I have been working with several ladies recently who are admittedly in really unhappy marriages. This breaks my heart. I know that God's design for marriage is a wonderful blessing full of joy and peace. However, the more couples and wives I work with the more I realize just how rare it is in our society to have that kind of marriage. It have recently been thinking about my failed marriage. Before marrying my amazing and gorgeous husband, Steven, I was in a 20 year, very unsuccessful, marriage. I own much of the responsibility for the failure of that marriage. During that time, I never really received any teaching on how to be a wife. I don't really remember anyone ever telling me much about God's plan for marriage. I never heard that God designed marriage to be the earthly representation of Christ and the church. I never had a single person tell me about respectfulness and how much men need respect. I was so lacking in basic education and knowledge that in many ways I was doomed to fail. I realize that there are countless people out there who have great marriages and would say that they never received much instruction either, but I find today there are so many hurting people in unhappy marriages the need for teaching is enormous. So for the next few blogs, I want to share some insight and instruction, that if applied, will help you begin to find your way to the marriage God called us to have.
Today, I want to start out with what I tell all wives I work with up front. There are two things that if you apply them to your marriage, will begin to make things better. Please remember that change and results don't happen overnight. These changes are a process. You won't be perfect at applying them at first but if you submit to the process and keep going you will see results.
First of all, THE ONLY PERSON YOU CAN CHANGE IS YOURSELF. So adopt this motto "to have a great marriage, draw a circle around yourself and work on everyone in the circle." Unfortunately, too many women go into marriages with the idea that their husband is like an old house, "he will be great when I get him fixed up." You CANNOT change people. You CAN change yourself. So when you begin to work on your marriage always remember that your work is done in you and you alone. You have to trust God to do the work in your spouse that needs to be done. So as you read these blogs always read them from the point of view that they are for you alone. Don't be thinking about your husband when you read them.
Second, expectations are the number one killer of relationships. I remember when I heard that I should give up my expectations of other people, I thought what many of you might be thinking right now, "that is the dumbest thing I have ever heard." I really felt I had a right to expect people to act right. Well, if you maintain expectations of other people you are setting yourself up for hurt and disappointment. While it would be nice if everyone acted loving, kind, and unselfishly that is very unlikely. So when you release yourself from expectations you are setting yourself up for way less disappointments. The other reason to let go of expectations, is that expectations are almost always based in selfishness. Aren't most expectations proceeded by "I"? "I expect" is all about you. Selfishness will never bring about love, peace, and joy in any relationship.
I want to encourage you today and in the future, take some time and look at yourself. Are you truly being the wife God has called you to be? Are you solely working your marriage by working on you and you alone? Are you willing to give up expectations of your spouse and other people? Ask God to begin to show you what He has called to the church to be, do, and look like, then work diligently to live your life like that. Ask God to give you the ability to release yourself from expectations of people, starting with your spouse. As you walk out this process, you will see amazing changes towards having the marriage you have always wanted.
I praying for you today. I know that the marriage you wanted is available to you. You can have it. Begin today to make changes that will bring it into existence.