I have said in a previous post that when Frank and I were dating we spent A LOT of time together. And we did. I, like many of you, also had on my "love blinders". There wasn't really a whole lot that Frank did in the beginning that I didn't like. Or that got on my nerves. Everything was wonderful. He was kind, thoughtful, and made me feel like I was his only priority. And I listened and didn't nag or argue with him. I laughed at all of his jokes. We just loved to be around each other.
It's funny how things change after many years of being together. Our spouses have done such a good job of meeting our needs and making us happy. But having that kind of expectation will only lead to disappointment and frustration. The more expectations that I have on my spouse, the more likely they are to fail.
Remember how I said before that for a long time I looked to Frank to determine my attitude and my happiness? Can I just tell you that made for some miserable times. That is not the way that God intended marriage to work. Did I forget to mention that I also expected him to read my mind the majority of the time? I thought all men were capable of doing that! I quickly learned that they couldn't. And when he did not, I ended up being very hurt.
We have to decide to let encouragement overrule our expectations. Love focuses on personal responsibility and self-improvement, not what someone else can do for us.
Maybe you think that all (or most) of your expectations are reasonable and legitimate. This is not really your problem but your spouse's problem. You don't think that you are perfect by any means, but you should still be able to speak your mind. The problem with this is that not very many of us can respond to criticism and be objective at the same time. Rather than causing you to want to change, criticism only makes you (ME) want to put my foot down, stand my ground.
I Thessalonians 5:11 tells us to Encourage one another and build up one another...
Don't you want your marriage to be a place where when you fail there is someone there to help you up and not make you feel worse for failing? I do. And so does your spouse. When we make a committment to be encouragers to our spouse, we are helping them to reach their full potential in Christ!
My challenge today is to THINK OF AN AREA WHERE YOUR SPOUSE HAS TOLD YOU YOU'RE EXPECTING TOO MUCH AND TELL THEM YOU ARE SORRY FOR BEING SO HARD ON THEM ABOUT IT. PROMISE THEM YOU WILL SEEK TO UNDERSTAND AND ASSURE THEM OF YOUR UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.
Well, I had to ask him because I think that we have really turned a corner in this department. We have had many many discussions about this very thing. Usually it is coming from the other direction (me telling him his expectations are too high) but I have given him a list of things that I would like to see change too. Thank goodness his answer was that he didn't feel like I had unrealistic expectations of him. Although, I do think that from time to time we all do. Maybe not consistently, but sometimes. We just need to remember that we are all human and make mistakes. And we need to be there for each other. Help each other up. Not add more guilt or shame for falling.