Letting Go of Unmet Expectations in Marriage

A lot of the time life can feel unfair. Part of this feeling comes from expectations 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 my expectations of my current reality are unmet. I want to call the shots and know where my future is headed.

Instead of trusting in God’s timing.

Instead of submitting to my husband’s leadership over our family.

Instead of dying to self daily. 

I don’t want to give more grace or forgiveness or understanding or kindness than is being shown to me in return. When as a Christ follower that is exactly what I’m supposed to do. I’m supposed to follow Jesus example and be kind and tenderhearted and forgiving to those who mock me or treat me wrong. Yet my flesh fights so hard against what I know the spirit wants me to do. Consequently, I often give into the flesh because it’s easy and I’m tired.

My dissatisfaction with certain aspects of my life spiral into a cycle of being miserable. If I’m not happy my thinking is why should the people around me be happy too (the people that I care about and love most). Therefore I’m going to complain, nag and not be as grateful as I should. In my sinful and selfish heart, I want to make it known how I feel.

The common thread here is “I”. Being that I’m married and it’s no longer just “I” but two people striving to be one, I can’t continue living my life through a single self-centred lense.

Yes, it’s not fair that I can’t sleep through the night because I have to feed our precious baby from my healthy and fully functional body. It’s also not fair that my husband has to shoulder all of the financial burdens of our family. I’m only giving one simple example of how our life together isn’t always fair in our share of duties, I could go on. Trust me I’m pretty good at keeping a list of how unequal our contributions are (at least that how it feels sometimes).

I always thought I’d be that wife that wouldn’t mind giving more than I’m getting in return. In reality, I’m actually pretty selfish and would rather be served than serve. At the core of dying to self is serving others. True service like Jesus demonstrated is done out of love without an expectation of receiving anything back in return. Often I want recognition, praise or a returned favour. To me, that’s fair-to give and then get. However, that’s not what I’m called to do.

Perhaps so much of my unsatisfaction which stems from unmet expectations could become obsolete if instead, I decided to truly serve without expectation. If I’m only living for the praise of men I’ll have received my reward here instead of a true reward from God.

Too often I’m focused on earthly things, the day to day minutiae instead of an eternal perspective. Where the annoyances that seem so monumental are less irrelevant than they seem and perhaps they are meant to sanctify me. If life was easy and fun and comfortable I wouldn’t need to change anything or question how I could improve. It’s beneficial to me in light of eternity and becoming more like Jesus to undergo unfavourable circumstances.

I want to resolve to have a changed perspective during 2018. I want to remember that “hard is not the same thing as bad”, to die to self as I serve my family and to live for the praise of my heavenly Father over the temporal praise of men.


Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Galations 1:10

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Galations 2:20

Letting Go of Unmet Expectations in Marriage | Courtney Kramer

5 Traits I’m Glad I Didn’t Settle on in my Husband Newlywed Reflections~Month 7

To read the rest of this series click here: Newlywed Reflections

The last month has not been fun. Between the end of the semester deadlines and ongoing car trouble, I’ve been struggling to not feel overwhelmed and stressed. At the same time, I’m incredibly grateful to our family for helping Mike and me over the past month. Even as an adult I still need my parents sometimes <3

Although the last month has been challenging emotionally, mentally and physically I’m so thankful I have the husband I do. God blessed me with an incredible guy

5 Traits I'm Glad I didn't Settle on in My Husband

  1. Positivity

    Mike emanates a positive attitude each day. Although he works a minimum 12 hour day and has to get up before 4am he always comes home happy to see me and with a grateful attitude for all God has provided. He doesn’t let the stress of life overwhelm him to where he can’t still make me laugh in the evenings. He chooses to accept that this is what life looks right now and he has to keep moving forward instead of complaining about how things could be different. A partner who sees life with the glass half full makes going through rough times so much more bearable. Especially when I get easily overwhelmed in all that’s going wrong.

