This post is part of the “Becoming A Better Wife” series.
One of the most fundamental problems in any marriage today is the problem of unrealistic expectations. We have unrealistic expectations for our husbands. Women all over the world are battling with the same problem, they desire to feel loved. When I first got married, I thought that I would finally feel loved and desired. I thought that all the issues from my past would melt away. Daddy problems, bam, gone. Insecurities, boom, permanently dissolved. Low self-esteem, p’wned (that is a gaming term for owned, or defeated). Loneliness, forget about it, I would never feel lonely again. But I was very wrong, and these insane expectations I thought my husband should meet put horrible stress on our marriage.
Sinful People Cannot Be Perfect
I am not saying that your husband shouldn’t cherish you, or love you the way that Christ loves the church. What I am saying is that your husband is not Jesus. Your husband could never take the place of Jesus in your heart. Not only that, but your husband is a human, made up of sinful flesh, just like you and I. That means that you cannot expect him to be perfect. Husbands make mistakes. Wives make mistakes. Jesus does not make any mistakes. Some of the most lonely moments in my life have been right next to my husband. I was lonely because I turned to my husband to help me through a situation where he did not understand how I was feeling. He could not understand. But the reason I was really lonely is because I wasn’t taking my problems to Jesus, the only One that truly understands every situation I go through. He is the only One that can love me the way I need to be loved.
My Husband Failed, Let’s Have Some Kids
A lot of times, women realize that their husband will not be able to fill this void in their life, so they decide to take the next step. Surely, having children will fill that void. It will give my life purpose and guarantee that there will be someone that loves me unconditionally. First of all, this is a huge mistake, because you are going from placing unrealistic expectations on your husband to placing them on your unborn child. Secondly, your quest to fill the void in your life will fail again and you will start to become bitter. Children of parents that expect them to be their, “everything,” will always tell you that they felt trapped and unequipped to meet the demands of this emotionally dependent parent.
The Return Of Mrs. Thirsty
Remember Mrs. Thirsty from John chapter 4? We talked about her in this post from the self-esteem series. She was looking to be satisfied, to have that same void filled in her life, but a string of unsuccessful marriages and living with her most recent boyfriend did not even come close to filling that void. She needed Jesus. He told her that if she drank the water He had, she would never thirst again. She would never feel that void again.
“but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:14
Not only would she never thirst again, but she also would have eternal life. That is an awesome deal, if you ask me.
Changing The Pattern
So how can we free ourselves, our marriages, and our children from the heavy unrealistic expectations that we place on people to give our lives meaning and make us feel loved? The short answer is, we can’t. Only Jesus can. But we have to allow Him to do this work. We need to accept that Jesus is the only One that will be able to understand everything we go through. We need to find our worth in His love for us as individuals. We need to believe God when He says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. We need to acknowledge that we have made our husband and children into idols, and put their acceptance and understanding of us above God’s acceptance and understanding of us. We need to repent, and apologize to our family members. Only when we see our pattern of sin and repent, can we have victory in our walk with God.
A Place To Start
If you are experiencing the unnecessary stress and pressure of placing unrealistic expectations on your spouse the first thing you need to do is acknowledge this pattern of behavior. The second thing to do is start a new pattern of behavior, and look to Jesus to fill this void in your life. He is the only one that can truly make you feel loved. He is the only one in your life that can heal the hurts that are still buried deep down inside of your heart. He is the only one that can satisfy the longings you have been passing onto to your husband. This is something that I had to start doing in my own, every day life. Whenever something upsetting happens, or I remember a past hurt that threatens to fill my heart with bitterness, I pray. I tell Jesus what is bothering me. I ask Him to help me see my sin, if there are any specific sins that need to be addressed regarding this issue. I ask Him to help me through this, to comfort me, and to give me His overwhelming sense of peace.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
See, it says right there, let your requests be made known to God, not to anyone else. That doesn’t mean you can’t talk to other people, like your husband, about things that are bothering you. In fact, you should frequently share with your husband, because that creates intimacy, which is God’s desire for your marriage. But you should go to God first. Your husband cannot give you that sense of peace that God can, no matter how hard he tries.
Husbands Like To Fix Things
If you do take all of your problems to your husband first, without taking them to God, you are putting your husband in a horrible position. Men like to fix things, and when their wives expect them to fix problems they are not capable of fixing, they end up in this infinite loop of frustration. This is not an equation for a happy, God-centered marriage.
How Your Husband Can Help
One of the best ways to allow God to do a work of healing from past hurts is to talk about them with and pray about them with someone you love and trust. This is a great opportunity for your husband to co-labor with you towards you being fulfilled and healed in Jesus Christ. Some husbands are great at listening and offering loving and biblical advice, but not all men are created the same (which is a good thing if you ask me). Your husband may not know how to navigate through these types of hurts, so if you need to, ask your husband to attend counseling with you. This way he can be there for you, but the pressure is off of him if he does not know how to respond, or what questions to ask you in order to move your healing process in the best direction.
Help us to be the wives that You want us to be. Help us to find our complete fulfillment in You. Help us not to thirst ever again. Help us to take these impossible burdens off of our husband’s shoulders and give them to You. You are more than capable of carrying them, and helping us get rid of them forever. Heal our broken hearts the way only You can. Help us to know that You love us, and that really is enough.
In Jesus name,
There is a lot more I could say about accepting God’s love for you and understanding you are a beautiful creation, but I think we have covered enough for today. Please feel free to write any questions or concerns you have about this post below, or email me at kristin.n.spencer [at] gmail.com.