The Danger of Unrealistic Expectations
by Rhonda Stoppe
One of the biggest threats to a happy marriage is when one or both parties have unrealistic expectations of each other. When those expectations are not realized, you might feel betrayed. And this is when you may begin to believe myths that lead you to have unrealistic or incorrect expectations that do harm to your relationship. We will shed light on those myths. When my expectations of Steve were not being met, I remember feeling betrayed because…
I was convinced my happiness would rest in how well he treated me. How self-absorbed I was back then. God used my disillusionment to show me my selfish heart. Have you ever had expectations come crashing down around you when reality set in? How did that experience make you feel? Are you in a similar situation right now? Or maybe you have experienced years of disappointment in your marriage. Whatever the case, let’s talk for a moment about how disappointment turns to disillusionment.
You might feel betrayed when you come to realize the man you married is not the man you had perceived him to be. If you have been married for any amount of time, I am sure that by now you have your own secret list of things you wish you could change about your husband.
I find it interesting that frequently, the very qualities a woman was attracted to while dating her man often become the rub in their relationship after they are married.
“I love his spontaneity.”
“We can sit for hours just holding hands.”
“He’s a hard worker.” “He is frugal.”
“He’s irresponsible.” “He doesn’t talk to me.”
“He works too much.” “He’s a tightwad.”
I could go on, but you get the picture.
Are You the Wife You Meant to Be?
Are you the wife you meant to be? It’s easy to focus on areas where your husband has not met your expectations, but have you considered your husband may have his own secret list of disappointments about you as well? Rather than dwelling on what you wish your husband would change, what if you were to make a list of how you have changed after marriage? And instead, work to be the woman your husband had hoped you would be—the wife you meant to be—on the day you said, “I do.”
Stop for a moment and evaluate the type of wife you had hoped to be…and the kind of wife you actually are. When your husband looked at your beautiful face as you cascaded down the aisle, what kind of wife did he expect you would be? Have you measured up to your own expectations—let alone his?
In more than 30 years of ministry, Steve and I have listened to countless couples reveal how disappointed they were in the person they married. Whenever a wife can persuade her husband to come in for biblical marriage counseling, she often secretly says to herself, “Oh good. Now my husband is going to find out all the ways he needs to change to be a better husband so that I can be happy.”
Can I let you in on a little secret? Looking to your husband to make you happy is an unfair expectation. And no matter how “perfect” he is, he will never bring you true joy. Because the purpose for which you exist is not to find happiness in your marriage relationship—contrary to every fairy tale you ever heard as a little girl.
This is key, so listen closely. You were created to delight in your Creator. God made you to long for intimacy with Him—to delight in Him. So any other relationship that you pursue to fill the void only God can fill will always come up short. In the same way, you can never be your husband’s source of true joy. That’s kind of a relief, isn’t it?
Listen to Rhonda’s interview at Family Life Today – When He Doesn’t Meet your Expectations
Stay tuned for: What’s the Secret to Staying in Love?
Rhonda Stoppe, the No Regrets Woman, has mentored women for more than two decades. Steve Stoppe has pastored First Baptist Church, Patterson, California, for 19. After 37 years of marriage, they’re still head-over-heels and ready to share their secrets to building a no-regrets marriage. They’ve appeared on Focus on the Family and together write books, speak at marriage conferences and rescue troubled ministry marriages at their ranch in Northern California. They have four happily married children and ten grandchildren. To invite Steve & Rhonda to speak at your next event, and for more resources & videos, follow their social media links and connect with the Stoppe’s at NoRegretsWoman.com.
Rhonda is the author of 6 books and appears on numerous radio programs including FamilyTalk, Focus on the Family, Family Life Today and hosts The No Regrets Hour. She speaks at women’s events, Pastor’s Wives Conferences, MOPs and homeschool conventions. Sharing the gospel is her sweet spot––she’s an evangelist at heart.