When I married Nancy, I had expectations. Some of them I knew and some were hidden and I had no idea how they would play out in my marriage. I did know in marriage that I wanted a faithful wife, a best friend, a partner in doing the things of life, someone to have fun with, a great lover, and someone to be with me in hard times. Those were important to me then and are still important. I think most of those were also important to Nancy and for the most part, we have done a pretty good job of meeting those.
Then there are the ‘other expectations’. Some of these I was totally aware of but did not verbalize. Here is one that had all kinds of implications: Nancy should meet all my needs. As I was writing these words my thoughts were, “Are you kidding?” Unfortunately, the answer was 'no'. So I would get mad when she did not want to do what I wanted her to do, when she did not want to have dinner where I wanted to have dinner, when she did not want to have sex have sex every time I wanted to have sex, or when she wasn't in a good mood. You get the idea. To say that these expectations caused problems in our marriage would be a gross understatement; they almost derailed it.
There were other expectations, like expecting her to cook like my mom and take care of me when I was sick like my mom did. I could literally go on and on. Finally, I came to a crossroads. I had a choice to make. I could keep pushing my agenda as I kept pushing her farther and farther away or I could surrender. I could raise my ‘white flag’ and lay down all my expectations before God or I could get used to living my life without Nancy. I chose to lay them down and here is what God taught me: He is the one that will meet my needs and Nancy is an added blessing in my life.
I was expecting her to meet needs she was never designed to meet. I was trying to give her God’s job. When I began to filter my expectations through God, there was an incredible difference. They became realistic and matched His plan for me and my marriage. Sure, there are times an unrealistic expectation pops up again, but I am learning to lay those down quickly and again raise the‘white flag’ as I surrender all to Him.
What about you? Think about the expectations that you have for your spouse? Are they realistic? Have you let God filter them? What do you need to lay down as you raise your ‘white flag’?