Topics covered in this article:
- Unmet Expectations and Selfishness,
- Getting Closer,
- Your Choice,
My happily ever after! I grew up on fairy tales, and I waited each year to watch the showing of the movie Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella on TV. You know, the “real” one with Leslie Ann Warren.
When it came time for my wedding, it was created in exceptional detail from finding the perfect wedding dress with tiers of lace to the bouquet of yellow roses and white babies’ breath.
My fairytale marriage had begun, and I fully expected to enjoy a “happily ever after” every single day.
After several years of marriage and kids, after the “honeymoon stage” was long gone, it was a surprise to think my marriage might just be ordinary after all, and nothing fairytale about it.
My Prince Charming was not always slipping on my glass slipper every night.
I still believe we can have the fairytale ending we want, but it takes constant daily work to achieve it, along with a lot of humbleness, forgiveness, mercy and grace.
Ordinary marriages lack vision and give up on hope. When we settle for an ordinary marriage, it’s easy to move from “I do” to “I’m done.”
I want the exceptional marriage – I want the fairytale ending! Let’s look at some of the things that rob us from that.
Discontent is one of the biggest enemies in marriage, and it can slip in without your knowledge until…there it is. Discontent causes your spouse to feel like they are not enough because they haven’t provided your fairytale life.
The Bible talks about being content – “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. Philippians 4:11.”
Discontentment is Satan’s great distraction meant to lure us away from happiness in our marriage, wanting you to resent where you are and yearning for things you don’t have.
Goals and visions for the future are necessary. Discontentment is different. It is not being at peace with where God has you right now and blinds you to the good that God has given you. You become dissatisfied and impatient with God’s timing for you. You allow what you don’t have to dominate your focus so that you forget the many wonderful things in your life and marriage.
We must choose to be content right where we are with our spouse today. The most hurtful thought is for either person to believe “I’m not enough” for my spouse.
Blame, anger, accusations, resentment, comparisons, and especially unmet expectations can lead to discontent within your marriage. Leaving you wondering if there is any hope.
When we surrender our discontent to God, we gain peace, gratitude and contentment.
Comparison can steal your joy.
Social media is often just a way we compare our lives to others. When we compare, we tend to get stuck on the idea everyone else’s life is so much better than ours.
What we see is not often reality. It is generally the best presentation of a life.
Their life is not better than ours; it is just different. We don’t know their struggles and challenges, or the road they have walked.
When we focus on the blessings we do have, we see our own life and our spouse differently. We can appreciate the blessings that God has given us.
We must choose to believe that we are enough for each other now just as much as when we first said, “I do.”
No one forced you to marry the other – you chose them because you felt they were the right one for you.
We need to encourage each other instead of criticizing each other. Over time consistent criticism will chip away at your spouse causing them to feel disrespected and unloved.
There are reasons God placed the “Nagging” verses in the Bible – Proverbs 21:9; 21:19; 27:15; 25:24 – Ladies, who wants to be compared to a continual dripping leak!
You can’t nag, argue or criticize someone into a change that will last. You may see a short-term solution or be able to accomplish your current goal and get what you want out of the situation, but in the end, it probably won’t last.
The Bible says, depending on which translation you read, that it’s better to live in the wilderness, a desert land, or the corner of a rooftop, then with a nagging, quarrelsome woman.
Trusting God with changing your spouse, and usually most importantly changing yourself first, is the best solution.
Unmet Expectations and Selfishness
We all have expectations, especially if you grew up watching Cinderella. But when our expectations are unmet, and our Prince Charming isn’t living up to what we expected he would be, we give Satan an opening to send us spiraling down into disillusionment and eventually hopelessness.
Most marriage conflicts arise from selfishness or unmet expectations, and to be honest, most are unfair expectations.
You expected your Prince to behave in a certain way, and he fell way short. And now he feels like once again he has failed and he “isn’t enough” for you.
This is where you give him encouragement rather than criticism. Do not expect your husband to read your mind.
It is not his job to make you happy, nor is it your job to make him happy.
Your happiness should not be based on the reactions of others to your efforts. We have to find our joy and happiness in the Lord, and then we will be better able to meet the needs of each other.
Selfishness is killing marriages. Real love requires unselfishness. It requires sacrificially putting someone else’s desires, needs, and comfort before what we want.
Still Another Choice
Each spouse must make a choice to love the other before themselves. But more importantly, love God first and our spouse second. Choose to head off selfish marriage problems each and every day and choose to sacrificially and selflessly love one another.
In your marriage, there will be a day when you want to give up. To give up on trying, on forgiving, on growing or on loving. Cinderella did not find her Prince and the fairytale has become a sad story!
But it is in those very moments that God, your Father and King, wants to intervene, to prove Himself faithful and to remind you that true love always comes in the form of a choice, and not to give up, and that you can do all things through His strength.
Sometimes we have to practice love even if we don’t feel love. Feelings are real, but they are not always right.
A marriage that acts ordinary is ordinary, but a marriage that acts like a great marriage will be a great marriage. It’s a choice, and usually a daily choice. I choose to love, respect and honor you, regardless of how I might feel today, or how your behavior is affecting me today.
A major factor in a marriage of discontent, wrong comparisons, and unmet expectations and selfishness is a diminished personal relationship with God.
If you aren’t walking close to God, you cannot possibly walk closely with your spouse.
Picture a triangle with you and your spouse on either side and God at the top – as each of you grow closer to God, you will grow closer to each other.
The process of growing and becoming conformed to the image of Christ will cause you to become the person God intended you to be, and also the person that your spouse needs you to be.
Remember you are the children of the King. You and your Prince can have the fairytale ending!
Do you feel discontent in your life, and make comparisons with others, instead of looking to God for your happiness?
Do you try to influence your Prince with nagging or criticism to solve problems, or manipulate him to satisfy your own agenda?
Do you selfishly put yourself and your own interests and wants ahead of your Prince?
Have you let your unmet expectations for your Prince cause him to feel that he is not enough for you?
Ask God to help you be the Princess that your Prince needs.