by: Cris Corzine-McCloskey
Here is the fantasy I brought into marriage: My future husband would be my soul mate, hand-picked by God to be perfect for me. We would fall deeply in love, and on our wedding night we would read Song of Solomon together, pray, and fall into each other’s arms, inflamed in a blaze of love.
While I did add a touch of satire, that is still the crux of what I believed. As a therapist, I know all of us enter our marriage with some fantasy driven, rose-colored expectations. But if you have been paying attention through this series, unmet, unrealistic expectations are the core of most of our problems.
Guess what? Much of what we believe about marriage is not in the Bible. Ideas such as “the one,” “soul mate,” and being “in love” are not in there. We believe our spiritual, sexual, relational, and material needs are in the pot at the end of the matrimonial rainbow. Then we say “I do,” and our fantasy meets reality. The result is never pretty.
I went into my marriage with a lot of cultural and church taught error. When my fantasy met reality, I had to find out what the Bible said about love and matrimony. There is a process called cleaving (sounds unpleasant), the idea of sacrificial love (OUCH!! That never feels good), dying to self (double ouch) and having the kind of love that covers a multitude of sins and believes the best about someone. Pepper in themes about turning the other cheek, forgiving 7 times 70, and submitting and you are closer to God’s idea of love and marriage.
If that was preached from the pulpit on a regular basis, there might be more people embracing singleness. But with the Christian divorce rate nearly equal to that of the general population, something has gone horribly awry.
We, women, want a leading man from a romance novel who will read us scripture, be our protector, and the spiritual head of our household (but he’d better lead the way we want). And since kids might read this, I’m not going to say what men want. If you enter marriage to get your needs met, you are doomed before you say “I do” because you are going in selfish with unrealistic expectations. God wants us to learn how to lay down our lives and love sacrificially. If both parties are doing that, we have harmony and God’s idea of marital bliss is achieved. But most of the time, both parties are working their own agenda and ticked off at the other for not complying.
God says He is the supplier of our needs, our protector, our safe place, and our source. While He may use your spouse to meet some of your needs, they are not supposed to be your source of love and joy. He is. Accepting that and letting your spouse off the hook is going to free you to enjoy them for who they are instead of being angry at them for not giving you what you think you need.
And here is the actual pot I discovered at the end of my matrimonial rainbow. When I killed off the fantasy and embraced a more Christ-centered view of marriage, I found joy and happiness in my marriage. There is something glorious about mutually loving another for who God made us instead of trying to force each other into a fantasy driven mold. That kind of love makes room for our flaws and throws expectations out the window. Trust me, it’s way better than the fantasy you are trying to achieve.