UNLEASHING THE K.I.S.S. MARRIAGE – Expectations

 Every one of us is a minefield full of treasures. Most of those minefields are pain, frustration, disappointment, bitterness and anger because of unmet expectations. So how does that turn into a treasure?  Follow me along on a treasure hunt. To do that I need to tell you a little story.

 There was a man who ran across American, coast to coast. When he completed this arduous, compelling and harsh task, he was met by the news media, with TV cameras and microphones being shoved into his face. The reporters asked him, “What was the hardest part of this year long trek? Was it the heat in the summer? Was it the fatigue? Was it the loneliness? Was it the relentless distance?” The runner replied without any hesitation, “No, it was the sand in my shoes.”

 Ok what does that have to do with expectations?  Everything! When we have expectations, realistic or unrealistic, and our need is not met, we feel hurt, overlooked, rejected, taken for granted, and we become resentful. Resentment is an inner, poisonous emotion that can be hidden with a smile on our face and a burning, raging fire in our heart. In the meantime, resentment is being formed. Initially it feels like there is a grain of sand in our shoes, an irritation, frustration, an unresolved pain. If we do not deal with this resentment, it will begin to rage in our heart, destroy our peace, sanity and begin to destroy our relationships.

I am telling you this to save you from years of pain which I experienced in my first marriage because of built up sand in my shoes; or resentment. I had expectations that my first husband would just know when I needed help, that he would be able to fix things around the house, that he would take spiritual leadership; and that he would understand my tears and listen to my ramblings. For years, many of my expectations were not met and I let resentment build up. Here is the crazy part. My husband did not know about my expectation, they were hidden in my heart and I just expected him to know them because he was my husband.

So to find the treasures and transform my marriage day by day, from unmet expectations to a new freedom and joy, here is what I had to do:

  1. Understand the “grain of sand in my shoes.”  This is a crucial point because I needed to know what had hurt, irritated, frustrated me or made me feel overlooked and rejected. It was imperative for me to begin to understand what unrealistic expectations I was placing on my husband.
  2.  Confront the resentment.  Was it downright silly? Then dismiss it. Was it something that needed to be addressed? Then communicate this pain to my husband. Was it out of my low self-esteem that I felt taken for granted or rejected? Then I needed to ask God to help me become more confident and loved by empowering my relationship with God. 
  3. I had to release my husband from my unrealistic expectations.  I had to realize that my husband could not read my mind and he is not the savior of my soul. He is not responsible for my happiness. He is not responsible for fulfilling my picture of what a “perfect family” would look like.  He is not responsible for doing all the things I saw my dad do and thought that is what all husbands should do.
  4. It was a harsh awakening for me to realize my husband was not responsible for all my emotional needs.
  5. I had to forgive.  I had to forgive my husband and all the other people in my life toward whom I had built up resentment.  Forgiveness is the foundation of our Christian faith and if I harbored resentment toward my husband or anyone, it would rob me of all the joy and freedom that Jesus died for.
  6. Think Differently. Every time I felt that rubbing of the grit in my shoes, I had to learn to process life differently. God’s truth in the bible and His promises are the only REAL EXPECTATIONS in this life. Then I had to go through all these steps 1 – 6 to being the process of the transformation of my mind.  The process of understanding unreal expectations, to understanding its pain, to confronting the trouble spot, letting go and forgiving…to FINDING NEW JOY AND FREEDOM.

This is a day to day, sometimes hour by hour process. But if it is followed diligently it will be the greatest energizer, refresher, “falling in love all over again” steps in your marriage. The steps are K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple sweetheart), but the beginning stages can be difficult as you begin to unpack that entire deceptive Gucci luggage you both have been dragging around for years.

I pray that God will give you BOLDNESS and TENACITY as you wade through the existing minefield to discover the treasures and new JOY!  For more on resentment and marriage, please go to Chapter 5 and 6 in my book SAND TO PEARLS: Making BOLD Choices to Enrich Your Life.

  

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