Dreams, Desires and Expectations

Dreams, Desires and Expectations …

We all approach marriage with a picture of what it is suppose to be like

We dream and imagine:

  • I imagine, we will live in big old house.
  • I imagine, we will drive a nice new car.
  • I imagine, How we will manage our spend our time together.
  • I imagine, How Christmas will be, just the two of us or with family, mom, dad or maybe with our friends.
  • I imagine where we go on vacation and many times a year we will take vacation.

Then somewhere between ‘I do’ and the honeymoon, or within the first week, or the first year these dreams and desires become expectations. They then hold their spouse responsible these expectations. You said we would live in a big old one of these. When is it going to happen? You said we would spend lots of time together. When is that going to happen? You promised we would go on vacation, “are we there yet”?

When you dump expectations on your spouse and they dump their expectations on you the relationship begins to erode.

Then when the neither of you are meeting the other persons expectations you start considering your options.

The first option is to LEAVE. You say to yourself, “this is not what I thought it would be”. You just move on and go find someone else to dump your expectations on. That is way a lot of 2nd marriages look just like the 1st marriage.

The second option is to CONQUER. You try to make our spouse see things your way. Through manipulation you try to get your spouse to do what you want them to do.

The third option is to CONFORM. I’ll just give up and do what they want. This may work for a little while but eventually it stops working, because it is very hard to be someone else. It is easy for me to be me. I don’t have to wake up in the morning and tell myself. “Be me, be me, remember to be me”. Being me come naturally, being what someone else wants you to be is a very hard thing to do.

The fourth option is to COMPROMISE. I’ll do this if you do that. This work for a while, but understand that compromise is still all about me. “I will as long as you will”. A Compromise relationship is score keeping game, “didn’t we do it your way last time?” It kills the intimacy and the romance in a relationship.

All four of these options will transform your marriage from a covenant relationship into a debt / debtor relationship. This is because of what expectations communicates: ‘You Owe ME’

These maybe very real expectations but they ultimately lead to disappointment.

  • I didn’t get what I deserve
  • You didn’t deliver what you owe me

Eventually you begin to move into a bargaining approach in order to manage expectations, but this impedes our ability to love. An expectation is a demand for something, while love is a free gift of something. We end up in a tug-of-war, and this will destroy intimacy and romance in the marriage.

Everyone is born with desires!

  • We desire to be cherished.
  • We desire companionship
  • We desire acceptance

When you take a legitimate desire and place it on the shoulders of your spouse it feels like an expectation.

Then … when they succeed in giving you what you want are you grateful? Not at all! They just met the minimum requirements. Congratulations … you made it up to ‘ZERO’. They receive no value or self worth for doing what was expected of them.

We have learned that …

Wives are supposed to keep the house straight. Husbands are supposed to be the providers. This transfer is what turns the relationship from a covenant into a contract.

There goes the love. Bring out the gloves because the battle is on.

How do you take an expectation and put it back in the category of a desire? How to get big old capitol ‘ I ‘ out of the middle of the relationship?

To do this you will have to answer one question: “What does your spouse owe you?”

The answer to that question will determine whether you have a debt / debtor marriage relationship or not.

The things that might stop you from doing this:

  • I am afraid he / she will won’t …
  • I may not get what I want or what I need …
  • I may not be happy with …

How do you take an expectation and put it back in the category of a desire? How to get big old capitol ‘ I ‘ out of the middle of the relationship?

The answer to this question “What does your spouse owe you?” is, “Nothing”. They do not owe me anything.

By applying the answer … they do not owe me anything, does mean that there is a free card to do whatever they want. Understand that we still need to have integrity, principles, and God honoring standards in our life.

But the only way to get everything out of the expectation box and back into the desire box is to conclude that your spouse does not owe you anything.

This is the essence of a God honoring marriage. You must have a mutual submission to achieve this.

Ephesians 5:21 “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ”

What does this mean to submit? Submission is putting the priority of the needs, desires, and dreams of someone else above yours.

It does not say out of reverence for someone else, but rather out of reverence for Christ.

We are to express our gratitude towards God … through how we treatment the person we married.

Think about this for a minute. It is like going up to God and saying, “God, How can I say Thank you Lord for all that you have done for me? You have forgiven me, and you have blessed me. What can I do to show you how much I am thankful for all you have done for me?

God says, “Take what I have done for you and go do the same for your spouse, not for their sake but for my sake.”