  2. Work Ethic

    One thing I have always admired about Mike is his dedication to giving his best effort in whatever task he’s completing. Whether it’s washing the dishes, cleaning his paintball gun or fixing our cars he always does a thorough and complete job. This trait applies to more than just menial tasks, I can see it in the way he approaches our relationship and his job. Mike takes time to listen to my thoughts, to pray for us and seek wise counsel. Most importantly his work ethic enables him to be the provider God called him to be.

  3. Spiritual Leadership

    The number one thing that drew me to Michael was his sincere faith. I could tell after talking to him and spending time together that God was an integral aspect of his life. Recently I’ve seen this article floating around about pursuing a Christian man vs a Christian boy and I wholeheartedly agree! Ladies do not settle for a Christian boy. You will regret it. When things get hard, as they have been for us over the past few months, our faith has been the thing we have leaned on. Especially prayer.  Not only has our faith brought us through tough times it has brought us so close together. I remember one difficult evening where we prayed together and I felt so close and connected after bringing everything to God together. Ultimately our relationship is only earthly, our lasting relationship is with our heavenly Father.

  4. Learning from mistakes

    We are all far from perfect, I daily make mistakes and do things I regret. I accept that Michael makes mistakes and always will. What is important is seeing my husband own up to his mistakes and taking it as a learning lesson. I often have to do the same. Not only is this a humbling experience but it teaches us to forgive each other. Don’t look for a flawless person, seek a partner who acknowledges where they need to improve and are working on themselves.

  5. Authenticity

    Anyone who knows Mike knows he is not afraid to speak the truth. He will tell you like it is and you can trust his opinion. He does this because he genuinely cares about people and wants to help. He is always there for his friends or family that need him. Mike will drive an hour and a half to be with a buddy that is going through a rough time. He’s constantly building others up and encouraging their abilities. Seek a mate who is not afraid to be authentic and notice how he treats those closest to him.

Click here to read:
 Newlywed Reflections~Month 6: How I Learned to Cherish Each Moment Through Loss and Uncertainty

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Newlywed Reflections~Month 8: The Only Good Thing

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Photo: Camille Marie Photography

Why You Should be Willing to Love What Your Spouse Loves Newlywed Reflections~Month 3

To read the rest of this series click here: Newlywed Reflections

Yay 3 months, a quarter of a year! Time is just flying by.

This summer has been pretty busy between birthdays, tournaments, work, bachelor/bachelorette parties, family and just keeping up with life. It has also been one of the greatest summers filled with late-night adventures, long walks, kisses in the rain, exploring Ingersoll, hiking through forests in London, watching movies, learning to drive standard (!!), our first IKEA trip, long late talks, dinners with friends, fast car rides and sunset watching.

Another recent addition to our summer has been the game Pokemon Go. Before you judge me, let me explain. First, a lot of our adventures and exploring has been due to Pokemon. As certain areas are more likely to contain Pokemon or have a Pokestop which provides items for the game. Additionally, more rare Pokemon can be caught at night. Walking a certain amount of kilometres is needed to hatch eggs in the game. As a result we’ve hunted Pokemon in London at the mall, St. Peter’s Seminary, Ivey Park, Victoria Park, and Western University, at Gage Park in Hamilton, downtown Woodstock, all over Ingersoll, up in Montsell Beach at Mike’s dad’s and Victoria and Waterloo Park in Kitchener and Waterloo.

 

Why You Should Be Willing to Love What Your Spouse Loves

Another benefit to playing this game together besides the exercise is the time we get to spend together talking and having fun. Instead of watching a movie together or doing our own thing, we are outside either in our own neighbourhood or exploring a new park. Pokemon go is a catalyst for meaningful conversation. At the same time, we’re working towards increasing levels of our game. To be honest I usually would not be into this type of game. One of the main reasons I’m playing it is because my husband is so into it. I want us to be together and have shared experiences. Additionally, it’s a free activity. Overall it’s a win-win for both of us. Mike is happy I’m playing Pokemon with him and I’m happy we’re together and getting time to talk. Even if you or your spouse is not into a game like Pokemon, it’s important to be willing to partake in something your partner really enjoys. One thing I’ve picked up from the blog Beating 50 Percent written by Jeremy and Audrey Roloff is that if your spouse loves something there’s something you can find to love about it too.

