Marriage is tough. It’s tough to keep communication open and vulnerable. It’s tough to keep the romantic fire “lit.” It’s tough to carve out quality time together and to prioritize one another’s needs. But it becomes even tougher when one or both parties come into the marriage relationship with prior expectations.
There are many reasons why we might have preconceived expectations of our spouses. Maybe we envisioned the relationship more in a fairytale-like manner because of what books, TV, and movies show us love is about. Or maybe we grew up in a home where we were treated in a certain manner, and so we expect our spouse to treat us in the same manner. Maybe, just maybe, prior relationships – whether dating, marital, or sexual have caused us to have preconceived expectations of our spouse.
It’s not fair to anyone to try and conform someone else. It’s not fair to push and pull on someone trying to get them to be who we want them to be. It’s not right and it will only harm our marriages.
When expectations are brought into the marriage relationship, it can cause a lot of pain and heartache. It causes pain to the person with the expectations because they are lost – not understanding why the other person isn’t in agreement. It causes pain to the person the expectations are required from, because they feel as if they have done nothing wrong and just want to be accepted and loved for who they are.
I think it’s important to understand that there is always room for compromise. But when that’s not possible, (or likely,) both parties need to love one another enough to lay the issue at the Lord’s feet in order for their marriage to continue to be able to thrive.
Nothing is so important that it should dissolve an otherwise healthy and loving marriage relationship because most of the issues and expectations involve pride on our own part. And if they don’t, then we don’t need to despair. We can still believe in the possibilities of our future and pray that either God will change our heart and help us accept where we are, or that He will flourish and bless our desires and intent in marriage by trumping them with something far better.
There are certain expectations that are God-honoring such as respect, gentleness, kindness, honesty, faithfulness, etc. But when the expectations we bring into married life involve other issues – we need to really evaluate our hearts and decide what is more important; our wishes or a happy, thriving marriage relationship?