I have a complaint about this concept of the “end of the honeymoon.” I hear from all parts that inevitable disappointment awaits every bride after she has been married awhile. That all women feel it after the newness has worn off. When we are advised to adjust our unrealistic expectations. When we are advised to resign ourselves to his shortcomings.
Oh, I didn’t realize he was a human being. Why didn’t anyone tell me? It’s never supposed to occur to me that he might be noticing my shortcomings now too.
Christian sources tell us to make the best of our now permanently lowered expectations. Elisabeth Elliot, I suspect charitably attempting to meet women where they are, offered this advice:
A wife at that stage of marriage realizes this is not exactly the man she envisioned before the wedding ceremony. This person whom she thought was a prize package has turned out to be a surprise package. But the more you can offset the differences in your personalities and the way you respond to each other, the more you can learn to enjoy this man.
My husband once made the statement: “If a woman conceded the fact that her husband was perhaps up to 80 percent of her expectations, she ought to consider herself very lucky.” Still, what’s she going to do with the other 20 percent?
You can pick away at that 20 percent for the rest of your life, but you’re not going to reduce it by very much. One of the secrets of a good marriage is learning to accept with gladness the 80 percent you’ve got.
I have been married to my husband for 31 years and I seem to have missed the Disappointment Memo.
I am no idiot, I’m no marriage genius, and I’m just as human as anybody else. There are no rose-colored glasses. He is not perfect. He’s human.
We have been through the same sorts of challenges which are common to most marriages, as well as our own particular troubles. Undiagnosed chronic illness which included nine months in bed and all the attendant emotions and turmoil. We’ve raised six extraordinary and sometimes emotionally difficult people. (Sorry kids.) We’ve experienced extended unemployment, financial stress, depressions, sorrows, disappointments, and cosmic bewilderment.
We’ve seen each other at our worst. In marriage, this is absolutely inevitable. When you get married, you make a choice to face a future containing the most stressful, emotionally difficult times you will ever experience. You will work side-by-side at a life full of responsibilities that will be as much as you can bear. More than you bear; you will be overwhelmed. You will see the worst of each other.
How did we do this without becoming disappointed? You’ll have to ask him for his answer; I guarantee it will reflect well on him. How have I avoided disappointment?
It’s very simple. I never wanted to go there. I did not WANT to be disappointed. I did not want to believe negatives about him. I didn’t give myself the opportunity. It was intuitive and automatic. I didn’t think about it—I just did not do it.
WHY would I want to think that my companion for life was a disappointment? It sounds self-defeating to me.
I did not want to believe that I was better than him.
For a short-term feeling of superiority, we will plant seeds of discontent in our own gardens. God gives us the person he created to be our spouse from the foundation of the world, moves heaven and earth to help us find each other, and we choose to be disappointed.
Ah, but that little thing we can feel superior about…we can replay it over and over in our minds. We can relish that feeling of outrage and self-righteousness again and again. It’s really worth it, right?
Meanwhile, we can ever-so-slightly pull away from him, allowing that self-interested item to build a little wall between us. We can feel OK about not respecting him, on this issue at least. We’re justified. We’re being realistic. Because it would be foolish not to see it, right?
Foolish it is. Don’t I acknowledge that I have become ONE with my husband? I chose him. We two have become one, at once both a hardly-comprehensible mystical union formed by the hand of God, and a practical, functional team toiling about the real business of daily life on Earth.
How do I believe that, live it, and yet step aside and pull for myself, against him? It’s one way or the other.