There is something powerful about being willing to love something you wouldn’t normally love, for the sake of the person you love.

~Audrey Roloff

I try to have that attitude when Mike is excited about something or wants to try something new. I may not always be the best at it or understand it at first but I try to be willing and open to experience it. I’m really glad we play Pokemon Go together, it’s a fun challenge, we are spending lots of time outside in this beautiful weather and most importantly it’s a platform that has helped us spend more time together.

Here are a few pictures and a video of our adventures.

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XO

 Click here to read:
 Newlywed Reflections~Month 2: I thought I’d be a Perfect Wife

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Newlywed Reflections~Month 4: Why Marriage is Hard but Still Good 

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Photography: Camille Marie Photography 

I Thought I’d be a Perfect Wife Newlywed Reflections~Month 2

To read the rest of this series click here: Newlywed Reflections

I Thought I’d be a Perfect Wife…

I’m using a bit of hyperbole here, but I thought I would be a whole lot better at this wife thing. I’ve read marriage books, listened to countless Focus on the Family Podcasts, read blog after blog on all issues surrounding marriage and heard a multitude of sermons on the topic in addition to my personal study of marriage within the Bible. People encouraged me that I’d be such a great wife one day. I went into marriage with all this confidence and skill…

I Thought I'd Be A Perfect Wife

Then reality happened and at times pride got in the way of my idealist goals. At the core I expected things to be different. I know expectations are a set up for failure and dashed hopes. Alas, they are inevitable. At times I’ve felt jaded that we didn’t get more time together to do normal things like eat dinner together and chill. Other times I’ve appreciated our separation because I treasure our moments together so much more. A couple weekends ago I was driving with Mike to go get food and I was just so happy. That was our first time alone together for almost a whole week. I just missed being in his presence.

Nonetheless, this plight of mine is only reflective of a short 3.5 month season. I’m sure the next season of work and school this coming fall will bring its own challenges. In addition, I’m sure my exposure to other young married couples on social media isn’t helping my expectations. It seems that some couples spend endless amounts of time together going on spontaneous picture perfect adventures on a regular weekday. Consequently, I fall into the trap of comparison and jealousy very easily. As a result, I get down and feel unappreciative of my incredibly blessed and fortunate circumstances.

Dashed expectations regarding lack of time together are not my sole “challenge”. I thought I would be better as a wife. I know I’m only two months in, but I thought I was ready for this wife thing. Before marrying I worked on my #wifeskills like cooking, cleaning, and hosting to prepare for the domestic side of being a wife. Although I’m still figuring out how to manage a household. These proficiencies are only superficial yet beneficial skills to possess. I thought I’d be better at the relational aspects. Perhaps I shouldn’t be too hard on myself because I’ve never been married and I’ve only dated Mike. Yet, this whole relationship/partner/spouse thing has been a huge learning curve. One can learn stuff about marriage and relationships indefinitely but on a real life “living it out level” it is so. much. different. What one can’t prepare for are the dynamics of one’s relationship or the type of person one is going to be with. As it is Mike and me are different in many unexpected and delightful ways. Therefore I could only prepare for a certain level of a marriage relationship but certainly not the unique day to day challenges until I knew who I was marrying. Thankfully our pre-marriage counselling with our pastor did help tremendously to prepare for the specifics of our marriage relationship. Nonetheless, I had to experience marriage to truly understand the intricacies involved.

Pridefully, I thought I knew how to be a “perfect wife”. For example, I knew that men need respect, so make sure to affirm them. Or don’t be a nagging wife, prepare his favourite foods often, let him unwind after work, fulfill his physical needs willingly and with passion, look good for him when he comes home, communicate your needs and expectations… My brain is filled with these tidbits of advice. They are beneficial, but not always specific to my relationship. I can be checking off these boxes but neglecting real areas that I need to work on.

