When Expectations Become Premeditated Resentments
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love …
rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation.
Many of us marry with the illusion that the excitement and magic of new love will never fade away. Then, at some point in the first couple years of marriage, we wake up and realize that reality is a bit different. That’s when we enter the season of disappointed love. Not everything that begins “Once Upon a Time…” ends “Happily Ever After.”
The single absolute secret to dealing with the inevitable disappointments we face in marriage is found in one simple word: commitment. One of us has to die to get out of this, period, and we rule out murder and suicide.
Commitment is choosing to take your mate’s hand and walk through the reality God has allowed in your life, believing that on the other side you will find a deeper love and a healthier relationship than you had before…and you CAN, if you will.
Sometimes moving past disappointed love will mean restating your wedding vows. Facing a time of extreme trial, one couple gathered friends around and repeated theirs. Here’s their reflection:
After going through a painful separation and getting back together, renewing our wedding vows had a profound effect. We both were crying so much that we barely got through it. We had not been wearing our rings for about a year and thought there was no hope. Restating our vows helped to put us on the right track. Funny how our vows meant so much more to us now than they did 19 years ago.
Here’s ours: Dick, will you take Barb to be your wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or worse, rich or poor, in sickness and in health? Before God and these witnesses, will you promise to love, honor and cherish BARB all the days of your lives and be faithful to her and cleave only to her through the good times and the bad until one of you lays the other in the arms of God?
Dick responds, “I will.” …and I still DO!
At other times, commitment is an inner resolve to conform to what you know to be true in spite of your feelings. Your covenant of commitment to God and each other is the heart of what remains once reality has edited the illusion of what you thought marriage would be.
At your wedding, you stood before God and promised to never forsake each other, “for better or for worse.” Now, staring “worse” in the face, you have a choice. Will you honor that commitment? Sometimes we get crucified between the thieves of yesterday and tomorrow and we forget that commitment is all about serving our mates…really serving them. I want each of you to have a reasonable expectation that you can and will get what you want from your marriage…
Remember that random acts of kindness produce great fruit especially when given as “gifts” regardless of how you may feel. Gifts are something you can do for your spouse that you do not ordinarily do, but CHOOSE to do.
Just go do it.
In what ways has your relationship been different from what you expected? Find your wedding vows and re-state them to one another by candlelight after the kids are in bed.
Ask God for the absolute determination to stay together no matter what struggles you face in marriage.
Borrowed and edited from Barbara Rainey of Family Life. I like her stuff.