When Marriage Isn’t All That You Hoped It Would Be

By Sarah Logan, Contributing Writer

There are days and seasons of life we all anticipate – with eager hopefulness for what’s in store.  As children this is most noted at Christmas when lists are made out and hints dropped and eyes sparkle with delight at the prospect of new toy ownership.  Do you ever feel that this kind of longing applies to marriage?

Here are a few ways to deal with this - Turn to Christ!

Both Sam and I had our let-downs after we were married a few months.  The permanence of marriage was daunting and our personalities had yet to get used to each other.  For us, it was definitely a struggle.  My guess is most marriages are/were much more blissful than ours was at the outset.  So for those of you who just clicked from the start – congratulations!  We just needed a little time, adjustments, patience and growth to get there!

It can be so disconcerting to wake up, realize you’re married and see the flaws in your spouse and wish things were different.  This wishing – while innocent enough in Christmas anticipation in children – is actually detrimental to marriage harmony.  We can be so tempted to wish or hope or hang our joy on the prospect of change – of our spouse changing.  And this is a temptation to veer off course. Here’s what it sounds like:

“I would be so much happier if he would just…”

“She doesn’t realize how much that irritates me, even though I’ve told her again and again.  If she would only change…”

“I will just be patient until he figures himself out and grows up – but in the meantime I’ll be miserable…”

“When will she stop interrupting me?  She’ll have to change before we can talk…”

And on and on – you fill in your own version.

These longings and wishings are dangerous because

-  they focus our thoughts on the faults (perceived or real) of another

-  they make another person responsible for our happiness

-  they fail to focus on our source of joy – the Lord Jesus Christ

-  they keep records of wrongs

-  they are inward and self-focussed (when will I get what I want?)

God gave Adam to Eve and Eve to Adam.  There was no one else to compare to – and they were enough for each other.  And God was with them.  The union of Adam and Eve is fascinating – here a lonely man welcomes a creation meant specifically for him.  Could Adam return the gift for a better model?  (How insulting to the Creator?!)  No – Adam and Eve – both before and after they sinned – had each other and no one else.  They had enough to do to make a living and survive without adding each others faults to the to-do list.

When your spouse disappoints you, you aren’t alone.  Your truest Companion is your Heavenly Father who sees and knows each struggle of life.  His presence in your life is perfect.  He sustains the weary, the broken-hearted and down-trodden.  He calls us to find our hope and joy in Him.

Marriage is a gift – for sure.  But the Giver walks with us through this journey and bears our disappointments, feeling each burden and lifting us up with His grace and mercy.  Our hope was never meant to be fulfilled in a Perfect Spouse.  It was meant to be fulfilled in Christ.

Maybe your marriage isn’t everything you wanted in life.  Maybe you can’t have a Christ-centered-Biblical marriage because your spouse won’t cooperate with your efforts or isn’t on the same page.  That’s okay.  You can still have a Christ-centered, Biblical life because the Giver of life hasn’t abandoned you.

Your spouse is a sinful human being.  SO ARE YOU.  There comes a point where we accept one another, warts and all!  The sooner this happens in marriage, the better.  And in those hard moments when you are tempted to complain, turn your heart to the Best Friend you have:

Jesus! What a Friend for sinners!  Jesus lover of my soul!

Friends may fail me, foes assail me, He my Saviour makes me whole.

Jesus! What a strength in weakness!  Let me hide myself in Him;

Tempted, tried, and sometimes failing, He, my strength, my victo’ry wins.

(Words: J. Wilbur Chapman 1859-1918)