One of the things that married couples learn in counseling that is helpful is to lower their expectations. Women will read romance novels and watch hallmark movies. Men look at models and sometimes even pornography. Women and men get a sense that everything has to be perfect. And usually perfection is doing things his or her way. That is not real life. The couple will get together at the end of the story, does not show the hard work that goes into a relationship.
I have heard over and over again that marriage has to be a 50/50 proposition. But in reality, 100% has to be given. The second we expect our needs to be met by our spouse, we set ourselves up for disappointment. Marriage is 100% giving to the other person. The Bible says to love our neighbor. Our spouse is our closest neighbor.
It is not our responsibility to inform our spouse what God wants he or she ought to do. That is nagging. God will work on the spouse and us, as he sees fit. But it is our responsibility to be obedient to God regardless of what our spouse does or doesn’t do.
Many people live in a constant disappointment because their marriage isn’t what they think it should be. Many people live in disappointment because life isn’t either. They live their life sad, depressed and some even as martyrs. I have even heard it said that some may be addicted to that disappointment.
Instead of looking at what your spouse is doing or not doing that is negative, start looking at what they are doing right. Sometimes when we focus on the negative, we never see the positive. Just as parents can reinforce good behavior of a child, we can reinforce good actions of our spouse. As they hear what they are doing right, they will continue to do those things to receive our pleasure.
When we lower our expectation, then when our spouse does something that we like, we can rejoice and praise God. If there is something that needs to be addressed and you don’t have the relationship to be able to talk it over, take it to God. God can work in the spouse if you give it to Him. And when the prayer is answered you know it is from God. Now that is exciting.
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