Letting Go of Unmet Expectations in Marriage

Unmet Expectations Lead to Dissatisfaction

A lot of the time life can feel unfair. Part of this feeling comes from expectations in marriage being unmet. I certainly expected my present circumstances to be different. I thought I’d work before having a baby, that I’d be in my own home, that I’d live near my family and friends. However, that’s not how life turned out. At times I feel jaded, sad and to be honest angry. I want control of my life.

Lately, I’ve been wrestling with this idea of control over my life. It doesn’t seem fair at times that the expectations of my current reality are unmet. I want to call the shots and know where my future is headed.

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Why You Should Actually Say Yes More Often

It may seem counterintuitive but I really think that instead of saying “No” more we need to start saying “Yes”.

Why You Should Actually Say Yes More Often

Why Should I Say “Yes” More Often?

First off life is short. No one knows exactly how many days are left of their life. Therefore we should use our limited time to the best of our ability.

Additionally, we shouldn’t be selfish in how we designate our time. I love this quotation my mom shared with me this past week from Beth Moore: “God what will you have me do today?”. Instead of getting caught up with the stress of life and letting it dictate our day what if we started our day asking what God would have for us? A simple mindset change can make a huge difference in how our circumstances are perceived. Plus when we intentionally look for ways in how God can use us we are less likely to feel like our life lacks purpose. This also leads to more fulfillment and a less self-centred approach to life.

Here are a few simple ways God can use you today:
  • send an encouraging text to a friend
  • bring a coffee to a friend or coworker
  • donate to a cause
  • smile to the people who serve you and be genuinely kind to them
  • give a generous tip
  • be a courteous driver
  • write down what you are grateful for and why
  • pay for the person behind you in the drive-thru
Relationships Matter

Secondly, relationships are the single most important aspect of life. Our number one relationship is with God as He teaches us how to love, forgive and treat others. He teaches us all people are created equal, to love our enemies (how easy is it to just love those that are kind to us?) and to forgive as we have been forgiven. He doesn’t demand us to follow a strict set of rules instead He gently calls us to follow Him as he teaches us how to live an abundant life.

In addition to our relationship with our creator is our relationship with His created-the people around us. Our family foremost, our friends, our church, our communities. Instead of pursuing things and success more than we pursue others what if we made a conscious effort to connect with just one person a week. Personally, I am so bad about this! I haven’t made it a habit to sit down once a week and just text or message someone important to me. I am aware of this and working to reach out to others more often. One benefit of connecting is feeling more fulfilled and it’s important for my mental health.

Plus I want to share my life with others, I want to build a strong community of people who will encourage me and keep me accountable.

What Are We Saying “Yes” To?

Our Marriages + Families

I firmly believe that a strong marriage is the basis of a strong family. Furthermore strong families lead to better societies. When children know their parents love each other they feel safe and secure. Now, this doesn’t guarantee a perfect family but it does avoid a lot of potential problems.

Furthermore, parents are the primary model for their children’s behaviour. I know this may seem intuitive but I see parents all the time who yell at their child for acting out when the parent is almost acting worse than the child. Children will mimic the behaviour they see demonstrated in the home. As a mom to be this really weighs heavy on me as I think about the habits and behaviours I want to work on. Such as complaining less. I find it so easy to see the negative in situations and I don’t want Baby K to be the same. I’m almost at the point where I’m going to write down “complain less” next to “take vitamin” on my refrigerator whiteboard so I don’t forget.

In order to have a strong marriage and family, we have to be willing to say “Yes” to our families desire for relationship.

Just the other day my husband had an appointment in Hamilton and after he was going to a park to play Pokemon Go. He asked me to join him on his trip so that we could spend time together after the appointment. Although Pokemon is not my most favourite activity I said yes. I reasoned that we only have so much time together so why would I say no to spending time with him. However, I also said yes because I wasn’t committed to any other activities for that day.  We have limited time together during the week so I wanted to take advantage of the extra free time we could enjoy together. I am not advocating to be a doormat and always say yes to your husband. I firmly believe in “Courtney time” and “Mike time”, it wouldn’t be healthy if we spent every waking moment together. Yet under the circumstances, it was advantageous for me to say “Yes”. I also know my husband appreciates that I’m willing to join him in an activity he enjoys.

