This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
Have you ever pouted because you didn’t get your way with your husband? (Let’s be honest, who hasn’t? 🙂 ) Were you resentful because your husband didn’t have an extravagant surprise for your anniversary or maybe he accidentally forgot your birthday or didn’t wash the dishes after you cooked a nice big meal for him? Did you go through every effort to make him feel guilty when those expectations were not met?
I have to reveal a secret that, once you accept it, it will completely change your marriage.
Your husband is human. He will sin. And he will fail you as a husband every now and then.
You will fail him as a wife, too, sometimes. This is part of living in this fallen world. We are human and these things are unavoidable.
The way we handle those unmet expectations, however, is how we can make our marriages thrive.
I had unmet expectations in my marriage as well and I definitely didn’t handle them well in the beginning of our marriage. I still have unmet expectations but I’m finally learning the healthy and godly way to approach those personal issues.
Honestly, when I was first married, I never thought about what expectations I had for a husband because I didn’t witness a great relationship between my parents when I was growing up. I knew I wanted him to treat me well, but that was about it. I never thought about housework, helping with the kids, etc. You never think of those things until you experience them!
When Luke would do something, or not do something, that was unexpected, I would pout and retreat to my corner for my own little pity party, with tears rolling down my cheeks, waiting for my husband to come rescue me and apologize and say how wrong he was. And when that never happened, I became resentful.
It was an unhealthy cycle that led to arguments and more feelings being hurt. Unfortunately that was the method of coping that I learned as a child on how to deal with difficult or uncomfortable situations.
I talked about unmet expectations in another post after Luke had just returned home from his second deployment. I was harsh with him and it was completely unnecessary.
Unmet expectations can cause stress and tension between a couple and can set up some serious walls between the two as a result. This prevents so much joy from coming into your marriage! You become unaware of each other’s needs and selfishness begins to creep into your heart.
1. One thing that I would fight about constantly with Luke was him helping with the kids.
I am a stay at home mom so being home with them all day can really get to you! (If you’re a stay at home mom, you know exactly what I mean.) I would get so frustrated with Luke when he would come home and just want to sit and watch tv and not bother with the kids. I would think How could he be so selfish? I’ve been cooped up all day, I feel like I’m going insane! These are his kids, too!
I’d be dying to go for a walk as a family or even go to the grocery store together. I just wanted OUT of the house! And Luke just wanted to relax. I’d also want help changing diapers, feeding the kids, bathing the kids, reading to and putting the kids to bed, etc. (Now that I see this list I spouted off to him so often, I’m thinking no wonder it caused arguments!)
Those frustrations caused lots of disagreements between us and resentment.
Now I realize that my poor husband had been working all day and just wanted to come home and relax a little. He didn’t want to be bombarded as soon as he put his foot in the door. He needed a little transition time so he could truly enjoy his time at home for the rest of the evening.
2. Another major thing I had to learn to overcome was Luke’s passion for hunting.
During hunting season, I would become SO angry when he would be at work all day and then come home to change and then leave again for another couple of hours until it was dark to try and get a deer. And then he would hunt all day on the weekend, too, only being home for lunch. I would sit and sulk, wondering how he could want that more than being home with his wife and kids? How could he not spend any time with us? He just got home from a deployment, why on earth does he not want to spend as much time with us as possible while he’s actually home? This issue had also caused tons of arguments.
Now, I’m extremely thankful for his passion! It’s something he absolutely loves, it’s when he says he feels closest to God when he’s in that peaceful setting, and he prevents me from stopping at the meat section at the grocery store! 🙂
3. One of the biggest struggles was that he was falling short of my expectations of fulfilling my emotional needs.
I remember laying in bed one night and us having a talk because so much was built up in me. I remember unloading on him and crying saying, I want you to want to kiss me before you leave for work and as soon as you come home from work. I want you to be excited when you see me because I’m always excited to see you walk through that door after your work day. I want to feel like you want me.