Overall, the biggest lesson I’ve learned this month is to take a deeper more realistic look at my life and not compare it to others. Which is soo hard!

As I was spending time with my grandparents this week who have been married for over 5o years I observed that marriage is about serving each other and going through seasons where you’re both working a lot and may not always get the luxury of unlimited quality time together. That’s okay because Lord willing you have the rest of your lives together. I want to purpose to enjoy every season God has so graciously blessed me with.

Click here to read:
 Newlywed Reflections~Month 1: What Surprised me About our First Month

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 Newlywed Reflections~Month 3: Why You Should be Willing to Love What Your Spouse Loves

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Photography: Camille Marie Photography 

What Surprised Me About our First Month of Marriage Newlywed Reflections~Month 1

To read the rest of this series click here: Newlywed Reflections

As of June 7th, Michael and I have been married for one month!! When we were engaged time seemed to move super slow, since we’ve been married time has flown by! Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about this past month and what I’ve learned, been surprised about or am grateful for. I wanted to share some early things I’ve been learning as a newlywed <3

What Surprised Me About Our First Month of Marriage

Things that surprised me:

How immediately our relationship felt different

After our reception, I was waiting for Mike to change out of his tuxedo and I felt sort of lost. I didn’t know where I belonged. I couldn’t wait with my parents because I was married and they just gave me away. I just had this feeling of separateness now that Michael is my husband. We were a new family. We belonged together. It was a strange and unexpected feeling.

On the other hand the next day it felt so normal being with Mike, yet very different at the same time. For example, we went shopping at Forever 21 except this time we were spending our money and I was with my husband. It’s such a hard feeling to explain, but our relationship just felt so solid and strong. I wasn’t just shopping with my boyfriend, I was with my husband.

Being together feels different especially around other people. I feel more confident with him by my side and less awkward.

Real life is better than the honeymoon

We had a wonderful honeymoon in Cuba, I’m so grateful we were able to get away. I miss the evenings where we would sit out on our balcony reading the Bible and our devo books together and just talking and watching Fernando the gecko. At the same time, the reality of life always looms over one’s head while on vacation. Honestly, I was really looking forward to returning home. I wanted to experience everyday life with Michael. To live in our apartment together and go shopping for our home. The first few days back after our vacation was just fun and blissful in a different way.

How much I miss him when we’re apart.

Honestly, I’m glad we’re not together all the time. I need Courtney time and he needs Mike time. At the end of the day, I’m so ready to come home to him. The past few days Mike has been away visiting his dad. I’m grateful he can spend some one on one time with his father especially after all the stress of his AZ course these past few weeks, but I have really missed him these past few days. It’s been so quiet, I miss hearing his voice and silly remarks. At the same time, I’m learning to lean on God for comfort and support when I start to feel sad.

Things I’m grateful for

  • How secure I feel in our relationship like we’re not going to break up if something goes wrong
  • Having freedom
  • How much I anticipate going home to Michael and our home
  • Being independent
  • Goodbye is never really goodbye
  • Being a team, when I go to work it’s for us, I’m helping contribute to our financial goals
  • His family feels like my family. I feel a stronger bond with Mike’s family since being married.
  • Michael is the sweetest husband ever! Honestly, I’m so blessed.
    • One day I came home from work and he had made me supper and did the dishes. He was also about to make the bed which he never does.
    • He’s brought me breakfast in bed a couple times.
    • Taking care of me when I wasn’t feeling well
    • When I cough in the night and he asks if I’m okay
    • Checking the oil in my car before I leave
    • Installing things for our house
    • Organizing our stuff while I’m gone
    • Being the best at dishes and cleaning up
    • Making sure I have everything I need

Things I’m learning

I can’t look to Michael to define me, complete me or validate me. I know this, but it’s a lot harder to accept it on an everyday level. I’m learning to seek my worth from God. He says I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). I’m in the midst of learning this truth and it’s really hard because I struggle with insecurity and feeling not good enough. I know that to be a good wife to Michael I first need to have a solid relationship with God. One where He is working in my heart to change the things that need to change. I’m so grateful that God brings us through situations where he grows our faith. I don’t want to remain stagnant in my walk with Him.

