Expectations in Marriage

As we live our lives as Christian women, I truly believe that expectations can be something that steals much of our joy. When I look back in my marriage, it’s easy to see when expectations have turned into disappointments. So many times Karl and I argued because my expectations for him that didn’t match his expectations of himself. Or I simply never told him that I expected him to act this way. Let’s look at five unfair expectations that we all tend to put on our husbands.

I never thought I had very many expectations for who my perfect husband would be before I met Karl, but boy was I wrong. I wanted my future husband to love cats and I wanted him to read books with me. I dreamt of my ‘perfect life’ as the both of us sat in bed reading amazing books while snuggling with our amazing cat, but for my actual marriage, this is impossible. My actual husband, Karl, is very allergic to cats and really doesn’t enjoy reading at all. And I know these are all trivial things, but even those smallest expectations can add up. Because to be honest, a part of me still wants to get a cat. So here we go with some of the most troublesome expectations in marriage…

Expectation 1: He knows what I’m thinking

We had soup for dinner last night and it was amazing. I thankfully had all the ingredients and it turned out wonderfully. After dinner, we sat on the couch to watch some TV and before we knew it, it was time for bed. And so we went to sleep peacefully that night and I woke up excited to have the leftover chicken noodle soup (that was for sure in the fridge) for dinner again today. So I got up and went to my kitchen to make myself some coffee and there was the stockpot, sitting in the same place that I left it last night. At least two meals now completely ruined. So I did what any ‘normal’ person would do. I sat on my kitchen floor and cried. I cried over my wasted soup and then I got mad at Karl for forgetting it.

I told him the night before to remind me to put it away and unsurprisingly we both forgot about it. But as much as I hoped it was, it wasn’t Karl’s fault. Reminding me of things has never been his strong suit and that’s ok. But it wasn’t ok that I got mad at him for it. It’s not ok for me to put my overzealous expectations on him when he has specifically told me that he isn’t good at reminding me about things.

So as I sat there over-reacting on my kitchen floor I was reminded that he is different than me. His brain is not my brain and they are not the same. And instead of getting mad over those differences we can humbly submit ourselves to God’s will for marriage. Instead of being the same, we are both differently and uniquely made by God to complement one another.

Expectation 2: He is as tidy as I am

As a wife, I think that this can be particularly difficult. My main job as a stay at home wife is to take care of the house and to create a loving environment for my family. And I love this job and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world, but sometimes my expectations in this area steal my joy. I let the ‘stress’ of a messy house come in front of being with my family. I can get my priorities mixed up sometimes. My priority shouldn’t be my house first and then my husband. It should be my husband and then my house. Because let’s be honest with each other- Most men don’t care if there are dishes in the sink, while for most women it would add stress to our lives. I know for me personally right now there aren’t any dirty dishes at my house and I love it, while Karl wouldn’t even think about it.

So let’s stop comparing our apartments/ houses to a Home & Gardens magazine or The Magnolia Journal because those houses don’t even look like that in real life.

Expectation 3: He is the perfect husband

Our pride often makes us forget our own shortcomings. So often we pick out the speck in our brother’s eye and excuse the log in our own. Many times I’ve done this with Karl. “Do unto others as you would want them to do to you.” That easy to forget. We expect everyone else to be perfect and give ourselves the day off. Or we blame our hormones…. this one is one that I struggle with. That time of the month is often my excuse for when I am particularly angry or short-tempered. And I give myself grace for acting this way, but do I give Karl that same amount of grace? Often not. So instead of blaming our out of whack hormones and continuing to be annoyed, let’s all go to God humbly and pray. Because when we keep our eyes on Jesus in prayer it can drastically change our feelings. Let’s not forget that our husband is a sinner, just like we are. We have bad days and so do they. As women let’s work on giving our husbands grace and being a Christ-like example in his life. We are a sinner and we married a sinner.

Expectation 4: He will be a spiritual leader automatically

This is one in of itself is not a bad expectation, but how we act on it can change things. In the Bible, God commands the husband to be the leader, both spiritually and in everyday life. 1“Let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband’. But just like us, they are not perfect. Just as we grow in submission and a gentle spirit, hopefully, God willing they will grow in leadership and strength. We shouldn’t expect them to live like an older believer, but we can and are commanded to encourage them. We should encourage them to be all that they can be and we need to believe in them. Prayerfully ask God how you can encourage your husband, today and get creative. If your husband doesn’t want to read with you then listen to sermons together and talk. Talk to him about spiritual matters- ask him questions that you don’t know the answer to. And most importantly, be kind and gentle. “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger..”

Expectation 5: He will always be there for me

This expectation is the most dangerous of all. As we’ve seen our husbands are not perfect, they are not always by our side, and they are often going to make mistakes. In our hearts, we must not put our husband in the place that only Jesus should occupy. Jesus should be the one we turn to first, not our husbands. Jesus should be our comforter, protector, and most importantly our God. Making our husband an idol is very easy to do. When we expect things from our husbands that we should only expect from God, then something is wrong. We are no longer looking to God to fill our needs.

While our husbands might not always be there for us, we do have someone who will never disappoint. God is perfect and he will never fail us or forsake us. He will always be there for us and will always protect us. And unlike our husbands, God always knows what we’re thinking. He knows and cares. Everywhere in the Bible, we see God taking care of His children. While we think our lives are crazy and out of control, we can trust in the one who has it all under control. He sees every “out of control” circumstance and is using that to mold us and shape us into the Christian women that we are supposed to be.

So let’s take the pressure off our husbands and lean on God who wants us to rely on Him. “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord”. 2

When we build up our expectations, it ruins our ability to honor what’s right in front of us.

Redeemed by the King

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  1. Ephesians 5:33
  2. Jeremiah 17:7

Thoughts?