I thought he’d make me happy. We have such a chemistry. Finishing each other’s sentence makes us know we were meant to be together. It’s this…you know sweet connection, where he gets me and I so get him! Everybody marvels at how we just…you know…connect! It doesn’t hurt that he is so gorgeous and thinks I’m his perfect match. He’s the hero who rescues me when I’m having an off day and makes everything just right!
There are times when I realize that he wants something different from what I want but…with a little persuasion…he comes right around. He allows me to charm him way to easily, though. I just love him!
Recently, I felt like something was wrong. The wedding was literally everything I wanted and he looked amazing in his tailored royal blue suit. It’s the look he had in his eyes as he watched me saunter down the aisle…it was as if I was the most beautiful creation he had ever laid eyes on. I couldn’t help blushing repeatedly.
A rare occurrence lately.
We’re only a few months married, and he seems more meditative and removed. I’m not sure what’s wrong, but I don’t feel happy. Why isn’t he making me happy?
To be honest, I too have become quiet to hide my disappointment. We still laugh together but I don’t feel his effort to do everything in his power to make me happy.
What’s wrong in this story? I’m sure you saw some red flags. Here is one.
No one should carry the heavy weight of responsibility of making you happy. They cannot bear it and they will eventually fail you. Your true satisfaction comes from GOD. He fills every void and makes you a joy-giver. Without a real relationship with Jesus, you will seek to fill that void and be frustrated by man’s inability to do so. The one who made you has everything you need and is more than willing to pour His perfect love into you when you sincerely ask. Then you will be your best self in relationships, giving and receiving love.
“Never place the gravity of marriage on the fickle frame of feelings.”
Tell me the Secret to a Great Marriage
Tell me your secret. How do you have a great marriage? If this answer were to be given in a nutshell, many would not want to crack it open. After carefully observing that nut, one may deduce that it is too simple. Another may say that it is much more complex than what meets the eye. It is a mystery! Surely if it were straightforward, everyone would rise to the occasion and enjoy the bliss of marriage. The philosophical mind may say it is indeed simply complex.
What do I say?
I say it is simple!
Why? The components of a great marriage are not hidden and are not unreachable but rather available to all.
The truth we do not care to hear is that the marriage we want will cost us more than we are sometimes willing to pay.
What will it cost, you say?
Let’s consider just one aspect of marriage…your right to be right. Sometimes our ultimate goal in a fight is to prove that we were right. Soaking in that victory still does not give you the feeling you want. To be right at any cost will leave you making an enemy of your greatest ally. So, what should your goal be in a fight? Let’s face it! There will be fights, but you must learn to fight right.
Your goal in a fight must be for the marriage to win!! I can’t state this enough! It’s quite likely that we were not taught to do so at any point in our development. We have instead learnt to justify our reason for being right and provide evidence, as if in a courtroom, as to why the other person is wrong. We pull out every proof we can find to make it abundantly clear that we are right! Then we gloat and enjoy a short-lived moment of victory. While you’re winning, your marriage is losing. There is now a wedge that slides in between the two. The two who are supposed to become one, now have a greater challenge in operating as a unit. Over the years this practice creates a major dividing force that can eventually end in divorce.
Fighting right requires having the right motive in the first place and being willing to lay down the trophy of being right in order to understand the other person, while carefully protecting his or her heart. This translates to choosing the right tone, the right words and the right place and time to have this discussion.
Do you see why obtaining a flourishing marriage is within reach but many refuse to reach for it because it requires sacrifice?
So back to the question. How do you have a flourishing marriage? A flourishing marriage requires self-sacrifice on both sides.
There are some inexplicable features in a person’s character that distinguishes them from others. It draws you in and makes them miss-able upon their departure. Something in you is magnetized to them and you come alive! But is a strong relationship much more than an attraction on various levels?
Many things that we like about people can change with the arrival of new circumstances and before long you are introduced to a brand-new person. Or is it? We’ve all heard of marriages that were dissolved because a person ‘changed.’ It could be that the person never did change but simply let down his/her guard.
the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual
What makes a person truly beautiful is their consistency of character. Character is found at the very core of a person. It’s what determines what they would sacrifice for and find great delight to do, even though the benefit to them may seem miniscule.
As a person engages in a relationship that has marriage as its end game, this notable personal feature must be prioritized.
You might say that’s hard. How do you know someone’s character?
The truth is that there is a myriad of activities in our world that can make a person look like “the one.” For example, romantic acts that he reads out of a play book or duplicated from a friend. It is wonderful that he made the effort to woo you, but the act is not the character.
There are some tell tale signs of a person’s character. Let’s start with a big one – Money. It’s not how much he/she makes. It’s how he/she spends it. “For where your treasure is there your heart is also.” Mat 6:21 Your use of money tells what you prioritize and what you value.
How you spend your Time does the same, along with displaying the order you keep or maintain in your life.
How you use your Words will eventually reveal your heart. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Mat 12:34
How you handle Disappointments or Pressure, great or small, indicate your heart posture and mindset.
How much he/she Sacrifices for you and the relationship, reveals its value to him/her.
These are heavy enough clues to help you identify the character of persons before investing of yourself deeply into a relationship.
Character makes a man who made a promise to a child, go out of his way to fulfill his word. Character makes a woman carve out time to visit with her aged parent, while resisting all the other seemingly greater demands. Character makes a person prioritize tithing, serving and fulfilling commitments in Church. Character makes a man whose testosterones are urging him to go further sexually, seek to protect the woman he’s with and honor the God he serves. Telltale signs of true character are all over your relationships.
Are you seeing enough character to persuade you that he/she is the one?
