Tuesday, July 22, 2014

#1 Marriage Ruiner for Women


Women grow up painting these lovely pictures in our minds of husbands, marriage, babies, weddings, our homes &etc. We also grow up playing "house" and over time this play time turns dreamy. As we grow up we become enthralled with romance novels portraying men and women who's sex lives and happy endings create unrealistic expectations for our own relationships. The "what-I-want-in-a-husband" list grows to an unreachable level thanks to these made-up, dreamy, lovey dovey, over-the-top expectations. 

The thing is... we expect perfection and when perfection isn't attained our society is telling us to begin looking elsewhere. Consequently, the reality is this: 50% of marriages end in divorce. 

Have you ever heard of the 80-20 principle? It's simple, really. Supposedly we get 80% of what we want from our spouse and there's always 20% lacking. So we go elsewhere to find that 20% and as a result we begin missing the 80. We find that the grass isn't always greener, but the "grass is greener" concept is thrown around in stupid ideals such as this...

You see Satan knows how to attack us. He throws romance novel ideals into our brain to make us think those dreams are attainable. He makes us believe that perfection is realistic. He wants us to put our own needs first, thus neglecting what it means to be a follower of Christ: self-denial. Satan knows that the one thing in the universe that displays the glory of God is the church (Ephesians 3:10) and he also knows that the first place others are going to look to see if we are unified is marriage. If we are not unified, we do not effectively display the manifold wisdom of God, which is exactly what Satan wants. The best defense against Satan is the unity of the church body. That means submitting to God who's calling us to submit to our husbands. Submission to our husbands is a picture of the church's submission to Christ and is the first place others will go to see unity in the church body. I truly believe one of the many ways Satan will attack marriages is through the lofty, unrealistic expectations created by women! Our expectations are killing marriages and I would argue that women are the most manipulative, whiney, me-me-me, wanna-be-in-charge witches on the face of the planet who expect this to be done my way - or else. How do I know this? 

I've had to come face to face with my own unrealistic expectations that were a result of complete and utter selfishness. And I see it in others time and time and time again.

Our first year of marriage was HARD. I had the expectation that the first year is the honeymoon year. HA! I threw around the "D" word like it was my job, holding it above his head and manipulating every situation with, "Change this or else I'm outta here!" Were there things that needed to change? Absolutely; but here's the honest truth about that statement: I was being more selfish in my handling of these expectations than Kyle was in not meeting them. 

I can't tell you how much we've grown as a couple as we approach our 5 year wedding anniversary. As I plan a celebration of that milestone I've spent a significant amount of time asking myself about true love. I've learned more about what it means to love in the last 5 years than I ever would've imagined. I've learned much, much more about love as I learn about the life of Jesus Christ and as I watch other marriages fail and more importantly stand the test of time.

I'm not an expert and many would say that being married for 5 years does not count for anything (I would disagree), so I'm not saying this of my own opinion per say. I'm repeating what our pastor advised us in the first of 4 marriage counseling sessions before saying, "I do." And it's the one thing that has really stuck with me. I'm constantly evaluating if my expectations are realistic or unrealistic. Here are 3 unrealistic expectations I know exist:
  • If only my husband was the godly man I've been asking for, then I'd be a godly wife. That's bullhockey and I can prove it. Peter gave women (who's husbands were nonbelievers) advice in his letter to exiled Christians who were persecuted far beyond what we can imagine for their faith in Christ. His entire purpose for the book of 1 Peter was in 5:12 "I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it." Stand firm in God's grace! No matter what! Even if you're enduring the worst persecution in Christian history -- stand firm in God's grace. Even if your master treats you unfairly -- stand firm in God's grace! Even if your husband is an unbeliever -- stand firm in God's grace. "Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do no obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening." In other words, even if your husband does not deserve it: respect him. Even if your husband is not a godly man, your conduct should be pure. If you put your trust in God you are at rest and you fear nothing. What have you to fear if your hope is in Jesus Christ? Nothing can separate you from Him (Romans 8)! So no matter what, trust Him. Submit to GOD's plan in your life and I believe with all of my heart that means letting go of the expectation that your husband should (and can) be a perfect godly man. He won't and he can't, because he's a dirty, rotten, selfish sinner -- just like you. This expectation is so wrong, on so many, many levels. If you are married to a sorry, sad husband that does NOT give you an excuse to not submit to Christ, who is calling you to submit to your husband - godly or not. (Yes, I broke the double negative rule. I'm trying to make a point: no matter what -- submit to GOD's design -- not your own, not the world's, not your mom's -- GOD's!)
  • We expect lovely feelings all the time. This one makes me giggle hysterically. Who on the face of the planet has ever, ever, ever felt lovely feelings toward their spouse all the time? What do you do when those feelings disappear at the first sign of conflict? Do you run? Hide? Give ultimatums? Let go of the lie that love is a feeling. Love is a choice. You choose to be patient. You choose to be kind. You choose to be faithful. You choose to be selfless. You choose to stay committed. You choose to offer forgiveness unconditionally. You choose to persevere and endure through good times and bad, through sickness and health. Why? Well, first off, because a covenant was made to your husband in front of God, family and friends to do just that; but most importantly because Jesus did not want to die on the cross. YET, He did it anyway because He chose to submit to God's plan and He chose to love us - even though we are unlovable. He is our perfect example! All those qualities I mentioned above are Paul's description of love in 1 Corinthians 13. This particular verse is used in so many weddings (including mine) that I'm beginning to see that people are missing the enormity of this verse. You see, this describes PERFECT, unattainable love - because that's how God loves us: with patience, kindness, forgiveness, &etc. Here's something to take note of: not one of those qualities are feelings. They are actions. So do it, just like Christ.
  • We expect perfection. Ladies, we will all screw up. Thankfully, while we were still sinners Christ died for us! (Romans 5:8) Jesus became sin on our behalf so that we would not have to die and go to hell. If Jesus Christ has forgotten our sins (past, present, and future) who are we to remember our own and who are we to hold grudges? Who are we to not offer forgiveness? Who are we to expect perfection from others when we can't even attain it ourselves? Stop expecting perfection. 
  • Fill in the blank, "I expect ______ from my husband." Go to scripture and determine if this is realistic or unrealistic. Either way, it's not your job to tackle the problem. Let God work in your life by taking this to HIM in prayer. Starting now...
Over time I will probably add to this, but 5 years have taught me much about love and marriage. If anything I've walked away with this one profound truth: I will CHOOSE to love Kyle all the days of my life because that's what Christ did for me. If I bask in Christ's love I am forever thankful for it, because I do not deserve it. The more I remind myself of this truth, the easier it is to love others, especially my husband, with the love Christ has given me. It won't be always be easy or fun, but I choose to do it now and 5o years from now if God so chooses to give me a lifetime with this man. 
Choose to love unconditionally, faithfully, selflessly... just like Jesus...


  1. I can't even express how much I love this post! My first year of marriage was incredibly hard for us because I did have a ton of expectations on married life, and especially military married life. I'd always been taught that love is a choice but that first year definitely solidified it!

    1. I am so glad you liked this post! I debated for quite some time on whether or not to hit publish. It's such a sensitive topic, but I'm glad I did. I think a lot of women can relate to the "love is a choice" fact after their first year, because our first year definitely solidified that truth for me as well and I know of countless others that can relate. Thanks for your comment! I love getting feedback.