Building a Blessed Marriage Part 1

Building a Blessed Marriage
Part 1: Dealing with False Expectations

In my years of pastoral counselling and preparing couples for marriage, along with my own experience of life, I have come to understand the incredible power of expectations.  Especially unmet and unrealistic expectations.  When it comes to marriage, we live in a culture that promises us fairy tale marriages.  When you find “the one,” your life will live happily ever after.  
False expectations come from myths.  When we believe something is true, then we expect it to come to pass.  Misconceptions breed false expectations which breed difficulty in marriage.  If we can correct the misconceptions and myths, it helps bring our expectations for our marriage back into a place where we can experience greater joy and life in our marriage.

So what are some of the common misconceptions?  Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott, in their book Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts, identify four:

  • We want the same things from marriage
  • All the good things in our relationship will get better with marriage
  • All the bad things in my life will go away when I get married
  • My spouse will complete me

Sound familiar?  These misconceptions abound in our culture, from television and movies to conversations with friends, these myths are powerfully present.

When it comes to these assumptions and myths, we need to do three things.

First, recognize them in yourself.  You’ll recognize them in your spouse, too, but your primary focus needs to be yourself.   What do you want from marriage?  What things do you expect your spouse to make better or get rid of in your life?  How much do you expect your spouse to bring you a sense of wholeness?  

Second, talk to your spouse!  Especially when it comes to what you want from marriage, it is so helpful to be able to articulate that to your spouse and to hear from them what they want.  From there, you will likely need to negotiate and come to some common ground where you want things that don’t fit together.

Finally, recognize that you cannot expect your spouse to transform your life.  There is only one person who can truly transform you: Jesus.  To expect your spouse to do for you what only Jesus can is unrealistic and ultimately futile.  It not only won’t ever work, but will leave you frustrated, hurt, and disillusioned.

Building a strong marriage begins with building on a strong foundation of truth and proper expectations.  So a good first step is to recognize and deal with the power of false expectations.  Give it a try and see what kind of difference it makes!

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