Things I’m looking forward to

  • Having lots of babies (;
  • Buying a house
  • Both of us getting started in our careers
 Click here to read: Newlywed Reflections~Month 2: I thought I’d be a Perfect Wife

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Photography: Camille Marie Photography 

Happy New Year!

I cannot believe the year I experienced. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined such a year. I honestly thought I wouldn’t be getting married till I was like 28 and working and living on my own. I’m so thankful my dreams came true <3

I’ve learned and grown and experienced so much this year. It’s hard to sum things up. To start I began the year with my very best friend since grade 6 Amanda who is now my maid of honour. We celebrated surrounded by young people from her grandfather’s church in a small community centre in Plattsville. I also tried curling for the first time and was huge clutz as I fell several times on the ice. #SOML.

With the dawn of the new year was the dawn of a new relationship with my love Michael on January 23. From there, things progressed until the summer when I knew I didn’t want to spend my life without him. He proposed August 21 in Niagara Falls. Honestly, I’ve never been in a relationship before and it felt like a huge learning curve for me. I’ve learned so much about myself and life. It challenges you when you’re around someone so different from you but who also loves you soo much and wants the best for you.  I’ve learned to be a better listener, I’m continually learning to communicate better and what a godly relationship looks like through our pre-marriage counselling. I’m very quiet and reserved and Mike is very to the point and outgoing. He’s taught me a lot and encouraged me to speak up and be brave around people.

I’m really looking forward to this next year together with Mike and all the new experiences we will share.

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Photo: Katie Kramer Photography

Another change I experienced this year was switching my program of study. I’m no longer on the path to become a dietician. I switched from pursuing a BSc to a BA in nutrition and families. I’m in the same program minus the science component. Instead, I will be a professional home economist(PHEc) when I graduate. My goals right now are to pursue a job within an agricultural marketing board such as the Pork or Dairy Board of Ontario. In this role, I would educate consumers on how to prepare and properly store various products, test recipes, and write articles. My long-term goals are to contribute to a magazine, work in a test kitchen and blog about food. Ultimately I would like to work from home and be free to take care of my family.

The change in program was much needed as the fall semester has gone better than any of my previous ones. My marks are much higher and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of my classes. I’ve been able to take psychology, the psychology of eating, parenting and a few others. I’m looking forward to where God takes me over the next few years career-wise.

“God gives us passions that connect with His heart”.

Recently I was listening to a podcast by Authentic Intimacy called Java with Juli. In the episode, the ladies were discussing pursuing your dream vs pursuing God’s dream. The takeaway I took from it was we have to step out and obey God and allow Him to work through us. We must be willing to step away from what we think we should be doing. Erin Smalley a lady on the panel gave an example of where she had started giving marriage seminars with her husband. For her public speaking was not enjoyable but at her husband’s encouragement she began to get better and even enjoy it. She had gone back to school got a Masters in counselling. Everything seemed to be going very well. Then God granted a desire she had had since she was a child to adopt a little girl. She said it was very difficult and hard to let go of this new passion and she didn’t understand why God was bringing this new season of being a stay at home mom again into her life at this exact time. She shares how God brought the provision of a girl to care for their children allowing her to go back out and speak. She had to lay down her dream in order for God to work His bigger purpose for her life. In conclusion, we should ask God how can we join in the work He is already doing?

Honestly, what is life without God, without pursuing His will and purposes for our life? I’ve had some ups and downs this year. I’ve had times where I felt conflicted and times where I didn’t act like myself. I thought about things and I came the conclusion that I want what God wants for my life. To honour him with my actions not to pursue to the flesh or act out in rebellion or immaturity. I may not always have the most fun or be the most exciting person. At the end of the day, I can rest knowing I obeyed God and put Him first.