As I think back to that, I know Luke probably struggled with those things because he probably didn’t feel appreciated either. His love language is physical touch and I know I wasn’t meeting those physical and emotional needs nearly as often as he probably hoped. Nursing twins made that difficult because it completely changes the hormones in your body. Physical touch is his main way to feel connected to me and he probably didn’t feel the connection. As a natural result, it was difficult for him to think of my needs and connect with me on that level.
4. I’m currently struggling with unmet spiritual expectations.
It’s difficult watching many couples in our circle of friends and family with men who are close and extremely dedicated to God, who are giving Him as much time as they can and being leaders of Christ for their families. And I’m frustrated that my husband isn’t. I so desperately want to know what a marriage feels like when both the husband and wife are pursuing God first, studying His word, and trying to live out His Will in their marriage. I know that those things in a marriage can create a whole new level of intimacy to be experienced between a husband and wife and I want to feel that with my husband.
But that isn’t fair to him!
Things like that require lots of prayer, lots of patience, lots of understanding, and lots of love. I need to quit comparing our marriage to others because it only causes disappointment and there’s absolutely no need for me to be disappointed in my marriage! God has given me more than I ever thought possible when He chose Luke to walk alongside life with me. I couldn’t be more thankful for my wonderful husband.
As his wife, my prayers for him are the most powerful. I find great comfort in this – knowing that every single prayer for my husband’s needs is lifted straight up to God. I know God has a plan for him, that His plan is best, and His timing is perfect.
–>Marriage involves a lot of work and a lot of learning about the other person and about yourself.
–>Marriage isn’t meeting halfway. It’s giving ALL YOU’VE GOT to the person you are spending your life with.
Our problems are that we as women sometimes have unrealistic expectations of romance and marriage because of today’s culture. Things feed into those expectations like romantic novels or those “perfect” sappy love story movies. We get so drawn into these romantic films and get the idea in our heads of how wonderful it would be if our husbands would do the things that man does for his wife in that extremely passionate movie. And when those expectations are unmet, we become disappointed in our husbands, frustrated, or even resentful.
These expectations get in the way of what we should be talking to God about.
I ask God daily to help lead my husband to Christ, to help him become the leader in Christ for our family that God created him to be, and that we as a married couple can have a blessed marriage and do God’s Will through our marriage.
Those are the real-life things that should be happening in your marriage. Not expecting roses in a heart shape on your bed with a bottle of champagne ready for you on Valentine’s Day. I’m not saying that wouldn’t be nice! Of course it would, but your husband cannot meet every expectation you have of him. Just like you cannot meet every expectation he has of you.
Your husband should be a warrior in Christ for your family!
The ultimate love story that you can live is not Edward and Bella (you following? 🙂 ), it’s GOD’s love story for you! That love story reflects Jesus and his bride, the church. Together, with God at the center of your marriage, the most beautiful love story truly emerges!
Once you rely on God fully to meet your every need, you will be able to have a healthy relationship with your husband and see him through God’s eyes. You’ll see him as one who will fail over and over but you will love him anyways! Embracing this reality that your husband is only human can make a huge difference in your marriage.
Jennifer Smith says it SO well in her book Unveiled Wife: Embracing Intimacy with God and Your Husband:
God is my everything, and I confidently confess that He is the only One who can ever truly fulfill and satisfy me. Having this change of heart has shaped me to look at my relationship with my husband in a different light. No longer do I fully rely on a man who is prone to failing. And disappointment has lost its grip on me. With this incredible freedom and contentment, I see my husband as God sees him – and when I see my husband as God sees him, my attitude toward him mirrors God’s as well. The entire atmosphere of our relationship becomes set according to a standard the Designer always intended.
I challenge you to take a step back and reevaluate your expectations of your husband. Figure out which ones are unimportant and which ones are. And then take the ones you are still worried about to God. He hears EVERYTHING! He wants you to come to Him with everything.
**These realizations are things that work for me and my marriage. I’m learning as I go and I hope this can help one or two of you as well! I’m far from an expert, probably as far away as you can get 😛 , but I’m learning! Marriage is all about learning about each other and learning about God’s plan for your marriage!