Oh, friends. I think I might have a PhD in this department. Unfortunately.
Get yourself some coffee or tea or wine (but not if it’s during the day and you have to drive somewhere. I don’t want to be responsible for that one) or whatever suits your fancy because we’re going to go for a short ride . . .
I grew up with a sporadic father. As I continue my Life Story next week, you’ll get more details but just for today, know there was an absence there.
My stepfather did rise-up and raise me, along with my mother, when I was twelve years old so I can’t say the position was completely void.
Yet I still somehow managed to have some pretty unrealistic expectations of what married life would be because during my most formative years, there wasn’t much of a male role model.
When we don’t have a frame of reference for something we are experiencing, we tend to “wing it.” Feel our way as we go along. Create our own mode for understanding.
I also had some daddy issues to work through but that’s another post for another time.
We are usually quite naive until we walk through something personally. When we have a frame of reference through experience, wisdom is born.
What does this have to do with having unrealistic expectations of my husband?
For many years, I expected Jason to be my own personal Jesus. I wanted him to fulfill what my heart longed for most: approval. Unconditional love. Perfection. I wanted his whole life to revolve around me and what I wanted. I hate to even type this, but my own selfishness was astounding at times.
When he didn’t meet my standards, which was never because he’s not Jesus (duh), I grew dissatisfied.
Which meant I was dissatisfied a whole lot.
And while I won’t say our struggles in the past are solely at my own hand, I will say my unrealistic expectations played a significant role.
Here’s what happens when we don’t feel like we are living up to the standards of someone we love: we get discouraged. We feel like we’re worthless and no amount of striving will ever satisfy the one who is not satisfied. We feel like there’s constant criticism and we can’t do anything right.
It’s really not a very great place to reside because the byproduct of all of this is resentment.
And resentment? It leads to some nasty stuff.
Resentment in a marriage has the power to derail and demolish, to deconstruct and depress.
Two years ago, I recognized this ugly pattern in myself and realized the only being that could fulfill what my heart longs for is God.
I naively believed Jason could fill the God-shaped hole within me – but only God can fill a God-shaped hole.
These days, I choose to love my husband for who he is today, right at this moment. I have days when I’m really good at this and days when I’m really not.
But working through our stuff is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight. We take two steps forward and two steps back – but at least we’re still ahead. We’re still in the arena, showing up each day to play the game.
If you struggle with this same thing, know you aren’t alone. Many of us have warped standards we want our husbands to live up to.
What about you? Do you find yourself expecting too much of your husband, too?
Tomorrow, we’ll talk about how we can start to rid ourselves of the expectations that can imprison the man we love the most . . . See you then!
I have begun to realized in the past few months that I do indeed place unrealistic expectations on my husband. After 22 years of marriage, we are still a work in progress…but we are still working together. Thanks for always being so open and honest, Natalie.
Oh I think this marriage thing is a lifelong process of learning, don’t you? I’m not sure it matters how long you’ve been married – the same stuff rears it’s head.
You nailed it – we, as people, are a work in progress so it makes sense that our marriages would be works in progress as well.
Thanks for reading and commenting, Jen!
I just had a conversation about this very thing, last night with my own husband. I appologized to him for putting so much expectations on his shoulders. He has so much dissappoinment for himself already from growing up with an alcoholic father, I made it worse! Oh the baggage we bring into marriages. But I don’t think I ever would have seen this in myself without having been seeking the holes in myself with the Lord’s help.
YES. I agree with this, Teelier. I think the “higher up, deeper in” we go in our walk, we begin to see our own sin so much more clearly. And while this doesn’t sound very desirable (I mean, who would ever want to be a part of something that points out how awful you are?) the process of addressing our own sin actually leads to more freedom. Twisted but true.
Thanks for reading and commenting, Teelier!
I totally agree! It is a fine line between expecting too much and “iron sharpening iron”. Sometimes I use that excuse……”I want you to be the best you can be….blah blah blah” It means, Do it my way. My way is right. HA. I have purposely made some days “no picking on B days” Where I am not allowed to let anything negative come out of my mouth to him or ABOUT him……..it takes LOTS of work.
You are right. Everyone struggles with this. But showing up and trying to do better is what counts!
Amen, Sister!!! This got me into so much trouble in the beginning of our marriage. I tried to force my husband to be my idea of a husband rather than let him be the husband that God gifted to me. I was trying to chisel him into my own version of a husband rather than let him be himself. Our husbands are gifts from God and we must learn to treat them that way. Many thanks for your openness & honesty. Unrealistic expectations are so important to address in a marriage!
Yep, agree completely, Mary Elisa!
It took me a while to learn this as well. Thanks for reading and commenting!!
Valerie Mondesir Alarcon. Compromise And Lower Your Standards.