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

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.

M+C ring

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?
col

XO

Reflections of a Year Gone by

As I look back at the previous year I can divide it right down the middle and see two distinct times of my life. The first six months began with hopeful excitement and disbelief, but soon after those feelings came disappointment, sadness and regrets. Although this wasn’t a particularly enjoyable time of life I learned and I grew. The next six months I also learned a lot, and this helped me to grow as a person. Most of all  I gained confidence in myself and who God has created me to be. I don’t need anyone to validate me. I’m comfortable surrendering the plans of my life to God and going where He leads me.  Almost a year later I’m remembering the lessons I learned and trying not to repeat those steps.

Reflections of Year Gone Bye

May was a full month of really trusting God with providing summer employment. I learned to trust that God will always provide for our needs and often He will come through right when we think our situation is beginning to seem hopeless.

June to August was packed full of new experiences, many new people, a lot of time to just think and talk with people I never would have otherwise gotten to know. I also had a few low times during this period. I found it difficult to learn new tasks at work, I was exhausted, frustrated and trying to fit in and get to know my coworkers. It was at times a rough transition, there were times when I felt like crying and giving up. I know I am not a quitter and I have to rely on God’s strength to get me through each day. I learned my body is capable of way more than I ever thought possible, that I can push through the fatigue, the sweat and frustration.

As I began a new school year I took the lessons I learned from the summer and applied them to school. I went to the gym when I didn’t feel like it, I took fewer naps and wrote more notes. I did all those things that are boring and I didn’t feel like doing because I wanted to continue to feel proud of myself. My summer job was one of the proudest achievements I’ve had so far, and I want to continue that trend in my life.

Last Christmas was not the most wonderful time of the year for me. So this year I decided to do an Advent study my church recommended by John Piper called Good News of Great Joy. As I progressed through this study my understanding of the Christmas season intensified. Christ didn’t just come to earth as a vulnerable baby in a manger. He came to start his mission and ministry on earth. He came to suffer for us, to die on the cross and to rise again to sit at the right hand of God. His mission was not always easy, at times it was hard, but He obeyed God and His Father was well pleased with Him. Life isn’t easy or fun and we should expect hard times and disappointments. In these times we understand more of God’s character and we learn hard lessons. I would encourage you to never stop praying or reading your Bible, these are the only true sources of comfort and hope and really the only thing that keeps me going.

My year started off on a high note and it is ending off on an even higher note. Recently God has really blessed me. I never expected this to happen especially not the way it did. I can see God in the details. Nothing I did made these circumstances occur. I’m just so thankful this is how I’m starting my new year. It’s fun, new and exciting. I can’t wait to see what this next year holds!

 

 

XO

 

Happy New Year!