We all want happy, loving relationships. Unfortunately, there are habits and qualities that both husbands and wives can have that will damage your marriage. I’ve written about “marriage killers” before. You might think you know them all. You can visit that post to go through my list and find out.
So why another post on something that damages marriages? Why not just add it to the old post? Because this quality is sneaking into our hearts and tearing apart more marriages than any other! It’s time to drag it out into the open and expose it.
The Expectation of Perfection
Ouch. This is one that I personally struggled with for a very long time. In fact, it almost ended my marriage. I think the expectation for perfection stems from our natural inclination to self-preservation. Simply said, we want what we want. When we don’t get it, we deal with disappointment and resentment. We each enter marriage with certain expectations. Sometimes those expectations are too high. Sorry to be blunt, but many young women confuse happiness with contentment and expect too much. Expectations teetering way too close to the expectation of perfection.
Sometimes in the middle of a hard week or an intense argument I have to slap myself with this reminder…
LIFE ISN’T PERFECT. YOUR MARRIAGE ISN’T GOING TO BE PERFECT.
The Bible tells us that while in this life we will have troubles. In fact, Paul defends his lifelong singleness in this manner:
Those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that.1 Cor. 7:28 ESV
Whoa! How’s that for an argument against marriage lol?! I can’t help but laugh! But, in reality, do we really expect and accept trouble in our marriage? No! Do we live in those moments with the realization that a struggle is okay? It doesn’t mean that we are doomed to divorce and everything is going to fall apart! I think this is where a lot of today’s women in the world get anxiety from. I believe wholeheartedly that too many women quit when in a struggle because they’ve expected far too much perfection and anything less than equates broken.
WHY IS PERFECTION IN MARRIAGE A BAD EXPECTATION?
After all, isn’t the goal to have the absolute best marriage possible?! See how best tries to become perfect? The enemy has plagued us with unrealistic expectations. He twists the truth and disguises it. Just look at the prosperity gospel. How do you know what’s truth and what’s twisted? We look at the Bible.
When we look at examples of people and their relationships in the Bible we find several less than perfect lives. Examples where their expectations were not met because God had much bigger plans.
Moses was raised in a palace by the daughter of the Pharaoh. We don’t get much context about his early days growing up in the palace but we can only imagine the expectations that come with living in a palace. The expectations were not met. In fact, he fled Egypt when they shattered to the floor with the truth of who he really was. He lived in the wilderness but God eventually called him back.
It may not have worked out like Moses expected. Things went far less than perfect. But God never left him or betrayed him. God had bigger plans for Moses. Moses obeyed God’s word and stuck with it, as hard as it was. Even when the people around him, his people, were bashing him for it. In the end, God used Moses to lead the people of Israel out of slavery, perform several out of this world amazing miracles (when’s the last time you just tapped a rock and got some Dasani coming out?), and instruct an entire nation! Moses’ expectations were not met but he didn’t give up. Neither should you. God will use it.
What’s an expectation that most newly married women have? I dare say – a baby. Well Sarah’s child bearing 20s and 30s had passed and the expectation of a baby…or 2…or 10 had gone unmet. She was definitely disappointed. So disappointed in fact that she convinced her husband to sleep with another woman so he could have a son!! Take note – it never works out well when we try to force our expectations to fruition.
Sarah had to come to terms with not having a baby and her expectations turned to being barren and childless for the rest of her life. But God has this awesome way of blowing our minds and blowing our expectations out of the water with plans we can’t even comprehend. God had a plan for her life and Sarah had her baby at 90 years old. 90!! Far different than the perfect layout of life that she had expected. But God used it. He used it to start many nations! He used it to make His name known. We need to learn to open our eyes when things don’t go as we expected and instead be expecting to see God show up in a big way. Just like He did for Sarah!
We think that our lives are so supposed to go a certain way. We make plans and let others tell us how something should go. But the Bible tells us that the Lord directs our steps. It may not go like you thought it would. Does that mean you give up? Far from it. Let’s do these two things from now on…
Lower Expectations FOR Marriage
Yes. I’m telling you you might need to lower your expectations for your marriage. Expecting everyday to be hunky dorey is going to cause unnecessary heartache in your marriage. It just amplifies trouble when struggles hit magnifies every little disappointment. Remember, those who marry will have troubles (1 Corinthians). Two different people with two different souls, minds, and hearts come together to live life as one for decades. Yes, there will be conflict.
No one can be perfect. No one can meet those perfect expectations. Let go of the little things. And trust me…most things are little. Lower your expectations. He going to have grumpy days. He’s going to screw up. He’s going to make mistakes and say words that hurt you and that he’ll regret. And guess what? You’ll do the same. But God’s mercies are new every morning and each day is a new day. Try to give as much mercy to your spouse as you yourself need from God. Let things roll of your back as the old saying goes (something to do with a duck??). Ok I’m butchering that. In other words? Cut him some slack!
How do you do that practically? Take some time this week to be aware of your expectations during the day. When something goes wrong analyze it to see how important it really is. Define how important something is based on the long term effect it will have on your marriage and not just how strongly you feel about it. I know it’s hard. I have to do it almost daily! 😉
Persevere Through the Struggles
A second way of combating the expectation of perfection is to persevere. Consciously make the heartfelt, headstrong decision that you aren’t going to quit. I love this image on Pinterest. It says, “There are five stages of love and far too many people quit in stage three.” You can see the full article here.
perseverance [ pur-suh-veer-uhns ] – steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties,obstacles, or discouragement.Dictionary.com. emphasis added by TD2H.
Persevere. There undoubtedly will be struggles. Life on this earth is broken. There are both good times and bad times in this life. Life with your man can become more than you ever hoped for. Persevere through the less than perfect and you’ll come out of the struggles stronger and more committed than ever before.
Also ask yourself this. How could God work through the unmet expectation of perfection? He’s not going to give you perfection. So don’t let that kill your marriage. Remind yourself what God did in the midst of Moses’ and Sarah’s unmet expectations. Don’t give up, because He’s got something much better than perfection in store for you. He’s got redemption in mind! 😉
There are many great expectations to have in a marriage. The expectations of loyalty, honesty, communication, and safety are all healthy and necessary. However, many wives should stop expecting perfection in their marriage and resolve to persevere through the imperfect with their husband. Don’t let the expectation of perfection hurt your relationship! Let the little things go, persevere through the struggles, and watch God work through the unmet expectations.
Have you signed up for the “Wife for the Win” marriage challenge yet? It’s a simple concept that reaps tons of benefits! 5 days, 5 emails, each with a certain area of wifing (yep, it’s a verb!) to focus on. Invest in your marriage and see the improvements throughout the week via his smile!