The Little Things

Secondly, it’s important to say yes to the little things. Perhaps your child wants to play a game with you or your sister wants to have a movie night together and buy snacks. The moments I most regret saying no to are others invitations to spend time together. I may feel tired or the activity sounds boring but once I’m doing the activity it often turns out to be more enjoyable than I thought. Don’t be afraid to do things with others that seem silly or a waste of time, because at the end of the day what matters is the precious quality time you were able to spend together.

What Are We Saying “No” To?

Saying yes to a relationship with others means we have to say no to other less important things.

Technology

First off we need to say no to technology. The emails, tweets and Instagram captions can wait. I know a lot of families schedule a period of time where technology is not used.

Activities

Secondly, say “No” to too many activities. Another great tip I’ve heard is for families is to let each child participate in one sport or activity a season. This avoids overwhelming children with too many scheduled items and while allowing for spontaneous family fun. Additionally, parents should be aware of how much time they are committing to volunteering. Even if it’s a ministry activity, the families relational needs should always come first.

Say “Yes” to Quality Time and “No” to Wasted Time

Overall what I’m trying to say is that our time is precious. We don’t know how much time we have with those we love. Although it can be easy to not be intentional with our time it is imperative we make time for relationships.

My challenge to you is to say “Yes” to one thing somebody asks you to do with them this week.

Why You Should Say YES

What are some other things you think we should say “no” to?

How do you intentionally make time for relationships with others?

5 Ways to make Christmas more Meaningful

Christmas is a wonderful time of year but sometimes the commercialization of the Holiday can overwhelm the actual celebration. A few years ago I got tired of all the presents, pressure and performance associated with Christmas. I even tried convincing my family take a cruise instead of spending another year being surrounded by artificial evergreens and not enough presents. We ended up staying around for the holidays and I’m really glad we did because I met my husband, but more importantly, I reframed how I viewed the Christmas season.

I have a biblical worldview, I look at the world through what God has written in His word to us. This belief teaches that we are not just body and mind but we also possess a spirit. In order for Christmas to have a deeper meaning for me, I needed to connect it with my spirituality. That is why I chose to do a set of advent readings a few years ago. Going through this study prepared my heart to anticipate Christmas, not for the superficial but the saviour. This kickstarted a desire to find deeper meaning in this holiday. Beyond Advent, I attended several Christmas concerts where as I mentioned I met Michael.

xmas-cookies

1. Observe Advent

I used the John Piper advent study which you can find here to download

2. Attend a Church Event

  • Bethlehem Walk
  • Christmas Cantata
  • Play
  • Carol sing
  • Christmas Eve service

3. Reflect on why the season in meaningful for you

4. Establish a new tradition

  • Make a new type of Christmas cookie
  • Visit a Christmas Market
  • Attend a lighting ceremony in your community
  • Drive around with a special Christmas beverage (I’m looking at you Starbucks (; ) and look at Christmas lights

5. Give Back

  • Donate your time or money to serving others
  • Donate toys or coats to organizations collecting them
  • Invite singles, new families or those less fortunate over for dinner

Just Wait

Everything in life takes time.  Yet I want life to happen just like I’ve planned it:

  • Meet a cute guy
  • Date
  • Get married
  • Have kids

While I simultaneously:

  • Finish school
  • Secure an internship
  • Become an RD
  • Have a fulfilling career

Boom boom done!

Just Wait: learning to wait for God's best

 

I don’t want to wait for things to happen.

