Remember as a child how you hoped for that one special Christmas present? Maybe after opening some great presents, but not the just-right one, you felt a little tug on your heart as you wondered if you were going to get that present. Me too. Just as it seemed all the presents had been opened, my parents brought out one final box. I grabbed it with eagerness. The lavish wrapping and the sounds I heard while shaking the box confirmed this had to be the one. I ripped off the paper, dug into the box, and pulled out…a very nice sweater, not the just-right Christmas gift. I smiled and said thank you, but could barely hide my disappointment
Have you ever noticed how our expectations of our husbands or wives can often be like our expectations over the just-right Christmas present. I think that's true for a lot of us. Just like we admired the beautiful holiday wrapping, we admire our husband's handsome exterior.... your wives beauty. We've checked him or her out enough to be sure that they'll be the one to make us happy. Certainly they're the just-right one! When the gift of our husband or wife turns out to be not just-right, not just what we expected, we can barely hide our disappointment. We turn to unhelpful coping mechanisms to deal with our disappointment.
We might try to control and manipulate our spouse to become the just-right gift we hoped for. Maybe we become critical and judgmental. Or maybe we just give up, withdraw, and settle for an empty marriage. Worse yet, perhaps we grow convinced we married the wrong person.
These ways of coping will not give us the marriage God longs for us to have, a marriage of intimacy, partnership and closeness like no other. In fact, they do just the opposite. Bitterness, frustration and anger take root in our heart. Consequently, instead of feeling united and close to our spouse, we experience distance and disconnection
So what's one to do when feeling like you got the not-just-right husband or wife? How can we handle expectations and disappointments in marriage?
We lay them down. We open our hands and release our spouse from the tight grip of our expectations. We pray with honesty, "Lord, I am feeling disappointed by my husband/wife. Help me handle this in a way that will be best for our marriage and in way that will please You."
As we seek the Lord with an open heart, He'll show us when to talk to our spouse about a disappointing situation, or when to be quiet. He'll mold our heart, so we can pour out His love and acceptance to our husband or wife.
Now, sometimes you may think, But wait a minute! My husband/wife really does need to change…they should be more attentive, they should help out more, he should have remembered my birthday.... she should give me more respect. Who would want to live with these disappointments?
Maybe our husband should change, and maybe he will. Maybe your wife should change... maybe she will. I can promise you, however, that the Holy Spirit can do a greater work of transformation in our spouse than we ever could!
This New Year give your spouse the gift of releasing them from your expectations. Give yourself the gift of a contented heart in your marriage. And give God thanks for your husband or wife … His just-right present to you.
Dear Lord, I release my husband and my marriage from all of my expectations. As I pray with an open heart and open hands, Lord, I thank You for the gift of my husband. Help me to view him as You do, as the just-right husband for me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
hugs.... love... & Blessings,
**"Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:31,32**