Um, this is not what I expected
By Sabrina McDonald
This week, we’re featuring excerpts from FamilyLife’s new devotional book The Story of Us. Click here to order your copy.
As two widowed people, Robbie and I understood each other like no one else could.
We just knew that marriage would be easy for us because we had a special connection. On top of that, we both had happy previous marriages. We thought all we had to do was apply those hard-earned marriage lessons again, and we would have the ultra-married life.
Then we became a stepfamily, and reality ruined that dream.
Everyone brings expectations into relationships. For those who have never experienced a serious relationship before, ideas about love and marriage may have come from parents. Good previous relationships, like mine and Robbie’s, create one type of expectation (everything will be like it was before), and bad previous relationships lead to a different set of expectations (everything better not be like it was before).
But the beauty and the terror of humanity is that each of us is unique, influenced by our own journeys created by God. Psalm 139:1,3–4 says, “O Lord, you have searched me and known me! . . . You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue; behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.”
The baggage we have is not accidental. God knows what we carry and how He plans to use it for good in our marriages (Romans 8:28), if we are humble enough to trade our pride for gain. I have certainly seen the benefits in my own relationship.
Here are some reminders to help you use your different expectations for good:
First, differing expectations require living in a state of grace. Second, differing expectations require humility. Third, differing expectations require living in hope.
Right now, it may feel like you and your spouse just keep seeing the same outcomes, but God’s Word promises that if you keep honoring Him, you will eventually make your way out of the valley and onto the mountaintop.
Adapted from The Story of Us. Copyright ©2019 by FamilyLife Publishing. All rights reserved.
Action points: Pull out a pen and a piece of paper and write down every expectation you have for your marriage. Compare with your spouse and see which ones you may need to work on. Pray over them together.
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