Marriage Monday: The Invisible Backpack


Marriage Monday: The Invisible Backpack

It’s been over 39 years since I went down the aisle and made the vow “til death do us part”. As I think back on that day, I consider the number of unrealistic expectations I took with me down that aisle. It was almost as if I had an invisible backpack strapped to my body…and inside it held the ugly and unquestionably problematic…unrealistic expectations.  

Oh, I am not even sure I was consciously taking these unrealistic expectations with me down the aisle. Nonetheless, they were there. And some of them were going to do their best to create some problems in my marriage.

Not all expectations are negative ones. But for the purpose of this post, the focus is on the unrealistic and unhealthy expectations. For me, these were expectations I had thrown into my backpack as I grew up. Expectations that my hubby would do jobs just like my Dad did them. Expectations that he would know birthdays were an important event and worthy of gift giving and celebration. Expectations that he would know when I was in need of some quality time. Expectations of him understanding my desire to pray together. The list could go on and on.

The reality is, my expectations were indeed baggage. They were baggage that needed to be addressed. There was a need for my husband and I to communicate with one another about these expectations. Because the reality was, many of our expectations didn’t fit the mold of what our marriage would like.

I needed to understand that my husband was not my Dad; his giftings are very different from my Dad and I need to accept and embrace those differences. I needed to communicate my ideas on birthdays, understanding that the ways of celebration and emphasis on such celebration in his family and mine were different. I needed to release the expectation of thinking my hubby should just “know” that I needed quality time with him; I could share with him my needs for this in a way that would benefit both of us. I couldn’t just expect that he knew I longed for him to pray with me; I again, needed to be honest and share this desire with him.

Are you holding onto unrealistic expectations for your spouse? Perhaps holding him to a standard you saw as a child in a romance movie. Maybe comparing him to your parent or grandparent. Are you evaluating your marriage based upon the marriage of your friends, or possibly, by the never-ending happy and unrealistic posts on social media?

Take time this week to check your backpack. What expectations can you release? Or what expectations can you pick out of the backpack, place on the table, and invite your spouse into your world for some meaningful conversation. Perhaps even offer a time of asking for forgiveness for holding onto expectations that should have never made it down the alter in the first place.

Have a wonderful week, and take some time to check out the marriage tips below.  I would love to hear how you were able to work through some of the unrealistic expectations in your marriage. Please feel free to leave a comment or question on the form below, or connect with me on Facebook and Instagram. I also send out a monthly email that includes a devotion, schedule of my speaking, and other words of encouragement. I’d love for you to be a part of what God is doing through the email group. That link is also below. Alright, enough chit-chat. Here are the tips for the week.

Intentional Tips for Strengthening your Marriage this Week:

*Take time alone to consider whether you feel you brought a backpack down the aisle that held expectations for your spouse that shouldn’t have been placed upon him/her.

*Forgive your spouse for placing unrealistic and unhealthy expectations on you.

*Ask your spouse if s/he has felt you had unrealistic expectations for them at any point it your marriage. And if so, do they feel those expectations are still alive or have them been dealt with? Discuss their response.

*Have a conversation with your spouse regarding healthy expectations. What are some expectations you can have for one another that will strengthen your marriage? What expectations do you need to throw out of the backpack?

*Remind yourself throughout the week to release the unrealistic and unhealthy expectations, while focusing on the positive traits your spouse has brought into the marriage.

Misty Cramer is an author & speaker who recently released her first book. The Every Day God, 40 Daily Devotions for Walking with God through Everyday Moments, quickly made its way to Amazon's #1 New Release and Best Seller lists in multiple categories. In this book, she authentically shares her own story to remind us all that God has a specific plan, even in the midst of life's messes. She has been married to Todd for 39 years and has five adult sons. While they enjoy their time as "empty nesters" in rural Michigan, they also love visits from their sons, two daughters-in-law, and two granddaughters. Misty sends out a monthly devotion as part of her newsletter, and she'd love to send it along to you. The link to subscribe to the devotion, as well as the link to Misty's book can be found below:

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 Misty Cramer © 2023

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