I’ll let you in on a little relationship secret: one of the biggest threats to a healthy marriage is unrealistic expectations. We’re not talking about placing your spouse on a pedestal, although that certainly isn’t a helpful move. This is buying into the myths we are told about marriage – unattainable statements that we allow to define the success or failure of our relationship. Are you using one of these myths as a yard stick?
- We’ve got this, we don’t need help
Does your church offer a marriage and relationship Bible study or discussion group? Do you and your spouse attend? Many perceive such groups as refuge for struggling or ‘at-risk’ marriages only. Nothing could be further from the truth. The reality is healthy marriages are a constant work in progress. Participating in marriage-themed Bible studies or reading blogs and articles can help you and your spouse nurture, and even strengthen an already healthy bond.
- If you loved me, you’d know
Somewhere along the way we’ve come to believe that our true love will know us inside and out. With that, we may develop the notion that our innermost desires and wants will simply be known. While it’s true that our spouses may grow to know us better than anyone else, it’s also true that our spouses are not mind readers. Don’t assume your spouse knows what is upsetting you, what you desire or what you need. Communicate it clearly.
- Marriage will make it better
Whether it’s a conflict between you and your spouse or an issue with extended family, finances, or any other concern you may have, let’s get something clear: Marriage isn’t the cure. Your expectations in this case may even exacerbate the problem. The things that were an issue before will be an issue after you walk down the aisle, unless you actively work on them.
- If we’re meant to be, our marriage will be happy
Marriage is not magic. Marriage is work. Love isn’t a panacea, it’s a choice that we make daily. Even healthy relationships have their struggles. The difference is those couples get up each day and make the choice to love one another anyway.
Challenge: What myth do you need to rethink? Spend time this week praying for authentic expectations.