Hope, Encouragement, Love, and Direction for Women and marriages wounded by sexual sin.

I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you;
I will uphold you with My victorious right hand.~ Isaiah 41:10

Friday, November 8, 2013

Expectations Examined

I have always enjoyed reading, and for many years that included christian authors who wrote romantic story lines. We all know the same material, Girl in crisis, Boy who is hopelessly devoted to the Lord, selfless in all he does, woes the girl tenderly, and he is seemingly perfect in every way. It isn't just in books, we find these scenes played out in hollywood drama as well. I recently just realized that there are whole areas of pintrest devoted to the true romantic, where women can dream away about the romantic things that their husbands...could do to sweep them off their feet.
When Ray and I began to rebuild our marriage after his first infidelity 7 years ago, I was still spending hours in the evenings reading. I would be transported to a happier life than mine filled with love, selfless men, and some REALLY lucky women...right?! Oh my...I found that I was increasingly feeling sorry for myself. Why wasn't Ray being selfless 100% of the time? Why didn't he plan romantic adventures, or completely see past my selfish attitude and only act in pure love in the moments when I was acting like a child?? Why wasn't he enamored with my every move? My marriage was so messed up and so was my husband...Right?!?
Ladies, This is your official warning. It isn't healthy to stay in that place. I currently see so many women clouded by unrealistic expectations on romance. For those of you who are fighting tooth and nail to just keep your marriage together, this is especially dangerous for you! Please don't get me wrong, I am not speaking against these authors or films. Many love Jesus and are trying to impact the world in a positive way!! I am saying that when you are fighting the fight to hold a broken marriage together, these may not be the healthiest outlets IF you are finding yourself struggle the way I did.  The truth is that the expectations that can come from these forms of entertainment can be skewed for you women who are already struggling in your marriage. These seemingly harmless plots and stories can breed a mind full of LIES FROM SATAN! I know, I know...you only read Christian authors!! It doesn't matter...What is the fruit you are seeing when you read these books or watch those movies? What does it do to your heart?? If you are anything like me, you feel emotions like disappointment, discouragement, hopelessness, dis-satisfaction, and jealousy. My books never bred hope in me, they never bred a resolve to act more Christ like myself, no they made me angry that my husband wasn't more christ like...cause if he was, he would ______ fill in the blank. None of which lined up with what Jesus himself said is a Godly husband.

25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word.[b] 27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. 28 In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. 29 No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. 30 And we are members of his body.
31 As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.”[c] 32 This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. 33 So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Ephesians 5 is such a great scripture...now before you read this and say "SEE my husband doesn't love me enough!!" Remember, he is commanded to love you as Christ loves the church, not they way that man in that book loves that girl.  Some of you might not have even the smallest form of Godly love being shown, and for you I want you to know, that God sees you. He loves you perfectly and as you pray for your husband, God promises to be doing all things for your good in that place. I am praying with you that your husband begins to see you through God's eyes and love you with a Christ like love. And know...its ok to pray what seem like pathetic prayers. For years my deepest prayer was "God, please teach Ray how to love me the way you do". God honored those prayers. And his heart is to honor you.
But....For those of you who have a Godly husband who loves you, I want YOU to see that when God commands to love the way he does, you need to ask the question...How does God love the church?? Don't put words in God's mouth like I once did. God didn't drool over the church. He didn't ignore her flaws and just fawn over her when she was being rebellious. No he spoke truth in love, he protected and provided, he even gave his life for her. But did he stroke her ego? Did he sit and watch enamored by her every move? Not really.
For me, this scripture was an expectation killer. I had to see that Ray was acting in Christ like love toward me. He may not be a romantic who plans nice dates, and he doesn't watch me as I sleep in adoration, and he may not flatter me every day. But I know he would die for me. I know he goes to a job that he doesn't like very much, because he feels a strong need to provide for me. He sometimes gives up time with friends because he has been busy and hasn't seen the kids and I all week. And once in a blue moon, he even helps clean the house to serve me. Ladies...WE need to change our expectations and the one it benefits the most is OURSELVES!! If I had continued to feel sorry for myself and indulge in my emotional porn, I would have constantly been feeling unloved and abandoned. I had to agree with what the Lord says in his word, and stop listening to the lies the enemy was telling me about what love really looked like. I personally don't even read those books or watch those dramas anymore...it's not worth it. I feel yucky every time. I decided my time was better spent on things that built my hope not crush my hope. I am not saying that is the right move for you, but be willing, ask the Lord. These false expectations might be something that is blocking you from the healing God is trying to give you. You may need to stop feeding that beast for a time.
Go forward today determined to see the small things that your husband is doing right. Be wiling to find love in the small things instead of thinking it needs to look a certain way and be blessed.
And please note: I am writing all this with plans tonight to go watch "Anne of Avonlea" with a couple girlfriends. So...I am not saying you need a ban on all romance...I am saying..Watch for the lies and stay alert. And if you can't gain control...just be vigilant about what you are putting in your head!!