If you are like me, I grew up with the belief that marriage was going to make me whole and complete. Just think of all the fairy tales we read, all the movies we’ve seen, and in the end, the couple lived Happily Ever After, right? But is this true? I talk a lot about this in a series I blogged in 2018 on the story of Cinderella called, Surrenderella; read her story when you get a chance. SURRENDERELLA Part 1
The stories we read over the years about marriage never told us about all the challenges each would face trying to understand each other’s differences and accepting each other’s faults. After the honeymoon period is over, one of the goals new couples find themselves focused on is how to change the other person so they could meet their needs and make them happy. While we are dating, it is strange how we accept the other’s faults, blemishes, bad habits, and all, but when we get married, we think, “How can I help my spouse get rid of those things I don’t like, so we can get along, and I can love them more?” I know, it sounds ridiculous but we do. We may not say it but we use strategies of withholding affection, pouting, playing on the each other’s emotions, throwing a few jabs of sarcasm, ignoring each other, giving them “the look,” bossing them around, demeaning or belittling them, all to say “I am not happy with your actions so you better get in line.”
In this series of blogs on marriage, I would like to share some things I discovered about marriage which shattered all of my fairy tale thoughts and beliefs. Anne Trippe, a Christian Counselor and Author wrote an amazing book on marriage, called Marriage the Journey. I used this book in counseling couples as it also shaped and destroyed a lot of my beliefs about marriage. I would like to share a few things I learned from this book.
MY SPOUSE IS TO FULFILL ME
The thought that we are half of a person and it takes some other human being to make us feel fulfilled and complete is a LIE. Let me show you some things I use to believe:
- My spouse is to be my completer, otherwise, why marriage?
- I am entitled to my spouse cherishing me, giving me respect, appreciation, encouragement, listening and…
- I am entitled to my husband being the spiritual leader and assuming his role as head.
- I am responsible for my partner’s emotional well-being, so I am responsible for seeing to it that he is content, at peace, happy, and everything is going right for him.
- My worth and value are what my spouse thinks of me or how he treats me.
- I need my spouse to be fulfilled, complete, secure, or feel valued. (So he can fulfill me and not reject me)
- It demeans me if my mate criticizes me or tell me what to do.
- We are created to find fulfillment through marriage, work, and other accomplishments.
- If my spouse really cares for me, he will intuitively know what I want and need. If I ask for it, it won’t mean anything.
- We must get more attuned to each other is the only way to find satisfaction in our marriage.
Those are just a few. Can you imagine the stress and struggles we had in our marriage, me trying to be the perfect wife so my husband wouldn’t reject me and trying to make another human being meet my most intimate needs to be fulfilled? We put so many demands on each other trying to get them to measure up to some perceived belief we have about marriage and how it supposed to work so we can be happy and fulfilled.
The truth is, many of us have not seen healthy marriages in our life so fairy tales, books, and movies are our only blueprint of what marriage should be like. But, that was never meant to be. So many of us have struggles in marriage and we want our Lord to FIX IT. I hate to tell you, He can’t and He won’t fix it when our focus is all about our spouse being the object of our affections to fulfill us, complete us, and make us happy! We have made them our idols and our Lord is jealous of us because He designed us so that He will be the ONLY ONE to fulfill us, complete us, and satisfy our every need. Until we really learn to love and accept our spouse as they are and allow our Lord to change them as pleasing to Him, we remain on the road of frustration, disappointment, regret, and disillusionment unless we turn our hearts and minds to our Lord so that we can find fulfillment and completion, ONLY IN HIM.
In our next few blogs, I will explore some beautiful lessons I learned over years from my Heavenly Father and Lord as they shattered the lies I held dear and opened my eyes to their truths about marriage and my role as a wife.