God wants us to be a vessel through which He can pour out His love on our spouse.

Paul tells us, “wives submit to your husband’s as to the Lord.”

Put your husband first as you put the Lord first.

Place your husband needs, wishes and desires before yours.

Ladies … you may push back because he doesn’t deserve it. But that is the point, he doesn’t deserve it.

For the Men, Paul tells us, “Husbands love your wives, just as Christ loves the church and gave up His life for her.”

Men, … Our wives should feel as if we would lay down our lives in order to protect them emotionally, physically, and financially. You may say, “But she does not deserve it”. That’s the point.

So how do we do this? You cannot unconditionally love your spouse until you decide … that your spouse does not owe you anything, and you owe them everything.

By deciding that your spouse does not owe you anything, you will be able to show them unconditional love. If require any expectation at all then your love is conditional. We will fall back into that debt / debtor relationship. And In a debt / debtor relationship there not room for … or any possibility for … unconditional love.

Let’s look at how we can answers that question:

1 Peter 5:5-7

Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you clothe yourself with humility towards one another, because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourself, therefore, under God’s might hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you.

Peter tells us that God opposes or resist the proud, but He give grace to the humble.

What does this look like? Earlier we looked at the four option of doing things on your own: leave, conquer, conform or compromise.

When you decide to do things on your own God says, “go for it, do the best you can, but I cannot be involved with that because I oppose the proud”.

However, God gives grace to the humble. When you humble yourself according to the Word of God, He rolls up his shelves and say, “Yah, I am all about that”, because He gives grace to the humble.

He gives the humble what they need in that moment, for the moment. He does not make unreasonable demands on us. He gives the ability to do what we need to do, when we need to do it.

When peter gives this Old Testament command, “to humble yourself under God’s Might hand”, it declaring your dependency on God. Simple telling God you need him.

God says, “to cast your cares (anxieties /concerns / fears / needs) on Him.

God is saying, “Unload on Me”! No need to be polite. Vent. Dump all you cares on Him.

Why does God want you to cast all your cares (anxieties /concerns / fears / needs) on Him? Because He cares for you.

Cast your cares on Him because He cares for you. Even if they don’t seem to matter to your spouse, they matter to God, because God cares about you.

How does this look in the home. Before Sherry and I were able to get our heart wrapped around this we had some expectations in the marriage.

If Sherry would come home from work and see dirty dishes in the sink she would put her purse on the table and walk straight to the sink and start doing dishes. You could feel the tension in the air. I would not dare say anything because I knew it wasn’t going to pretty. Eventually things would get back to normal.

I love to cook. I would know when Sherry would get off work so I would work fix a nice supper and have everything on the table and ready for when she would get home. But those nights that she ran late because she stopped to talk with a friend or dropped off a product for someone would upset me. After a while I would just put everything away and even leave dirty dishes in the sink.

This is just a couple of examples of how we would dump our expectations on each other. These are examples of a conditional love.

Now we have released each other from having to live under the weight of expectations. This has given us the freedom to live a wonderfully blessed and loving marriage relationship. It has also filled me with the desire to make sure there are no dirty dishes in the sink, because it is not a requirement but my heart’s desire to try to obtain her dreams and wishes. Sherry does the same for me.

When both spouses are able to do what they can to accomplish this task of humbling themselves as unto the Lord … life becomes a happy, loving relationship full of intimacy and romance. This is the unconditional love that comes from God.

This is what I have learned:

  • Even the best intention of a marriage relationship will have a negative effect if you load your spouse up with your expectations.
  • God opposes the proud. When a marriage relationship is controlled by: leave, conquer, conform or compromise, in short a debt / debtor relationship, God cannot be involved.
  • God gives grace to the humble. Only by humbling yourself and removing all expectations for God’s sake will God be able to give you the grace needed for the time at the time.
  • Imagine what it would be like to be on the receiving end of the unconditional love from your spouse.
  • Now image what it would be like to when both spouses were humbling themselves and implementing this unconditional love towards one another.

___________________________________________

This is a condensed overview of Andy Stanley’s “iMarriage” series.  The following are the links to the full videos, given by Andy Stanley.

iMarriage by Andy Stanley – Full Episodes:

iMARRIAGE 1 “Keeping My I On You”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8odUZzmqfnY

iMARRIAGE 2 “Putting Your I Out”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpD_V8-hrSk

iMARRIAGE 3 “Putting Your I Out”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvrBNA_30VM

 

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