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VLog: When Expectations Kill Your Marriage
I've been trying to make more videos lately about marriage, and here's the latest installment, generated from a really sad email I received lately.

What do you do when you're married, and you realize you aren't in love? That you aren't meant for each other?

I try to answer here:

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At 12:35 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

I feel for this girl, because I was in the same boat not too long ago. I felt so terrified because not long after I got married, I started thinking I didn't love him and the thought that I was "stuck" with him forever made me feel physically ill. My encouragement for her would be to stick it out. What I found was the more I looked at the reasons we shouldn't be together, the less satisfied I became. It's really hard, but if you try to find all the things about your husband that you appreciate, then your heart starts to change towards him. Once I started changing the way I looked at our marriage, then I started really loving my husband. I had to stop thinking of him in comparison with other men and I had to stop thinking of "us" in comparison with other couples. Even if other couples "look" in love, you do not know what is going on behind closed doors. The grass is not always greener.

I can't speak for this girl, but I know for myself, I was extremely selfish. I was the princess and I expected him to be the prince, and cater to my every whim and desire. Once I realized that this was not going to happen, I started to grow up. I started looking for ways that I could honour him, ways that I could start satisfying his desires. I'm still working on this, but it has gotten much better the more that I die to myself. Happiness, the way the world sees it, is all about ME. Contentment, the way the Lord sees it, is all about the other person. If you and your spouse are each giving the other 100% of yourself, that is the only way you will find true "happiness" although I prefer the word contentment.

Our husbands shouldn't have to meet our expectations for us to love them. God wants us to love our husbands for who they are and not for who we are expecting them to be.

If I am always trying to change the other person rather than myself, I will never be happy anyway. I could divorce this guy, find someone "better" and still be facing the same problems because I will still be living with myself.

And for the record, I dearly love my husband now. It's been a long road, but I cannot imagine life without him now. He is amazing.

Philippians 4:11
...for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.

Sorry for being long-winded. I hope this helps.


At 12:47 PM , Blogger Sheila said…

Anonymous, thanks so much for your comment! It was beautiful, and very well-put, and I hope that she reads it!


At 1:46 PM , Blogger Terry @ Breathing Grace said…

I hope she reads that comment, too. Very well stated and encouraging as well.

While I can't say I know what it is to feel disillusioned in the way your emailer described, I know what it's like to wonder, "Is this going to work out?" I think most married people have experienced that at one time or another. Your advice was good and godly.

I just wish more people with a platform would say to disillusioned couples what you've said here. Too often, especially when there are no kids involved, they're advised to "end it now because the longer you wait the greater the suffering will be when the inevitable happens."

What terrible advice, which is sadly all too common.

You did a great job here, Sheila.


At 3:43 PM , Blogger Iva said…

I love this! Like you, I discovered that when I took the focus off me and what I wasn't getting from my husband, and instead focused on him, I became a much happier wife. I think marriages get better with time. Like you say, they get stronger when you stick it out through the tough spots. The one thing that my husband I did right from the very start of our marriage is take the D word out of the equation. It's just not there so it has never been an option.


At 5:15 PM , Blogger Cara said…

I love this post and the comments! I've learned that all relationships can have unmet expectations, but it's important to look at those expectations and determine whether or not they're realistic.

In addition, we should be depending on God to meet our needs - this was a mistake I made in the beginning of marriage that I think a lot of young brides make. We tend to think " we're married and our husband will be our best friend and meet all of our needs." The truth is, that men, not women. They are different. They think and speak differently. Just as it takes time for us women to learn how to best serve our husbands in ways that they need and perceive, it also takes time for them to learn how to show us love. Because of this, there are different seasons in a marriage, just as in life.

I've found that there are only a few things I can work on in my marriage:

1) My relationship with God - I need to be leaning on Him and being obedient.

2) Honor my husband - No gossiping or complaining about my husband, especially in front of him! Treat him with respect and (this is a toughie for me) back down in arguments. (Note: this doesn't mean I change my mind/stance, it means I act the part of a peacemaker.) Seek his advice on things and make a point of complimenting him.

3) Serve my husband - What are his love languages? Cater to those! My husband loves a clean house. I hate cleaning, I'll just be honest here. I clean...oh how much I clean! The simple act of coming home to a clean house can draw my husband out of the foulest mood! I also cook the foods he likes and make a point of encouraging his hobbies.

4) This actually is #1 - PRAY! I pray daily for my husband, for every aspect of his life. I highly recommend The Power of a Praying Wife, by Stormie Omartian. The truth of the matter is that there will likely be times in every marriage that no amount of our own fleshly efforts will "fix" our marriage - we need divine intervention! A strong, healthy, lasting marriage is an incredible testimony of God's love, truth, grace, mercy, forgiveness....basically of who God is! In addition, that kind of marriage blesses children, friends, communities, churches....all to the glory and honor of God! It's, therefore, no wonder that Satan is attacking marriages so fiercely!

I pray that this young woman sticks it out and is richly blessed with a wonderful marriage.


At 4:47 PM , Blogger James Poteet II said…

What a great video. I think most of us face this problem in our marriage at different times. Not to the point where we are ready to give up on the marriage, but just in different ways that your spouse isn't meeting your expectations. In almost every case, the best solution is the one you described, simply focus on changing yourself, your expectations and finding a way to love your spouse even more. Thanks for the reminder.

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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