Updated: Feb 15
I would like to first start off by saying the main points of this blog post are relayed messages. I heard it at a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) meeting and simply thought that others would benefit from it, too.
To begin, grab a pen and paper.
...Like for real, guys. Gooooo. This could possibly benefit your marriage so it's worth standing up for 😉
Okay, now that you're ready, let's start by talking about Disney! (Bear with me fellas!) Oh, Disney. All of those lovely stories about happily ever after's, perfect love, dancing, singing, and perfect bodies. *sigh*
Now erase every freaking Disney princess movie you've ever watched from you mind. IT'S NOT REAL. IT DOESN'T EXIST. There is no magic carpet carrying around a handsome man that would do anything to have you. (I know, ladies. I know. I totally teared up, too.) In the real world, love takes work.
Now that that's out of the way, I want you to write down the following ⬇
EXPECTATIONS _____________________ BEHAVIOR
Now underneath the word EXPECTATIONS, write down every little and big expectation you had/have for your spouse. They can be as tiny as putting the toilet seat down, cooking dinner, taking the trash out, or keeping the house clean or even as as big as being financially responsible, keeping the spark alive, or keeping that sexy body.
I want you to think about a time when your spouse DIDN'T meet one of those expectations. What happened? How did he/she let you down?
More importantly, how did you respond?
Did you assume the worst and say something like "Yeah, I knew I shouldn't have relied on you" or did you believe the best and think "That's okay! I know you tried. Maybe next time."
If you're like me in any way, your natural response is the negative one. Which leads me to the second word we wrote down. BEHAVIOR.
I think we can all agree that letting someone down really doesn't feel good, let alone letting down the one you love. No one wants to hurt the other. No one thinks "Okay. The next time he/she disappoints me, I'm going to slam the door, raise my voice, and have a disgusted look on my face all while telling him/her how pathetic they are!"
Noooo! It's a reaction. (And a really nasty one at that.)
Guys, we wonder why our spouses' behavior changes. Why he/she shuts down or stops communicating or seems like he/she doesn't care anymore. When we respond in an ugly way, how does that motivate your spouse to be better? Why would your spouse even want to try again for you if YOU, the love of his/her life, don't even believe in him/her.
So how do we fix it? How do we not freak out when we get disappointed?
Remember all of those expectations you wrote down? Put an X next to the ones you have actually TOLD your spouse about. If you didn't mark every expectation with an X, how in the heck is your spouse supposed to know you expect that from them? Communication is so important and discussing expectations needs to happen so everyone knows and understands.
Lastly, whether you have children or not, think about how you speak toward your spouse. Is that the way you want your child to speak to his/her spouse one day? If not, the way you speak needs to change. Change to better your marriage and change to better your children.
2. Be MINDFUL
Let's all look over 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Now, I know what you're thinking. "Really? That typical, overused wedding vow?" Yes. That one. Now roll your eyes and keep reading.
"Love is patient, love is kind." Let's stop there. Those 2 simple words put into action are GAME CHANGERS (I'm assuming... lol... I'm still working on them.)
Let's continue. "It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs." PAUSE! That's a huge one. No. Records. Which means, no grudge holding! It benefits no one and keeps you bitter. Just let it go. *sings Frozen on repeat*
No but seriously, for all of those reading this that have had a spouse (or anyone for that matter) do something utterly awful and wrong, know that I am so incredibly sorry and I don't understand what you went through nor how it has effected your life. But I want to give you hope. I've learned that you must forgive even the most wicked of humans to feel free again. And you don't do it for them. You do it for you. Forgive just like God has forgiven you. Let Him be the judge when the time comes. Live your life free from grudge holding so you can move past it and live your best life.
And the last part of this verse that I always forget..
"Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It (love) always PROTECTS, always TRUSTS, always HOPES, and always PERSEVERES."
Intense, right?! That's a whole lot to live up to as a partner. Now, I could be wrong when I say this but I doubt you have always lived up to those love promises yourself. So the next time your spouse messes up, maybe respond the way you want him/her to respond to you the next time you mess up (because Lord knows that's bound to happen 😅)
3. FILTER your life
What is the first thing you do when you have a free moment with your spouse? Do you both immediately turn to your phones and click on those apps that are all about... well... YOU. *raises hand* Or maybe you're that couple that binge watches tv shows. (Hello Peaky Blinders!) Literally hours and hours go by and you're both still sitting in the same spot, not interacting with each other in any way, glued to the show.
Fun fact! Did you know that Harvard University did a study about how social media affects the brain?! They found that "social networking sites lights up the same part of the brain that also ignites when taking an addictive substance." "...the brain receives a rush of dopamine and sends it along reward pathways, causing him/her to feel pleasure. Social media provides an endless amount of immediate rewards in the form of attention from others for relatively minimal effort." Guys! We are addicted to social media whether you want to believe it or not. So just like a drug addict needs to wean themselves off of a substance, we must do the same. (click here to read more about it)
Do you want to know why those crazy people that fast from technology find it refreshing? It's because they stop comparing their lives to others, they stop judging what others are saying/doing, and they stop worrying about unimportant things like "likes".
But I know that cutting it out completely is hard and if you're not up for fasting quite yet, try taking small steps toward "recovery". Instead of checking Instagram to see how many likes you have in the middle of a conversation, look your spouse in the eyes and give him/her ALL of your attention. Instead of turning on Netflix right when the kids go down, maybe play a game of Battleship with your spouse. (I'm telling you, sinking those plastic boats is way more rewarding than it seems!) Pretty much, I'm just saying interact. I can assure you that your spouse can please you in more ways than technology can 😉 (And yes, I meant that in the dirtiest way possible)
I'm going to finish this subject off by saying I don't think Netflix or Instagram or any other similar thing is bad (I freaking love them!) but filtering some of it out and replacing it with more important things may be what you need.
Alrighty guys. That's it. I'm done. I pray you found this as useful as I did and I also hope it helps you react in a more positive way when we get disappointed (like...for instance... today (Valentine's Day) when all of our ridiculous expectations don't get met. 😂)