What would you say is the leading cause of marital problems today? June Hunt, one of the world’s leading biblical counselors, was recently asked which traps she’d place at the top of a “Marital Landmines” list. “One shot came to mind ahead of all others” she shared, “unrealistic expectations!” She went on to share the following list of unrealistic expectations experienced by many married couples.
- Marriage will always protect me from loneliness.
- Marriage will always bring me affection and sexual intimacy.
- Marriage will always rescue me from my present circumstances.
- Marriage will always provide me with love and acceptance.
- Marriage will always furnish me with financial security.
- Marriage will always afford me social acceptance.
- Marriage will always surround me with a loving family.
- Marriage will always offer me broader career opportunities.
- Marriage will always assure me that I’ll be taken care of.
- Marriage will always allow me to change my mate’s behavior.
“Those who enter marriage with the goal of getting rather than giving are harboring a harmful and false expectation. Only God can meet our deepest inner needs – for love, significance and security,” shares June. “His plan for marriage is that each spouse gives unconditional love, instead of seeking to be served.”
Ruth Bell Graham, late wife of Billy Graham, put it this way: “I pity the married couple who expects too much from one another. It is a foolish woman who expects her husband to be to her that which only God Himself can be: ready to forgive, totally understanding, unendingly patient, invariably tender and loving, unfailing in every area, anticipating every need, and making more than adequate provision. Such expectations put a man under an impossible strain. The same goes for the man who expects too much from his wife.”
Demonstrating gracious forgiveness and a selfless love for one’s spouse isn’t a natural ability – it’s supernatural. Amidst the personality clashes and power struggles … the hurt feelings and hot tempers … is such love even possible? In The Pursuit of God, A.W. Tozer provides the key: “Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow.”
The same certainly holds true for marriage. If you and your spouse are “tuned to the same fork” – God Himself – you will experience harmony in your marriage and in your home. It’s been said that a happy marriage demands a lifetime of falling in love together. Marriage is the most complex, most complicated and potentially most rewarding relationship in life. Marriage is a special gift that requires regular maintenance. Whether you’ve been married for five years or 50 years, your marriage can be revitalized and made new again.
If you could use a marital “tune-up” (and what couple couldn’t from time to time!), join noted speaker and author June Hunt for Making the Most of Your Marriage on April 17 (6:30 p.m.-10:00 p.m.) and April 21 (9:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.). The conference will be held at the Hope Center, 2001 W. Plano Parkway, Plano, Texas. The sessions are free, but registration is appreciated at www.HopeForTheHeart.org/bci. For more information call 1-800-488-HOPE (4673).