Monday, July 20, 2015

Expectations in Marriage [The Soulmate and the Helpmate] - Part of the What I Wish I Knew Before I Got Married Series

I'm six weeks in to this vocation, this state of life, I've dreamed about my whole life.


I'm married to a man who is everything I never knew I wanted. My teenage self imagined a dark-haired country boy who would go fishing and plow fields and be like most of the country boys I grew up with. Yet here I am, madly and hopelessly and delightfully in love with a sandy-haired, green-eyed, city-boy husband. He goes fishing for souls, wears ties instead of boots, feeds the homeless on inner-city streets, and ignites a fire in the audience when he speaks.

I'm crazy about him.

Good thing I learned how to let go of expectations or I would have missed out. Big time. God really does know best.

Yet you know what else I'm learning? 
Expectations tend to creep up even in the happily ever after.

I'm finding most of them come from two ideal roles we as women think we should play in marriage: the Soulmate and the Helpmate.

There's pressure from the secular world to be his Soulmate. You fit perfectly together, a true match made in heaven. Same interests, tastes, hobbies, goals. Not a fight or tension or argument in sight. You stay up late into the night talking about your dreams together, not planning meals for the week or going to bed early because of your different work schedules. You might as well have a movie made about you, things are that perfect-- and if they aren't, then maybe you settled for less than your Soulmate!
Then there's the pressure from the conservative or spiritual side of things. I grew up an avid lover of books on Biblical womanhood and homemaking (and still am, actually!). So I was determined to be my husband's Helpmate. The one who would pray for him daily, make all the meals, and keep the house tidy. I think I'll even do some bread baking and throw in some laundry using my homemade soap and softener, of course.
Neither of those are bad scenarios. They're actually beautiful in their own way. They're just not realistic for every single day of marriage. And if we focus on one solely as our goal or ideal, we will always fall short because our marriages are meant to be uniquely written by the hand of God.

I still do want to be my husband's soulmate and his helpmate. Yet I want our marriage to look like ours. Not a Hollywood movie. Not a Christian womanhood book. 
But the story God wrote for us.
The best way to do that is to let go of expectations.
I'm learning to simply be my husband's helpmate by helping him in whatever way he desires-- it might be packing his lunch one morning. Another it might be helping him with a ministry project. But I'm asking and I'm listening and I'm learning--instead of assuming my ideas of helpfulness, or those in a book, are going to be what shows my love best to him.

I'm learning to be his soulmate by walking beside him on this journey to heaven together, learning to love him as Christ does. Loving his body, heart, and soul-- the whole person-- freely and totally and faithfully. And this kind of unconditional, sacrificial love that Christ teaches's more powerful and more beautiful than any Hollywood movie..and they say the ending is pretty stellar, too.
Where might you be allowing expectations to creep into your marriage?
Do you tend more towards the secular view of the 'soulmate' or the conservative pressure to be the perfect 'helpmate'?
How is God calling you to let go of your expectations and allow His unique plan for your marriage to unfold?
Laura currently works as a Cardiology nurse and is touched by the lives and stories of her patients. Her heart has been forever changed by her work with women in crisis pregnancy centers as a nurse sonographer. Her Faith story has been a long, beautiful journey of learning intimacy with a perfect God who wants our love, not our perfection. She married the man who makes her heart flutter and was willing to take on the task of leading her soul to Heaven. She's crazy about her husband, homemade cookies, Catholicism, anything DIY, the written word, authentic friendships, little moments, and living in the country.

1 comment:

  1. This is lovely. Your wedding picture is gorgeous. Expectations, the word that creates so much unhappiness for couples. Every couple needs to figure out their wants and needs and communicate it to their spouse. Lowering the expectations certainly makes for an easier road to drawing one another closer. Great read.


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