ONE DAY MY PRINCE WILL COME
As a little girl, I dreamed of the day I would have the opportunity to wear a beautiful white, full length, flowy skirt, wedding dress. It was a daydream that repeated itself over and over in my head. A Cinderella type of wedding, my Prince Charming waiting for me at the altar. One day, that Prince Charming would whisk me away to a far away place and we would live happily ever after with many children, all the days of our lives.
At some point in time, the majority of us have fantasized about the picture perfect man we would like to see in our lives. Someone who would consistently sweep us off of our feet, flower us with love, provide everything our hearts desire, and give us the beautiful children we dreamed we would have together. We fit our future spouse in a one size fits all box, he would be perfect in every way imaginable, dreamy in fact. Little did we know, our picture perfect, storybook marriage ideals were setting the future men in our lives up for failure. If we take a step back, we can reposition our hearts toward them, realize they are human, give them the grace and mercy they deserve, and put God in His rightful place, front and center. Our guys aren’t perfect, no man has ever been since the fall. Only one man ever was and His name was Jesus. When we position our hearts and eyes on Him, we let go of unrealistic goals, let our men off the hook, and allow God to work in that space of desire, want, and need.
These expectations of my future husband were lofty. Expectations of perfection, charm, leadership, romance, and wealth. Looking back, I can now see where those expectations took root and followed me all 42 years of my life and even up until now. Perhaps it was a Hollywood dramatized perfect marriage seen in movies or a picture perfect, real life couple I personally knew who seemed to have it all together and were blissfully in love. I still hold onto those expectations for my husband to this day. We’ve been married 18 years. 18 years of still waiting for my husband to sweep me off my feet.
A HOLY CONVICTION
Recently, that all changed when the Holy Spirit convicted me of my unrealistic expectations and the potential to make my marriage an idol. You see, I spent years and years wishing my husband would be more romantic, more thoughtful, and would consider my needs before his. That he would magically be someone he is not, someone he was never made to be, instead of accepting him for who God created him to be.
THE DETRIMENT OF UNMET EXPECTATIONS
Unmet expectations are a breeding ground for bitterness and resentment. Enter an invitation for the enemy to have his way in your marriage. “The enemy comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” (John 10:10 ESV) If we give Satan an inch in our relationships with one another, he will fill us with fear, doubt, anxiety, worry, and comparison. However, Jesus states in the remainder of that very same verse, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10b ESV) Abundance, isn’t that all that our restless hearts desire? To have life and to have it to the full?
One day the Holy Spirit whispered, “What if I had given you the picture perfect marriage, straight out of a fairytale? Would you idolize that too? Would you put your marriage before Me? What if your husband was perfect in your eyes? Would you worship him above Me?”
I call the Holy Spirit’s guidance and gentle nudges, my ephiphaMEs, a term from Mel Robbins’ book, “The 5 Second Rule.” This particular ephiphaMe hit me hard. Perhaps it was because this burden had been a weight that I was causing my husband to carry alongside me.
Our hearts, if not kept guarded, have the means to produce some pretty heavy idols. Before long, we have chased these little “g” gods or idols down a rabbit hole of disappointment, reality checks, and defeat.
Truth is, if my marriage was all that I had dreamed it to be and if my husband was the perfect man and human being, I am certain I would worship him above God. God was revealing to me that my husband was never meant to be the Lord of my life, He is. Deuteronomy 6:14 states, “You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you.”
In fact, the very 1st Commandment states, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:2-3 NIV) It was then that I realized Jesus is the only one who is meant to be the Prince Charming in my life. Who better to fit that role? No one on this earth is perfect, blameless, and sinless but Jesus.
REPOSITION YOUR EXPECTATIONS
Therefore, I needed to reevaluate those expectations and give them to the Lord and Savior of my life, the only one who was meant to have my heart first. It wasn’t fair for me to hold those ideals over my husband’s head. He is human, a sinner, who will always fall short of the glory of God. When I held those expectancies over him, he would for certain miss the mark, leading to disappointment in himself. I was and have been setting him up for failure and that is not fair.
God created my husband in His own image just as He created me. God loves him more than I do, He knows the numbers of hairs on his head. He knows my husband’s thoughts before he thinks them, He knows his heart.
When and if I allow God to fill all the longing in my heart with His unrelenting, undeniable, unstoppable, perfect love, I won’t have to seek other places to fill that void. And when those spaces are filled with truth, scripture, Him, I can let my husband out of the holding cell that I have kept him in for way too long. Extending the love, mercy, and grace that he rightfully deserves. Loving the man that God placed in my life through the hard, difficult, unthinkable times. Accepting him for who he is, not who I dreamed him to be, while fixing my eyes on our Creator first and foremost all the days of our lives. Only then will I finally have my happily ever after.
A BIBLICAL HAPPILY EVER AFTER
We are loved, cherished, approved. God has shared that with us over and over in the scriptures. If we stand in a position of already feeling fully known and unconditionally loved by our Father, we won’t need to extend an unrealistic, laundry list of expectations over our husbands. When we stand in confidence that God is the provider of our lives, we stand in love, mercy, grace and that will flow over into our marriages. Taking away any chance for strongholds, spiritual warfare, bitterness, and resentment to come between us. This is the happily ever after God has always desired for His children.