To the wife with high expectations,
Just kidding, I am writing this to myself, but feel free to join me if this is something you struggle with. I expect a lot. I have an idea in my mind of what I want and I hold on dearly to it. Maybe my imagination gets the best of me most days, but I really want a marriage that is full of romance and adventure. I want to be pursued and cherished and I want to be loved beyond all reason. Did you notice how many times the word “I” was used in those past few sentences?
Let’s get the most important and obvious thing out of the way first: I am loved beyond all reason by God, and have all I need in Him. Expecting that from my spouse is kind of asking a lot. Still, we all have a need to feel loved by those with skin on. But maybe it’s more about giving than receiving.
I was doing the dishes and listening to my music shuffling on the speakers in the kitchen. The song, “Unconditionally” came on, by Katy Perry. Now, far be it from me to attach biblical truths to pop songs on the radio, but this song sort of hit me hard. I know, that sounds kind of cheesy, but this is why. She wasn’t singing her heart out about being loved unconditionally. She was singing about loving unconditionally. I stood there with tears falling into the soapy sink and I swear I heard my selfish expectations clinking onto the floor.
I’ll take the bad days with your good, walk through the storm I would…I do it all because I love you…I love you…
I felt a thought settle softly into my mind as I scrubbed that plate. I can only control half of this equation. I can’t expect some specific kind display of affection that measures up to my wants, and then complain when it doesn’t happen. Maybe my husband has his own unspoken hopes of being loved a certain way. Maybe I am a bit too self-focused. Maybe I expect more than I offer.
All your insecurities, all your dirty laundry, never made me blink one time…I will love you unconditionally…
Instead of looking at my needs, which are full of comparisons, expectations, and imaginations, I could stand to take a little bit of time and think of what my husband might appreciate. It’s easy to sulk because I am not being serenaded outside our bedroom window, but hey, I can sing too.
When you feel frustrated that things are not what you ever imagined them to be, try to remember that expecting too much will always leave longing for more. William Shakespeare told us, “Expectation is the root of all heartache.” He wasn’t kidding.
So here is an idea. Turn that heartache around and love without reserve. Love him with no strings attached. Love him for who he is today. Love him for who he was, and for who God is making him to be. Start saying “You” more than “I.”
I can love my husband unconditionally and freely, because I am already loved this way by my Lord. What I need, I have. So I give as best I can, be it only in my human strength. Whatever is lacking will be made up for and more.
“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” —Matthew 7:12