Yes, I have dreams and passions and desires and goals for this New Year. Overall I want to ask God what He has in store for me, where can I be used by Him? How can I be a good example to those around me? I want to be more disciplined with my devotional time, I want to pray more intentionally and I want to get involved at Church. I want to be a suitable helper to Michael. I want to do well in school and finish strong.

What are your goals for 2016?
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XO

Encouragement for Single Women

A lot of times I feel very discouraged that I haven’t met the right guy or have never been in a relationship. Especially when I see other couples holding hands, working out at the gym together or at a party. It’s hard not to feel sad and lonely. When I’m feeling down I try to remember these tips:

 

It’s not a competition

Every guy is looking for certain character or personality qualities in a woman. Such as high moral standards, integrity, hard work, thoughtfulness or determination. For most guys, these are the non-negotiable qualities. You may have certain unique qualities that another woman does not. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, embrace who you are and don’t be jealous of other women.

Of course, you may be more attractive to one guy if you enjoy sports, but the attraction has to go deeper than surface things for a lasting relationship.

Always be yourself, be genuine, and be honest.

You’re not better than all the other women in the room

When you’re with your friends don’t try to distract a guys attention to yourself, be a wing woman and help your friends out.

 Keep a proper and balanced view of yourself, often times I’ll compare myself to other women. I’ll think I’m prettier or nicer than her and this guy should go for me over her. I’m not perfect and neither is she, but we are both valuable and worthy to be loved, neither one of us is ‘better’. Instead, come from a place of humility.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. Philippians 2:3

  Pursue your dreams, goals, and aspirations

Instead of waiting around for a guy to complete your life, chase after something that inspires you. It could be finishing your bachelor’s degree and getting a Masters or simply volunteering once a week with the homeless. For me, I would love to have a family and be a stay at home mom. At this point that is not what I’m able to do. Instead, I’m working towards my BSc to become a dietician. My focus is on University and studying. Although it’s not the most exciting thing, I have a goal in mind and I’m working hard to achieve it.

Plus, you will appear more interesting to a guy if you have a life and interests of your own.

 Don’t over analyze every situation…guys are simple

Don’t look for little signs to see if he notices you or is giving you extra attention…

…if he wants it to be more, he’ll ask you out.

If a guy asks you out for coffee, it’s just coffee nothing more.

Take it one step at a time and enjoy the process.

Too often I read into a guys attention because I want it to be more, I want it to mean something. Most times I’m left jaded and disappointed, over time I’ve learned to not get my hopes up and just wait patiently and prayerfully for a guy to initiate.

If a guy does ask you out for say coffee or lunch, he’s not asking to marry you. He just wants to spend some time getting to know you, to build a friendship. It’s important to hold back and keep an aura of mystery about yourself. Let the guy ask questions, let him pursue your heart.

This past summer I was chatting with a guy at work, and as we were talking it got more and more personal. I just briefly knew this guy, and I thought I don’t need to know his whole life story, I can just take things slowly and get to know a little more about him everytime we chat. Don’t try to be in a rush to get to know a guy. Let the stories unfold slowly.

 God is only asking you to be single for today

I find it so easy to get caught up worrying about the future. I’ll flip from imagining my dream life to contemplating a dreary future alone with nobody to share life with. In reality, I don’t know what the future holds. At the end of the day, I trust that God has a plan for me and He is good. I can only take life one day at a time. I always try to thank God every day for what I have, like my health, good food, a loving family, the ability to go to University…It’s so easy to get caught up in what I don’t have. I believe this is a lie Satan wants us to believe, the if only, then I would be satisfied lie. Envy is a sin and contentment is a difficult lesson to learn. I can only take life one day at a time. I need to remember that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Romans 3:23). I’m not walking through life alone, I have Christ and He is always by my side.

 But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 1 Timothy 6:6-8

Life can be disappointing when it doesn’t happen on our terms. We may not date the guy we want to when we want to or get the job we want. However, life is better when we surrender our desires and our plans to God. When we say to God “lead me in the direction You have for my life”. Ultimately His plans are better than we can think or imagine.

For more encouragement click here to read To the Ladies in Waiting

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