Jan 292014 1 Response

3 Things Marriage Can Never Do For You

Imagine having a job with an impossible job description. It would be miserable. No matter what you attempted or accomplished, you would be a failure because the expectations given cannot be met.

This is how many people feel in marriage. The expectations given to them by their spouse are impossible to meet. What’s worse, in a marriage, the expectations wrongly given to a spouse are often things which we can only do for ourselves.

In these situations, we are blaming our spouses for something only we can do. It’s an impossible situation. (See: Respect–A Necessary Ingredient for a Successful Marriage)

Marriage has the potential of being the most important and satisfying relationship in our lives. It can be a place where our best attributes and abilities are used for the well-being of another and their very best is used for our well-being. It can provide a climate where our deepest hurts can be revealed and healing can be found. It can bring security, which keeps us from feeling all alone while also having someone who is always on our side.

Marriage has tremendous potential. (See: It’s Happening Everywhere)

Yet it often fails to live up to that standard. Perhaps it does so because we approach marriage with the wrong expectations. The very things we are supposed to bring to a marriage are often the things which we wrongly assume marriage will bring us. What we think should be the rewards of marriage are actually the responsibilities of marriage.

When we confuse the two, it results in dissatisfaction. Of course it doesn’t just lead to dissatisfaction with marriage; it results in dissatisfaction with our spouse.

When we expect marriage to bring us something that it doesn’t, it becomes the fault of our spouse, not marriage. When we confuse the responsibilities and rewards of marriage, we end up blaming our spouse for what we were supposed to do. (See: How to Stay Married in the Tough Times)

There are at least three things which marriage can never do for you:

Marriage cannot make you happy. It can aid your happiness, but it cannot make you happy. Generally speaking, two years after the wedding ceremony each spouse will be as happy as they were two years before the wedding ceremony. Marriage doesn’t change the level of happiness or satisfaction in our lives. Happiness is something we bring to marriage, not something we gain from it. (See: I Just Want to Be Happy)

Marriage cannot give you significance. This may be the biggest misconception by those who are not married. Many people believe that being married will make them feel significant. They believe they will feel value when they feel loved. Actually, value does not come as a byproduct of being loved; more often, value is a byproduct of loving. When we love others, we feel value. This love does not have to wait for marriage. By loving those around us, we can experience the significance and value we desire. (There is a theological reason for this which we will save for another blog. Ultimately, value comes from us recognizing God’s love for us. As we realize God’s love for us, we are freed to love others. As we love others, we will better feel and understand our value.)

Marriage cannot connect you to God. Marriage is not a sacrament. It does not make grace present in our lives. Marriage can be sacramental. It can be an outward sign of what is taking place inside a person. Marriage doesn’t give us grace, but can be a platform through which God’s grace shines through us. A vibrant connection with God is something each spouse should bring to the marriage, not something one spouse carries by themselves for the marriage.

Consider these three responsibilities which each person should bring to a marriage—happiness, satisfaction, and a connection with God. Are you struggling with one or more of them? Are you looking at your spouse with the expectation of them giving one of these to you? If you lack any of these, you should:

1. Repent. Seek forgiveness from your spouse for expecting them to do something for you which you are supposed to do for yourself.

2. Identify someone other than your spouse who can assist you in working toward fulfilling your responsibilities in a marriage.

3. Do the work necessary to find happiness, feel significance, and make a connection with God. (See: Change Your Marriage Today)

Bring these three things to your marriage instead of expecting them from your marriage.

For More, See:

5 Keys to Save Your Marriage

13 Questions to Determine If You Need Marriage Counseling

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One Response to 3 Things Marriage Can Never Do For You
  1. […] 1. “You should make me happy.” Marriage should add to our happiness, but our spouse isn&... kevinathompson.com/9-toxic-attitudes-marriage

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