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Marriage Killer #1

I’m absolutely “crazy” in love with my husband. In fact, I think sometimes people get sick of hearing me talk about how wonderful he is. I’m ashamed to say I haven’t always felt this way. And I definitely haven’t always treated him with the love a wife should give her man.

As we’re focusing on marriage for a few weeks, I’m being brutally honest and sharing with you some things I’ve learned the hard way. Probably none of you entered marriage with such a self-centered immature perspective as mine. Hopefully, you won’t recognize yourself as I share, but in case there are a few out there who struggle as I did—these posts are for you.

Today, I’m starting with the first of five ingredients that can kill a marriage:

  • Unrealistic Expectations
  • The Control Factor
  • Vain Imaginations
  • Condescension
  • Harboring Hurt

Unrealistic Expectations

I didn’t grasp the “big picture” when I entered into my marriage covenant. I was thinking romance, sunset walks holding hands, cuddling together on the couch. Basically I thought marriage was going to be something like a fifty-year date! I had a rude awakening.

Reality settles in quickly, and a young bride can end up crushed with disappointment if she enters marriage with unrealistic expectations. Some of mine were:

  • Expecting my young husband to instinctively “know” how I was feeling. (“Surely he can read my mind?”)
  • Expecting “love” to be a natural reaction rather than a fruit of the Spirit that must be chosen and cultivated.
  • Thinking he would be as romantic as I am. (Hmmm … I didn’t know much about men yet.)
  • Expecting him to have my father’s depth of wisdom and maturity (at 22 years old!).
  • Thinking he would “think like me.” (I think more like him now.)
  • Thinking he would “be like me.” (I’m so glad he’s not!)

I don’t really have enough blog space to keep going, but I think you get the idea. My point is, I had unrealistic expectations about marriage, and they all centered around me. What I wanted. How he made me feel. What he could do for me. Basically I went into our marriage thinking it was all about me, instead of realizing marriage is all about God.

So here’s the big picture:

  • Marriage is God’s plan for displaying the blazing glory and beauty of the gospel.
  • The canon of Scripture begins and ends with a wedding ceremony.
  • Marriage was God’s idea for His great purpose.
  • Marriage provides a physical picture of the spiritual reality: the love relationship between Christ and His bride, the church (Ephesians 5:22-33).

Marriage is a thrilling, fun, joy-filled, exciting adventure and gift from God, but along with this privilege comes the responsibility of showing the world an example of God’s covenant with us through our marital union.

What about you—did you understand the “big picture” when you married your man? How are you showing the world the beautiful picture of redemption through your marriage?

Next week, we’ll look at the rest of the “marriage killers” on my list!

Originally posted 08.10.09 at www.truewoman.com.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

11 Comments

  • Naomi

    I wish I would have encountered your story and wisdom 17 years ago when I married. I didn’t have any idea what being a wife was all about. I was clueless. I knew we both were christians and I thought everything else would be fine. Boy! was I so wrong. I didn’t have any examples of a good, Godly marriage demonstrated before me when I was growing up. So, how would I know. Therefore, I had to learn through trial and error. However, the mistakes were so great that it appears it has cost me my marriage. My husband and I have been separated. He’s informed me that he has filed for a divorce. I’ve prayed and others prayer warriors have prayed along with me that God would work a miracle in this marriage. Unfortunately, it appears that God is going to allow divorce. God is still worthy to be praise and my pain has purpose. I have one daughter 25 and two sons 20 and 16. I am sharing my knowledge of marriage with them constantly with hopes that they won’t ever have to feel the pain of this loss. I told my daughter I want her to read your book when I’m done. Thank you Kim for sharing your life with us.

    Blessings to you,

    Naomi

  • wilma

    I married a bit late in my 30’s and i have This idea That mariage Is everything Will Be smooth and He Will meet all my needs and He Will Say yes to all my request oh boyyy i was wrong!but thank God in early on God show me and let me realize about life in mariage Is not all about me me me it about team work in able for us to have a mariage That God’s plan.My husband listen to Your story through focus on the family , and hoping to get your book to study in Our couples group we are like 20 couples in Our group and sure Will benefit in This study looking forward to Read more of your experience my God bless You ricly.

