When we got married, we had quite a few expectations about what we thought marriage would be like.
I personally had quite a blissful view of what it would be like to be a wife and homemaker. My kitchen would always be clean. My chores would always bring me joy. I would always be rested, organized and cheerful. My husband would always say and do exactly the things I needed and wanted him to say and do. We would have beautiful children who were well behaved and quiet and who never argued. Oh, and of course, some of those beautiful children would be of the girl variety.
Fifteen and a half years later, I am a (very happily married) woman with a frequently dirty kitchen and a large list of unfinished chores that occasionally make me feel very grumpy. I could use a nap and I have to pray and put forth quite an effort to continually be cheerful. My husband certainly doesn’t always say and do exactly what I need him or want him to do. None of my children are of the girl variety…and hardly ever are they quiet.
Am I disappointed with all of these expectations that have gone unfulfilled? No way. I’m still doing everything I always wanted to do…I’m just living within the realm of reality now. The fact that God gave us four boys has been joyful beyond my wildest dreams. I could never keep a perfect house because well…we’re all living in it. My husband can’t possibly say everything and do everything perfectly because as great as he is, he is also human and for goodness sake..sometimes I don’t even know what I want. How is he supposed to know?
You know the way life always turns out so perfectly in books that you read and movies that you watch? Yeah…those aren’t real!! Books and movies are stories written by people. I have to be very careful when I’m reading a good Christian fiction book that I don’t suddenly become dissatisfied with my own husband and my own life. Somehow the main male character in those books knows exactly what his woman needs and wants and always says the perfect thing. (Funny isn’t it that these books are usually written by WOMEN!)
I am going to suggest then that while we absolutely should aim high and desire a wonderful life with a wonderful man of God…we also need to recognize that there is no such thing as a perfect life with a perfect man. If there was a perfect man out there…he wouldn’t be choosing the likes of me because well…I’m not perfect.
I have more to say about expectations, specifically with our husbands, but I’ll share that another time.
For now I’ll stop with the simple idea that as a help meet to our husbands we need to learn to be joyful while we live lives that are less than perfect. Lives that may include spills, mistakes, socks on the floor, stains on the rug, bad breath, hurt, death, sickness, sore backs, misplaced documents, dried out markers, toilet seats left up, squishy bananas under the table and lost library books.
Embrace the life God gave you with the husband you chose. Let go of perfect expectations…and choose JOY!