By Christine Schubert
Like everyone else we had huge expectations when we began the adventure of joining our lives 37 years ago. We also had our share of disappointments in the following years.
Do we still struggle with frustrations of unfulfilled expectations?
Well, sometimes, and with some issues, even more than in earlier years. Getting older has its challenges (elderly parents to care for, grandchildren) and our physical needs seem to demand more attention and time.
Which expectations are realistic and which aren’t? Realistic expectations can be fulfilled. Today I don’t expect my husband to write in English (foreign language) but I do expect that he repairs a broken sink. Dividing our responsibilities according to our strengths has helped to minimize unrealistic expectations.
Over time we became aware of areas we can’t change. A good amount of tolerance and generosity made life easier.
There can be issues in marriages which cause deep pain. There might even be irresponsible behaviour which threatens to destroy the family, e.g. infidelity or addiction. In such a case it’s important to ask for change and seek help.
As we both agreed on the basic values of our marriage covenant, like truthfulness and fidelity, before we made our vows, we can rightly expect that we keep them in everyday life.
I learned not to expect my husband to be God, fulfilling the deep longings and wounds of my heart. Sometimes God ministers to me through my husband, who is not overwhelmed by impossible demands if I trust Jesus to meet my expectations. Also, I am not the answer to my husband’s issues. “Father, this man is your son in the first place. I trust you to care for/correct/heal your son”, has proven to be an effective prayer.
The need for good communication in marriage hasn’t ceased. When I share a desire, it’s received much better when it comes across as a wish and not a demand.
After many years together the picture in my mind of my husband is pretty fixed. Sometimes I don’t get it when he shares something which doesn’t fit into my view of him. Listening with an open mind changes my view of him and our relationship keeps growing.
How wonderful that life is still interesting when we grow older, isn’t it?
Christine Schubert is married to Georg and together they oversee REAPP (Relationship Enrichment by Applying Preventative Principles) worldwide. The teaching on covenant is an integral part of this relationship workshop. See reapp.org
Georg and Christine Schubert are long term staff with YWAM in the area of Family Ministries. They have been married for 37 years, are parents of four adult children and grandparents of three grandchildren (current in 2020).