  • Nenaru

    Wow! That’s all I can say is Wow. Next month is going to be 1 year since I’ve been married and it has been one year of struggling who will have control. I am a fierce woman who has attained so much in her career prior to her marriage. I am the woman everyone in the family come to cry on the shoulder and I give hope and encouragement to. But, the love of my life, my husband I have become the torn in his flesh, the one that have left him hopeless and brought him into the shackles of everything he has value over the past year because of my own confused desire of what my role is in our marriage. I love God, my husband loves God and we both have a great desire to do well for our marriage and to help our community.

    However, we cannot agree on anything in our home. The only thing we agree on that we absolutely love each other, and also agree that we both are getting weak and losing hope. My husband ask me if he can leave without a divorce out of the country he just wants to get away from me. He is planning to leave me and my ego is saying let him go, but my heart desires my husband to stand with me and continue fighting this rocky road and break through this steal wall of emotions that I have created in our home.

    These days sure are dark days in our marriage, but I believe God is making a change in me. He is stripping me of everything that I hold dear to my ideas on how things ought to be and this desire for me to control his child my husband.

    He lead me here by accident couple days ago. My dog was in the car and he was running around in the front seat and accidentally switch the radio station on to Focus on the Family, when I heard Kim speak. I didn’t know who you were, but I wrote your name down to Google who you were. I came to your site two days ago and I can’t leave it. I found hope, I found a new strength and I found wives with similar struggles and triumph. I don’t know how to submit and release control, but I know I will try. I love my husband, I love God and I truly believe there’s hope for me to learn how to be a Wife in Christ.

    I pray for all the young wives out there who is where I am at that we all become fierce Women in Christ.

    I just ordered your book and I will read it. There’s hope. God changes people and God changes things.

  • Brittany

    I am glad I found you when I did! I am in my third year of marriage… the first two having rocky times but mainly blissful; date nights every night; plenty of quality time; zero stress… Then introduce baby number 1. This past year has been very hard on me and my husband and I am sad to admit I see myself a lot in your description of marriage killers. I heard you and your husband speak on the radio, I have read your excerpt on “Fierce Woman”, I’ve ordered your book and I am anxiously awaiting your follow-up blog posts on marriage. In seeking God and reflecting on my heart/actions/fierceness I can see now I am not building up my husband, instead I am breaking him. I want nothing more than continue to grow and be the best wife I can be. Thank you for sharing and 100% it couldn’t have been easy to be so raw and real with the world. Praying for you and looking forward to continuing to learn and grow in God.

  • Penelope

    Naomi, I am so sorry for the situation in which you find yourself. I want to give you some hope.
    I also found myself facing divorce and I was devastated. The hardest part was that I knew that I was the cause. When I went to my bible and read in 2nd Peter the attributes of a good wife, I was so ashamed. I knew that I was NONE of those things for my husband.
    My husband moved out and I was left to face what I had done.
    In my study of God’s word I came across Malachi 2:16. The Lord hates divorce and marital separation.
    As I prayed everyday, I thanked Him for giving me a chance to learn to trust Him even if I did get divorced but I would claim this scripture and also my marriage in the name of Jesus everyday. I believe with every fiber of my being that He will restore your marriage. He HATES divorce!!!! Why would HE allow it?
    The Lord restored my marriage and it is better than when we started 15 years ago. He loves you and your marriage. Turn it ALL over to Him and He will restore your family. His grace and mercy are above anything we can understand!!!
    I watched Him work in me and in my husband and He will do it for you. Allow Him to transform you into the wife he made you to be. He is the master and creator of this entire universe.
    I will be praying for you
    Penelope

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, Dear Naomi ~

    I am so sorry for this painful journey. As I’ve been watching you walk through this season (from afar), I know you are clinging to Christ and looking to Him to be your protector and defender. Continue pressing into Him and His Word. I’m so glad you have a strong network of believers surrounding you. I hope they will continue to offer you support and biblical counsel as you stand for the redemption of your marriage, even when it looks like there is no hope.

    Remember, God is able to do what appears to be impossible!

    “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20–21)

    Pausing to pray for you ~

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, Penelope ~

    Thank you so much for sending your encouraging comment to Naomi and sharing how God has restored your marriage and worked in your life. That is so encouraging, and SO like our gracious Savior!

    Keep sharing His wonderful works!

