I married a man of many theories.
I should have known this was coming when at our rehearsal dinner his father quoted their family crest: “Often wrong, but never in doubt.”
Never before have truer words been said. And over the years, this little insight has proven both incredibly prophetic and incredibly maddening.
Josh’s theories are a matter of certainty for him. Until they he decides they are incorrect, that is.
Like that time when he determined that the fancy-schmancy mattress we bought was a fake. Someone had switched it in the warehouse, apparently. It was a conspiracy of serious implications because he was not experiencing the tempur-difference!
It’s years later now, and though he still brings it up occasionally, he seems to have finally learned to endure our phony, shamefully expensive, exquisitely comfortable memory foam cushion in gentle, snoring silence.
There is, however, one theory he holds that I have come to agree with 100 percent. It’s practically an Absolute Truth for our marriage, unfortunately. So true, in fact, it really should be inscribed somewhere more important than just this silly blog.
Here it is, according to my brilliant husband:
Most of the conflicts we experience (particularly as a married couple) result from unmet expectations.
Need a ‘for example?’ You know I have one.
Remember that time when I told you about how as a child I would listen at night to my dad locking up the house? I would lie in bed and hear his ankles popping and the locks clicking into place as he came down the hall, shutting us all in.
I felt safe and cared for, knowing that my dad’s final daily concern was to protect his family. For me, those locked doors equaled love.
Fast forward to marriage and to a husband who grew up in a household that didn’t lock their house at night. Now imagine the thoughts swirling in this girl’s foolish noggin, when, night after night, the locking up of the house was left to me.
Now, thankfully, the man I married is not a worrier and we live in a safe, quiet neighborhood, but that’s not the point. Locked doors equal love, remember?
That’s how my dad had done it. That’s how he should do it. ‘Cause that’s what all dads who love their families do, right?
But it didn’t matter. I had an expectation of Josh.
It was not met.
Conflict followed. (And, as usual, it was the ugly kind.)
So, not to give Josh a big head or anything, but does this not pretty accurately describe the root of most of our problems with God?
God didn’t answer that prayer the way I wanted him to. = My expectations were not met. = I became frustrated. = Prayer does not work.
He didn’t stop me from having a miscarriage. = My expectations were unmet. = He disappointed me. = God must not be good.
He didn’t heal that sickness. = Expectation unmet. = I am angry at God. = He is not love.
There’s a common denominator here. In almost all cases where we have some kind of beef with our Creator it goes back to one thing.
He didn’t do what I thought he should do.
But there’s also a major difference.
God is not the same as fallible Josh who forgets to lock the front door even though I’ve asked him nicely 15 times.
God is not the same as me who occasionally gets lazy and simply chooses not to pair the socks coming out of the dryer even though for some reason it’s really important to my husband.
God is not the same as you. Or your spouse. Or whoever else has not lived up to your expectations.
God sees the End. And for him, the End always justifies the means.
He can leave us in the dark, and that’s okay.
He is God, and this is the stuff of faith.
Where we can only see a mess or an unanswered prayer or a disappointing outcome, he is working quietly to finagle something good, something beautiful, something worth all the fuss of living on this earth.
Because He is God. He promises it.
What point would there have been for Jesus to die on the cross if he didn’t have an End in mind that was all worth it? (And this is the place where Jesus stops being just a ticket to heaven and starts being the Everything that sustains us while we wait in faith.)
He is God.
He does not have to meet our expectations.
Because, in the End, he will exceed them.
What about you? Where has God already exceeded your expectations?
Those dang unmet expectations! Truly you hit the nail on the marriage head! When I figured it was about my need and not about what my hubby did or did not do…. And learned to communicate said need, my marriage was much smoother. Lol! It is easy to blame others and or God, when who we really need to examine is that person in the mirror. God is good all the time! I only run into trouble when I forget that.
I know. And it’s so easy to forget. Thanks for validating that I’m not the only one with this problem! 😉
I needed this today Hannah. Thank you. I always read your blog and love it, but today it hit home.
Thank you for reading, Sage. I’m glad God was able to use it. 🙂
Wonderful post! What a great comparison of unmet human expectations with a perfect God who knows every detail of our tomorrows. When we have unmet needs and desires, we always try to put the pieces together and figure it all out. Trusting God is our only hope and encouragement.
You’re right, Elaine. My poor husband has gotten the brunt of my many failings when it comes to placing unrealistic expectations on someone. Thank goodness God is so kind (and gives us such kind husbands!)