Day 27: Eliminate the poison of unrealistic expectations in your home. Think of one area where your spouse has told you you're expecting too much, and tell them you're sorry for being so hard on them about it. Promise them you'll seek to understand, and assure them of your unconditional love.
Unrealistic expectations can kill a marriage.
I really believe that.
Matt and I have been married for twelve years, and I have had so many unrealistic expectations of him during that time. Let's see...I've expected him to not fall asleep at night when we haven't settled an argument (even though he's been up since the crack of dawn, to provide for me, and will be getting up in just a few more hours), and I've expected him to come home energized and ready to play after a hard day's work (and a sleepless night because his wife wouldn't let him sleep because an argument hadn't been settled)!
I think the biggest expectation I've had of Matt has been for him to just know what I'm thinking. I can't count how many times I've said to him, "I shouldn't have to tell you that...you should just know." Well the good news is this...just because Matthew McConaughey, Tom Cruise and Hugh Grant appear to know what their women are thinking at all times doesn't mean that my real life Matt knows anything that I'm thinking. I say that is good news because all three of those actors irritate me to no end. The more time I spend with my real life man, the less intrigued and even put off I am by someone else's fantasy of what true love is.
Matt and I are attending training to become foster parents. Our trainer told us a story about a time she was doing a routine home visit with a foster family. The mom was washing dishes at the kitchen sink, and the little boy, Mikey, was sitting in the kitchen near her. Mikey said, "I sure do like licorice." The mom said nothing. Mikey again said, "Yep...I think licorice is great." At this point the social worker was thinking to herself, "C'mon mom...give the kid some licorice already." Mikey piped up one more time, "I really like that licorice." It was then that mom said, "Mikey, in this house it's ok to just ask for what you want." Mikey asked for the licorice, and was given some. Mikey had learned a form of manipulation which he was using to attempt to get what he wanted. It stemmed from an insecurity of not having needs or desires met, cared about or even acknowledged. It's hard to ask for something when you are pretty sure the answer will be negative...or worse yet, the question not even heard.
I can relate to Mikey in this scenario, and I have also used manipulation many times with Matt. We finally came to a point where Matt told me, "I wish you would just tell me what you are thinking rather than try to make me figure it out. I will do anything for you." It's the "I will do anything for you," part that is hard for a girl, mistreated by and abandoned by her daddy, to believe. But, it's the "I will do anything for you," part that is easy for a woman, who is loved by her Savior reflected through her spouse, to believe. When I finally decided to take Matt at his word, and stop the manipulation tactics and just tell him my thoughts and desires...WOW...the outpouring of love towards me was and is indescribable. How am I that lovable? How am I that worthy of someone who would literally do anything for me?
But I have a husband who is willing to serve his King by serving his wife.
And I would never have known, had I not laid down my unrealistic expectations.