Marriage is not as simple as Hollywood would like people to believe, giving couples expectations that can ruin their marriage. But there are three ways married couples can prevent that from happening, according to Caelen Tallant.
Society and our favorite films tell us that our spouse will satisfy our every need, writes Tallant, Scottsdale, Arizona-based brand development professional, in an article published in Relevant magazine.
"The unrealistic expectations we place on our spouse can lead to the breakdown of our marriage before we even see it coming," adds Tallant, a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. "The constant pressure we place on our spouse will result in disappointment and discontent."
The author offers three practical tips to help closely watch and check in with our expectations, so as to "create a marriage centered in servanthood and unconditional love."
One, we need to build on healthy communication, she suggests.
Tallant says when she got married she thought her spouse would "automatically know what I'm thinking and needed at every moment of the day."
The truth, on the contrary, is that humans aren't mind readers. "But if I communicate my needs or hopes to my spouse, he comes through. I used to think our marriage was a failure because I had to communicate the things I desired. Now, I realize that our marriage is a failure if I don't communicate."
Two, we need to show grace even when we don't feel like it, the author adds.
There are time when your spouse fails at something, but asks for help. "If you're anything like me, you wanted them to fix their failures on their own," she writes. "But that is not the way God designed us. He created us to submit to one another and serve one another faithfully. Whether it's in our community of believers or with our spouse, we're responsible to act."
Three, and most important, we must remember that our spouse cannot satisfy our every need, Tallant shares.
"Who came up with the idea that we have a spouse-shaped hole in our hearts that can only be filled by true love? It's silly. Only the Lord can fulfill us," she explains. "Once we realize that God is the only one who can fulfill our needs, the pressure alleviates from our spouse. If we put our full trust in God to develop our spouse into the person we need them to be, our marriages will thrive."
She concludes, "Marriage should demonstrate the sacrifice Christ made for His bride, the Church. With His sacrifice at the heart of our marriages, we can freely say "I do" at the altar and recommit to one another in our daily pursuits."