Oh, those pesky unrealistic expectations
I love my sweet guy. I do. He’s kind. He’s funny. He loves God and lives his faith.
But he’s not God.
When we first married I was a bit of a mess. The Lord had begun an incredible work in me, but there was a lot of work left to do. There were times I felt inadequate, overwhelmed, too shy, and I had a long way to go in the area of confidence.
So I wanted Richard to be my safe place. I wanted him to make me feel better about myself. If I felt overwhelmed, alone, or insecure, I looked to him to step in and fill those gaps.
That’s a huge order for any relationship, but especially in a new marriage.
To make it even more complicated, this was not a conscious act. I had no idea that I was placing unrealistic expectations on our relationship. I didn’t have a healthy view of marriage, so I was flying by love alone. And this is what I thought love looked like. Though our marriage was sweet and I loved this man so much, cracks started to develop.
What I didn’t realize then is this: There is no person on earth capable of filling our every need.
Only God can fill those gaps. Only God can wrap around those insecurities and show us who we are. Only God can lead us step-by-step into his plan for us. There’s a seat waiting for us with our name on it, and letting go will help us find it!
Eventually I stepped into confidence. It took work and growth and maturity on my part. It required healing in some areas. It also sprung out of the knowledge that Richard’s job was not to be my need-meeter. That was God’s job and my role was to trust Him in the process.
Releasing unrealistic expectations gave Richard the freedom to be human, to sometimes make mistakes. He wasn’t required to fill the gaps but to come alongside me as God filled them, one by one.
In today’s More Than Small Talk podcast conversation, Holley Gerth, Jennifer Watson, and I discuss the pitfalls that might get in the way of healthy, happy relationships. These were a few of the things that surfaced in that conversation.
- Don’t underestimate the “trench work.” This hard place is also where we grow.
- While it feels good to be needed, it’s not healthy when we try to be God to anyone else.
- Releasing unrealistic expectations allows God to show us his plan, which is sweeter, greater, and deeper than we can imagine.
I hope you’ll check out the conversation. It’s Episode 7, titled, “Happy Healthy Relationships.” You can find it on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or your favorite podcast app. You can also connect with us at KLRC.com and join the conversation!
If you are struggling in this area, hold close this promise today. “And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). If you need prayer, please share that. This community is here for you.
I’d also love to hear from you. What is one unrealistic expectation you’re willing to release today?
Love you like crazy,
Resources listed in the podcast that help us as we release those expectations are:
The unrealistic expectation I am willing to let go of is the need for my mother to see the goodness in me. I’m willing to let go of the need for her to know me. To see me for who I am. She’s dead so it truly is unrealistic. I lay this need at the foot of the cross and I give it to God and ask in exchange for my pain He fill me up with His love that never disappoints and that always satisfies.
Heavenly Father, You SEE Rochelle, you KNOW Rochelle, she is letting go of the heavy, painful burden of needing her mother’s approval and asking you to fill her to over flowing with your love. Fill her today, Lord, let your light shine in and through her. Let today be the day she fully realizes your love for her and that you created her with a purpose just for her and love her immensely. In Jesus name, Amen
Father, thank you for Rochelle. Sometimes our earthly parents struggle, Lord. It may be that they were told the same things and believed them, and this was their only legacy to give. Yet our legacy can look different. We can pack in forgiveness, strength, grace, mercy, joy, and so much more because you are our Heavenly Father, Abba Daddy. Thank you for continuing to do this in Rochelle, and through her. Amen.
the unwilling expectation I am willing to let go is my need to fix everything for everybody I have finally realized to let it go a kindly neighbor once told me give it up to God.
It is so hard to do when you feel that your main purpose in this world is to be a peace keeper.Pray for the wisdom to know that Gods got this.
Linda, Joinng you in prayer as you release the need to fix and keep peace. God’s got this even when at times it may look like he doesn’t. He’s working his perfect plan and loves you so very much.
So beautifully written. It takes time to grow into this maturity, as society teaches us love looks different. Thank you ♡
It does take time. It did for me. I’m still growing and hope to continue all my days.
Someone mentioned the srenity prayer earlier
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
The courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference.
What that means is that in order to recover one has to completely surrender and say God I can’t do this on my own and I am not God. I have no power over others and I make mistakes often so please, here is my will and my life and please give me the courage and the wisdom to accept Your help and guidance. The only power I have is over the next choice I make for myself.
My unrealistic expectations lie in my desire to be the Fixer for every member of my family… including grown siblings, my mother, etc. I’ve always been this way, and while my brain and heart KNOW that I cannot be their Fixer-of-Life-and-Everything, that ingrained desire to be so within me won’t relent. Releasing that, once again, into the hands of the only One who can be exactly what we all need and more than we could ever want. Thank you for your words today, Suzie!
