What Did You Expect?

John Wesley’s mother, Susanna, wrote to her son saying, ‘Tis an unhappiness almost peculiar to our family, that your father and I seldom think alike.’[1] Well, in my experience of pastoral ministry (not to mention my own marriage!), I have seen that dear Susanna was definitely wrong to assume that thinking differently than your spouse was a plight unique to her marriage.

Often times the presence of unrealistic or unbiblical expectations creates a stumbling block in Christian marriages. In fact, I have to wonder if this is not a contributing factor to most conflicts in marriage. Usually it is hard to ignore the reality of disagreement or conflict, especially with our spouse. But I think the way we deal with conflict or disagreement often fails to go deep enough. There are many superficial ways to deal with problems in relationships that I think fail to get at the heart of our expectations for our spouse and our marriage.  A quick-fix that doesn’t really address the heart issues may postpone conflict for awhile but not really resolve the heart problems from which conflict comes. We must let the love of Christ and the lordship of Christ be clearly governing and shaping our hopes, concerns and desires for our marriage and our spouse.

With this in mind, I recommend you married folks check out this book by Paul Tripp. Although I would generally encourage you to use the book format if you are able, there are also DVD and audio versions available for those of you who would be helped by that.


[1] John Pollock, John Wesley, p. 36

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