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, Wilma ~

    Thanks for leaving a comment and sharing some of your story. I’m so thankful your husband caught the program. I hope that you find the book helpful and look forward to hearing how God is at work in your marriage!

    Also, if you are planning a group study, Gene Ebie at Moody Publishers works with churches on providing discounts for bulk purchases of the book.

    So thankful to hear that you and your husband are working together on your relationship (as a team), may God continue to deepen and grow your love for one another!

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, Nenaru ~

    I am praising God that He put you in the right spot (and even used your dog!) to hear the broadcast! That was no accident, but was by His sovereign appointment. I am so sorry for the painful events of your past, but I’m hopeful for your future. I’m thankful that we are never so far gone that God’s redeeming power can not rescue! He is at work in your life. I hope you’ll find the book helpful as you work toward a season of rebuilding in your marriage.

    I encourage you to step out in faith and humbly approach your husband and let him know you realize how you’ve contributed to your marital problems. Confession of sin is the first step on the road to unity.

    I encourage you to spend some time seeking God in prayer, writing out specific ways that you can see you’ve sinned against God and your husband. Ask God to show you specific things you need to ask his forgiveness of and share that with him.

    If you listened to the broadcast alone, you might consider listening to it again with your husband and ask him to share his heart with you, to let you know what ways he might be able to relate to our story. (You can also pull up online an interview we did with Revive Our Hearts.)

    Also, it might be helpful for both of you to view our marriage video together. Just click on the Video tab above and watch the video entitled: Marriage Miracle.”

    Do you have a few older women in your life who are spiritually mature and can help hold you accountable to learning how to demonstrate true love to your husband? I encourage you to ask God to supply some good “truth speakers” that will come alongside you in this journey!

    After reading “Fierce Women” you might also find it helpful to sign up for the 31-Day husband encouragement challenge. I’ll post that link below for you.

    I hope you are plugged into a healthy and biblical church body, I encourage you to look for a spiritually mature couple that you can spend time with, not in a “counseling setting,” but doing activities together or meals, so that you can be regularly exposed to a couple whose marriage relationship is a good example to follow.

    Be encouraged knowing that God is at work. He appointed the timing that you would hear the broadcast and begin this reparation journey. Please stay in touch and let me know how things are going. If you “subscribe” to the website (it’s free, just plug your email address into the subscribe box at the upper left hand column), you’ll receive a daily blog post (Mon thru Fri) from me that you might find helpful.

    Pausing to pray for you now and sending you the link below that many women have found helpful:

    https://www.reviveourhearts.com/resource-library/30-day-challenges/30-day-husband/

    Pausing to pray for you now, God is able!!

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, Brittany ~

    SO glad to have you joining me here on the website. Thank you for sharing so honestly in your comment. I’m glad to know that you are willing to apply yourself to growth in this area–as a young woman! Praying that you will be saved from years of heartache by going to work now in applying the truths of God’s Word to specific areas of your relationship.

    Adding a baby to the home, adds another level of stress, but it is also an added opportunity for spiritual growth and greater dependence on Christ. He uses the tough things in life to conform us to His image, if we allow Him to transform us through those challenging seasons.

    Do you have a few older women in your life who are spiritually mature and can help hold you accountable to learning how to demonstrate true love to your husband? I encourage you to ask God to supply some good “truth speakers” that will come alongside you in this journey!

    After reading “Fierce Women” you might also find it helpful to sign up for the 31-Day husband encouragement challenge. I’ll post that link below for you.

    I hope you are plugged into a healthy and biblical church body, I encourage you to look for a spiritually mature couple that you can spend time with, not in a “counseling setting,” but doing activities together or meals, so that you can be regularly exposed to a couple whose marriage relationship is a good example to follow.

    Be encouraged knowing that God is at work. He appointed the timing that you would hear the broadcast and begin this reparation journey. Please stay in touch and let me know how things are going. If you “subscribe” to the website (it’s free, just plug your email address into the subscribe box at the upper left hand column), you’ll receive a daily blog post (Mon thru Fri) from me that you might find helpful.

    The link below is one that many women have found helpful:
    https://www.reviveourhearts.com/resource-library/30-day-challenges/30-day-husband/

    Praying that you and your husband will begin to experience a deeper love and unity than you’ve ever imagined. May God use your marriage to display the beauty of the gospel to others!