In Genesis 2, it’s recorded, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Those of us who have been married a while can tell you, that “becoming one” is NOT a walk in the park, even for the best matched and most committed couples. Why is that? If you think about it, “two” becoming “one” means there’s an awful lot of flesh that needs to fall by the wayside, an awful lot of losing some parts of yourself that you’ve had with you for a very long time. If one of you is struggling with frustration from unmet expectations, or has a negative personality, that task of “becoming one” can feel like pushing a boulder uphill, against the wind. Today we’ll look at some articles that address the issue, and find hope for what might humanly seem hopeless…
Table Talk Notes
Expectations going into Marriage.
Women tend to romanticize marriage; men tend to look at it more “factually”. So women might come in with unrealistic expectations of bliss, while men might come in feeling like they are “done”, with less desire to work on the relationship to grow it and make it better. We’ll look at a few devotionals that can really help each person open that dialogue to talk about what these unsaid expectations really are.
The man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. Genesis 2:25
- Sex should be a great part of a healthy marriage, but not a “driving force”.
- Men have been conditioned by the world to not take emotional risks, so they don’t easily open up.
- Wives, let your husbands know you care about what he thinks and feels.
- Husbands learn to trust your wife with your fears, worries and hopes.\
- Pray that God gives you unconditional love for your spouse.
- Don’t ask God to “fix your spouse”—ask Him to fix you!
We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
- The first year is often the most challenging as each spouse starts to see “faults” or does not have their expectations met. Things that used to be “cute” can now become irritants (Beard trimmings)
- Having unrealistic expectations in a relationship is always trouble. Depending on your spouse to make you happy places an unrealistic burden upon them.
- Again, the attitude we have about marriage is important. It will not always be blissful—it is often hard work and sacrifice.
- Look at every interaction as an opportunity to learn more about your spouse and grow together.
- Pray for a grateful heart for all the wonderful things about your marriage relationship.
- Choose to concentrate on the positive aspects of your relationship.
- “Negative thinking can be catastrophic to marital happiness.”
- “We’re told in Philippians 4:8 to choose to think about positive things: “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—thank about such things.” The spirit behind this verse is simple—look for the blessing in the midst of the burdens so that you look at the burden in an entirely new light.”
- “Negative-thinking people do the opposite: they find the smallest burden in the midst of any blessing and wring any possible joy out of life by saying that since life is less than perfect, life really stinks.”
- Joseph Sizoo: “Live by what you have, rather than by what you do not have.”
- “…choosing to dwell on the negative, obsess over the negative, wanting everyone to know just how hard it is for you is a temptation, and we need to view it as such. It sucks the joy out of life. It tears many a marriage down.”
- “Several months ago, I started creating a Christmas present for my wife. Every day, I write down at least one thing she did that day that I’m thankful for. Since I can’t keep writing about the same thing, I’m scanning her throughout the day, looking for that positive thing I can record and write down. At Christmas, she’ll have a day-to-day record of her excellence as a wife. Guess what? Since I’ve started writing that journal, I haven’t asked God to “change” my wife even once. The reason is so simple: when I have a book that lists months-worth of things Lisa has excelled in, asking God to change anything else about her seems a bit obsessive. I realize I already have an excellent wife, far, far better than I could possibly deserve.”
“Those of you who are really angry at me right now (“How dare he diminish my pain when he has it so good!”) need to ask yourselves, “How has my negativity served me, my family, and my God in the previous years?” Has it made you feel better? Has it lessened your pain or increased your pain? Has it led to greater intimacy with others, or has it made your friends and loved ones want to leave you alone more often?”