Yet, I’m learning day by day that you cannot plan life, you cannot expect things to be the way you thought they would. Summer jobs you planned on working may fall through-then what? Relationships may spring out of nowhere and totally surprise you! Either way, life is full of unexpected turns and trials. I bet you never thought you’d be where you are today a year ago. I certainly could never ever planned my life would be like it currently is. I’m learning to take things one day, one season at a time. It’s exciting not to know what the future holds. I know God has a plan for me, that He is revealing day by day. I just need to be faithful to trust and obey Him. I need to submit my will to His perfect will. It’s not easy because I want to know the roadmap for my life. I want to know who I’m going to marry when we’ll get married. That’s not the way life is.

I think of people like Joseph and David whom God had clearly promised to bless and raise to great positions of power. They were not automatically put into these high positions. It took years of crappy jobs, continual faith and obedience for them to reach their calling. It’s the same way with us. God has great plans for our life, but they aren’t going to happen overnight. We have to go through the struggles and the trials of life. Maybe He’s preparing us for our future roles. Maybe He’s trying to teach us patience and faith and how to be a servant before being a leader. Don’t expect things to happen quickly or easy. Honestly, the best things are worth waiting for like sex and babies. These things could be an incredible blessing or a regretful experience. Everyone has choices to make and we are all responsible for how we choose to conduct our lives. Think ahead to the future, think about the big overall picture. Not just the next week or month or hour. I know it’s so hard because we get caught up in the moment and we crave pleasure. This isn’t wrong, but we need to be mindful of our choices and of who they are going to affect.

All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. 1 Corinthians 6:12

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:3, 4

Marriage is a wonderful thing. It is something I highly desire and aspire to attain. As I ponder marriage I think of the couples that have gone before me. I think about the couples who just seem like they were truly made for each other and seem to have such an incredible bond. Then I think about how long they waited to marry each other. Sometimes they dated for three years and long distance. During all this time they had an intense desire to be together. Yet it wasn’t the right time for them to get married. Think about how sweet it is for them and their family and friends to finally see them commit to each other for life. It’s such a joyous celebration. Good things don’t come easy or fast. You must wait for them and seek them out.

Life is full of waiting. I’m learning to expect to wait. To wait on God, to wait for His perfect timing. I don’t want what I think is good or the best. I truly with all my heart want God’s best. This is so hard for me to accept sometimes, but it’s part of obedience and of dying to self. Yes, I greatly desire marriage and a family, and I don’t know when these things will happen. I know that I must wait and I will continue to wait. I don’t expect them to happen quickly or easily. When these desires come to fruition I know I will be deeply grateful and excited. Life doesn’t begin when you get what you’ve always dreamed about, perhaps it becomes sweeter and more enjoyable though. I think that every stage of life is better than the last (at least that’s been the case so far). As we get older we mature and determine what really matters to us most in life. Ultimately it’s relationships. Perhaps that is why marriage and a family of one’s own are so desirable because it’s the forming of new intimate relationships. Don’t we all crave to be known and deeply loved? A family is partly where these longings are filled. God created the family. He is a giver of good things. We always need to be pursuing God through reading His word and praying to Him. This is how He reveals His will for us. We, in turn, need to obey Him and do the hard things and make the sacrifices in order to please Him and live for something beyond our selfish selves.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me Philippians 4:13

I know life is hard, school is not enjoyable, waiting sucks and expectations ruin reality. Stop. Just wait on God. Seek Him with all of your heart, mind and soul. Obey Him, because you’re never going to regret it.

 

XO

P.S.

I think waiting is so hard because it feels like we’re wasting time, like life is passing us by while we could be experiencing things. This is one of the most frustrating parts of waiting, it seems as if life is going nowhere. We get so caught up with our timelines and our age. I would encourage you to not view time as a restraint. Instead just allow things to happen as they occur over constantly measuring your life against a timeline. You may be surprised that you feel more free and relaxed concerning the events of your life. This is the attitude I’m trying to adopt-to let life happen

 


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Click here to read: Thoughts on Singleness: How I Conquered Feeling Lonely, Unwanted and Not Good Enough