Crystal, awareness is always our first and biggest step. The fact that you are willing to hand this to the Lord one more time reveals courage and faith. Cheering you on!
Thanks for the wonderful message.. re: unrealistic expectations..and for me.. too it took some years during early married life to learn as you have.. Suzie..
but now.. the expectations I have as my husband just turn 80 hooray and ‘thank You Jesus”’and I’m coming close to that number.. what we find during this season
is not unexpected but unmet expectations… neither of us have major health issues.. we just have minor stuff that comes with ageing..but the lesson to be learned at
this season.. is.. the grief and loss of personal very private aspects of life..that we (as we age) can no longer ‘have in our lives’…
I had to finally get gut level honest with a dear close friend.. to share my grief.. b/c to share it with hubby would have done a lot of damage… so thank GOD for close
female friends.. that understand.. don’t judge and she just let me cry as she gave me the hug of Christ ..
getting old..and loosing and grieving over personal, private losses.. are tough but with a close walk with Jesus.. ”” all things are possible’
I think that is why I just had my headstone made with that Scripture verse on it Matthew..19:26…
Unrealistic expectations can definitely damage so many relationships. One I am willing to let go is that I can’t save the world and I am not in charge of people’s choices. Pray for peace in my heart and know that He is God and He has a perfect plan for all of my family.
Oh Gabby, right there with you.
My unrealistic expectation that I’m willing to let go of today is the desire for my husband to want to spend time with me. When he’s off of work, he takes that time to spend it by himself, not sure what he does. He doesn’t like it when I ask and basically tells me I ask for too much. He says he needs to spend time by himself, but my heart’s cry is to nourish and strengthen our marriage by spending time together, sharing each other’s thoughts, emotions, dreams and struggles. However, I realize that I can’t look to my husband to fill those gaps and I need to trust in the God’s process of turning our hearts towards one another, increasing our love for each other. I release my husband into God’s hands and invite God into the heart of our marriage. In Jesus’ name, Amen. Thank you for sharing this revelation Suzanne. May God continue to bless your marriage and ministry.
Dear Karla.. your comments tugged at my heart b/c I, too used to be where you are.. and after trying all I could to get my husband to need me as I needed him..I found consolation
when I learned..’men are wired intellectually and women are wired emotionally ” and that we were to complement each other..and that my emotional.. needs were met with my girl friends.. b/c my husband didn’t want to talk..nor want to listen.. so we found our way.. mine was thru my faith. his was thru his activities.. some sports.. etc.. but at the end of the
day we came together.. and this year we will be married.. 60 years.. so keep praying.. hanging in.. getting your womanly needs met by those who can.. other woman friends.
and always be there..when he needs you.. I’ve found that my hubby ..when he’s ill’..opens the door for me to take care of him and that’s my strong suit… to minister to those who
need me…………..so hang in there.. and keep God first..when all else fails..and everybody leaves.. (emotionally or physically) GOD never leaves us.. nor forsakes us.
For me the Serenity Prayer helps a lot.. as does the Acceptance Prayer in the AABig Book.. ”Acceptance is the answer to all my problems… etc
blessings.. JoyCe H
Hi Karla, your message also tugged at my heart. However I must disagree with the other comment (I hope this is ok) and perhaps I am misunderstanding. But it is not ok for your husband to be so unemotionally unavailable and I don’t think God intended for a marriage to be that you make yourself available when he needs you and the other time you must find girlfriends to speak to.
Of course have different interests, sports etc and if he plays golf or goes to a game once or even twice a week then that is healthy. Of course…but then what about you? As long as he is happy and comfortable then you can suffer in silence and excect that your girlfriend’s be there when you want to share joy or pain.
I am curious to know if you’ve told him how you feel and not asked where are you going? The one thing I can say is that we some how magically think men can read our thoughts and instinctively know how we feel.that they don’t! Without telling him your heart’s desire there cannot be expectations. God is there for you 100% but He also gave you a husband as a companion and a friend, not a master. Xx
Karla, praying with you today. I love that you are releasing hour husband into God’s hands and inviting him into the heart of your marriage. I also pray for the right words to open his eyes to your desire to be with him. One of the strongest things we can do — as we pray and trust — is to seek godly counsel to give us the tools needed in a hard place in our marriage or in a relationship. You are worth that, sweet friend.
Hey friends! I think an unrealistic expectation I have struggled with is expecting my friends and family to give the same amount of time, devotion, listening, support etc that I THINK I give to them. We are all different and have didferent gifts to share with each other. The gifts I share with my people may not be the same gifts they have to share or maybe just not in the same manner.