up to my expectations. Those were unrealistic expectations that I placed on him and it made us both miserable.
Even this week I found myself feeling upset with him because he has a habit of taking off his socks and leaving them all over the house. For most people this would be a little irritating, for me it was hurtful, both emotionally and physically. Having to bend down and pick things up off the floor is really hard on my back, and I expected Mike to realize that and so his leaving his socks all over the place meant that he didn’t care about me. Stormie talks about how when you don’t get those basics you agreed upon when you got married, you can ask for them. And if you don’t get them, you can pray about them. I think this goes for things like my sock situation too! I prayed about how to approach my husband about it (my normal MO would be to scold him) and asked the Lord to show me when and how to ask him to pick up his socks and why I was asking it of him. I found an appropriate time to talk to him about it and he was so receptive! He said he didn’t realize that he even did it, and he also said that it hadn’t crossed his mind how difficult it would be to have to pick them up and that he would do his best to make sure he put them in the hamper! It’s been three days and I have not had to pick them up once! If I had approached him in my usual way, there would have been a fight and nothing would have been resolved. Praising God for His work in me!
There is another expectation I put on my husband that was unrealistic, though, and the Lord really had to work in my heart regarding the issue. I needed more help around the house and I pretty much demanded it of my husband. I pleaded my case, gave him all the reasons why he should help me. That conversation did not end well. For us, the expectation for him to help me more around the house is unrealistic, at least in this season of our life. Like I said in yesterday’s post, he is out of the house an average of 73 hours a week and then he also works close to 12 hours a week at home on church stuff and school stuff. He has no time for himself, let alone time to help me with the house. Any extra moments he has, he spends with Samuel and me. The compromise we worked out (after the harsh words, tears, conviction, repentance, apologies and forgiveness ) was again what I talked about yesterday – 3 important things he would like done, and also me relaxing a little bit and not expecting perfection when it comes to how my home looks.
We will always have expectations – the key is to pray about which ones are unrealistic and the ones that aren’t. Ask the Lord to allow you to give up the unrealistic ones and give you the wisdom to know how and when to talk to your husband about the realistic ones. Chances are your husband might just be a little clueless about them and will be receptive if you approach him the right way. He loves you and wants to show you. He may just not know how.
I guess even though I didn’t want to write about this topic today, I had plenty to say. I pray you can glean something good from my ramblings! Praying for you!