Life will create lots opportunities for each one of us to fail — guaranteed! Marriage is one of those places where we will most certainly fail each other at some point along the way. Why? Because we are merely human and no matter how much we try to put our best foot forward, display the very best and vow to never do that or say that again, our human capacity is limited. We get tired, hungry, frustrated, irritated and at times overwhelmed.
As couples, we see and share the most intimate parts of our lives that no one else sees. We have knowledge about one another that, frankly, can be used against each other if we take the approach of record keeping and grudge holding. Marriage is a place we should be able to grow as individuals as we are transparent and venerable with one another and trust that our weaknesses will stay close to each other and not be used against us. When we have expectations of one another that are unrealistic or possibly unfair, we set ourselves up for failure and a host of other dangerous emotions that can rob your marriage and family of joy and true intimacy.
If you find yourself in a place right now that has you discouraged because your spouse is not meeting your expectations or you find yourself in a constant state of frustration. I encourage you first to turn the lens inward and see what’s brewing inside of you. Are you comparing your spouse to someone else? Are you playing a familiar tape recording in your head about what others think your spouse should be like? Are you transferring anger towards your spouse that really belong to someone else? These can be brutal on your spouse.
If what you are expecting is truly legit and you know in your heart what you are desiring is actually good, and you want better for your spouse and marriage, then commit to pray for your spouse in these areas. Nagging, complaining and criticizing will not work, in fact, it just makes it worse. There was a time early in our marriage that Victor would come home from work to a messy house and an overwhelmed mommy. With a baby and two toddlers, I was anything but organized. Wanting to have a clean house, but not being able to made matters worse. It wasn’t long after that Victor began telling me what a great mommy I was, caring and loving and how he loved the home cooked meals I prepared — when I actually did. This planted seeds of hope in my soul that gave me confidence and helped me grow in this area.
We are all a work in progress. We need to come alongside of each other, extend grace and call to life those things that are not yet. It’s a powerful springboard to see them come to life. When we can be our spouse’s greatest cheerleader, imagine the obstacles overcome and real life changes that can be achieved when we do.
Living and learning by His grace,