Our dates were filled with romance, gifts, and fun. Our wedding was wrapped with beauty, joy, and hope. The honeymoon took my breath away.

After a few months, we settled into a romantic routine.

With school, the jobs, and other responsibilities, beauty faded, joy ached, and hope retreated.

“This man has changed,” I told God. “God, did I misunderstand You? Is Keith really the man You prepared for me? Is this all there is to marriage?”

I expected more from my marriage. From our love. From Keith.

I had wrapped our marriage in perfectly arranged wrapping paper. The wrappings were now crumpled and torn.

Although I had seen the ups and downs of my parents’ marriage and the marriages of others, I expected only the high points, the delights, the neatly wrapped romance.

“Marriage brings you into more intense proximity to another human being than any other relationship can. Therefore, the moment you marry someone, you and your spouse begin to change in profound ways, and you can’t know ahead of time what those changes will be” (Timothy and Kathy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage, p. 33).

Change marks the Christian walk and the Christian marriage.

Change marked Sarai and Abram’s marriage.

Sarai and Abram enjoyed a beautifully wrapped life in Ur of the Chaldees. Then Abram’s father, Terah, gathered up the family and moved them all to Haran in the land of Canaan. After Terah died, God told Abram to take his family and possessions and travel to a land that God would show him.

Imagine Sarai’s confusion. Perplexed might be an understatement.

She married this man, Abram. They settled in Ur, but her father-in-law moved the entire family. She expected babies, but there were no babies. She worshiped idols, but a strange God told Abram to take everyone to an unidentified land, Genesis 12:1. They traveled to Egypt, and Abram asked her to tell others that she was his sister (she was his half-sister AND his wife). The king took her into his harem with no resistance from Abram. God took care of Sarai when Abram didn’t and restored her to Abram.

God promised a son to Sarai. They waited and waited. “Maybe Abram misunderstood God.” She gave her slave, Hagar, to Abram, so that she could have a son by Hagar.

Sarai’s marriage was filled with unmet expectations and questions.

Is your marriage filled with unmet expectations and questions?

Like Paul, we can rejoice that even though we are pressed on every side by troubles, we are not crushed (2 Corinthians 4:8).

We have the strength of God holding and molding our marriage.

“This is the secret – that the gospel of Jesus and marriage explain one another. That when God invented marriage, he already had the saving work of Jesus in mind” (Timothy and Kathy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage, p.43).

What if we looked at our marriages as a picture of the saving work of Jesus? What if we shifted our focus from our expectations onto God’s expectations?

As a mother expects her daughter to disobey her at times, God expects that His children will make wrong choices and disobey. The mother corrects, and God corrects. Why? Because we love our daughter, and God loves us.

5 “Whys” of Unmet Expectations in Marriage

  1. We all stumble in many ways (James 3:2a). We make many mistakes, whether intentional or unintentional. Both husband and wife stumble. What if we looked at each other from God’s perspective? He gave us to our husbands to be partners, helping them in what God gave them to do. They especially need us to help pick them up and sometimes carry them when they fall. How can we partner with our husbands today to help prevent them from falling?
  2. Our treasure is misplaced. Jesus said that where our treasure is our heart is there, Matthew 6:21. Is my heart treasuring what I want to get out of this marriage? What if my heart was set on supporting and blessing my husband when I get a glimpse of how God sees him?
  3. We have earthy eyes. We understand our husbands by what they say and do. David wrote that God formed our inward parts, Psalm 139:13-14. Can you picture God lovingly forming your husband? God could have spoken Adam into existence, but He formed him as a potter who takes the clay and forms a beautiful vase. What if we looked at our husbands as God’s work of art?
  4. We want to be served. Jesus said that He came not to be served but to serve, Matthew 20:28. Am I focused on serving my husband? Gladly doing the dirty work of a servant? There is a special blessing for those who serve others in humility. That includes our husbands. Let’s ask ourselves how we can serve our husbands today with a deeply humble spirit.
  5. We think of love as a feeling. The love that Jesus gave was intentional. His love caused Jesus to give His life for His friends (you and me), John 15:13. Love gives itself away for the sake of friends. List the characteristics of the friendships you have. We must ask ourselves how we display those attributes in our relationship with our husband.

Refocusing to see our husbands through God’s eyes answers the perplexing “whys” of unmet expectations.

Father in heaven, thank You for our husbands. Help us to see them through Your holy eyes. At times, we are perplexed by the man you gave us to walk through this life with. We did not expect the challenges that we have faced. We misunderstood how we are called to love them and support them. We wanted them to fulfill us rather than for us to empty ourselves in lovingkindess. We thought that the infatuation that we had before we were married would continue, and we thought that feeling was love. We want to love as Jesus loved. Help us, Lord. We can’t do this without You. We want to love our husbands deeply and honor You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

How have you dealt with unmet expectations in your marriage?

Please share.

Photo by OSPAN ALI on Unsplash

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