Visit taniacase.com to further learn how to build strong Kingdom relationships.
I get it! You are not a “mealist!” Right? Me-ology could never be a part of your theology! After all, you love people and enjoy doing things for people. As a matter of fact you go out of your way to let your friends know that you care for them. There is not a selfish bone in your body!
Great! Now that we have that out of the way, you can relax. We are going to talk about your friends now, so gather all the information you can so you can help them.
You would admit that there is no way of knowing how good a friend you are until you have faithfully walked your friend through good and testing times and remain a true friend. Likewise you don’t truly know that you are unselfish unless you have had opportunity to deny yourself for others. Ironically, a me-alist or me-ologist can truly be helpful to others, but within a set constraint define only by him or her. If only life was this tidy!
It’s been a long time since you have had the feeling that someone gets you like this does. Face it, he is Mr. Fantastic! But Sis…Could your years of “doing you” make it difficult to do “us?”
The early stages of relationships make little sacrificial demand on a person and besides, both are intrigued by the mystery of the other. The consideration is whether or not he checks your boxes and you his. In between the laughter and compliments, you’re wondering if he is the one. Any me-alistic tendency is well under wraps and your cutest side is always what is seen and heard. You can see that this guy really likes you and you are over the moon. He fills your thoughts and you both cannot stop talking. Your primary focus is making each other happy and this force of “nice-ness” pulls you to conclude that your relationship must step it up to the next level of commitment.
“We are like, really serious about each other. He said he wants to spend his life loving me!”
Attraction is a strong force!
You might think that being selfish is just not sharing your things and money with others. However, a deeper level of selfishness is engrained in the heart and expresses itself through control, silence, inexplicable limits as well as self imposed irrational rules. Ouch!
A deeper bond is being formed, but with it comes greater expectations. These expectations are like spirits, present but unseen or heard. They are driving your relationship and you don’t know it. You reason that since he has gotten so many things right, the rest should be breeze. As expectation rises, so does the demand to sacrifice your set ways. The greatest goal is no longer to show my best side but to protect my turf. While the heart is intensely devoted, there is discomfort caused by this person who wants to pull the me-alist from her comfort zone.
Mood: “I literally don’t talk to people when I feel like this.” “No I don’t need your help with this – I must do it alone.” “You know there are certain vulnerabilities we avoid sharing.” “This is the way I do life!” “This is my space!” “It’s hard to keep up with your emotional demands. You know I’m not the affectionate type. I told you how I was…why did you expect something else, though.“
Compounding the problem: The closer you get to him, the more visible his flaws.
All of us have a tendency to be selfish and self-focused. As mentioned in the original me-ology blog, there is a greater propensity for women who have been single for a long time and live alone. This person has had a lot of experience thinking, planning for, taking care of herself. It’s a huge adjustment to let someone in all the way.
Relationships end unnecessarily simply because the level of adjustment for a me-ologist seem insurmountable and sacrifice too much! It may even appear that this fellow is asking for too much!
You might think that this person should satisfy you and make you happy, but that is a tall order for any man to fill. As a matter of fact, he can’t even make himself happy. That God-size void can only be filled by the one who gave you the desire for LOVE. He, Himself is LOVE.
What if we can help you understand that you may just have some me-alistic blind spots that you can work through. Whether the guy is in view or not, begin to check yourself. If you do have a tried, tested and proven friend, ask if there are blind spots that you should work on so that your relationships can be healthy.
Authentic relationships require sacrifice. Sacrifice means it’s inconvenient and sometimes goes beyond what you were ready to give. You don’t have to get it right! However, you have to commit to advancing toward it.
We all have some measure of Me-ology, but we’re after spotting it and making the adjustments. If you’re like me, I could share anything with you but my unprocessed thoughts. You can imagine that this is particularly annoying when I’m clearly displeased but process the problem over a three day period, while the person is waiting for a response. This is unfair and selfish! What does the person do in the meantime? Self-doubt, question the viability of the relationship, fear offending you, decide to withhold from you as well? If we are not careful, we can make a little god of ourselves, which we expect people to worship.
Compromise merges two entities in a relationship. If we are maturing we will realize that there are many ways that things can be done, even unfamiliar ways. Sis…and yes Bruh, don’t get so caught up with you that the ones closest to to are ignored and hurt.
Me-ology is toxic and can kill relationships! Spot it in your relationship and yourself and remove quickly!
It’s love and it’s beautiful! It’s heart-thumping and nerve-racking, but sweet! There is a bond, a connection and a feeling like forever is not long enough. It’s what the movies are made of! There is the occasional step back that makes you wonder if this is “too good to be true.” But what more could you ask for when the love is undeniable?
So glad you asked. Let’s stop for just a crucial moment and turn down the background music to really take a sober look at the marriage you passionately desire. Like any iconic building, marriage needs a strong foundation. After building that strong foundation, please turn back up the music and let the church bells ring with joyful laughter.
Even before starting the building, please consult the ‘Marriage Maker’ to find out if it is worth your time, effort and emotional investment. Did GOD give you the nod? This might leave you feeling lost, so let’s be clear. Very rarely will the voice of GOD thunder from heaven in approval of your spousal choice. Instead, this requires a relationship already established with Him where you, as His sheep, hear His voice. In worship when you have drawn close to Him and sense His presence, pop the question and wait. You might not get a worded answer, but you have started the quest. He is a good Father who will not give you a stone instead of bread. God wants you to know who to marry.
For me, He guided me by His profound peace. I came to realize that many of my decisions would be made this way since He wants me (us) to know Him this intimately. God will, in addition, confirm His approval in many ways: some very logical and others crafted just for you.
The work has just begun!
Not because he or she is the “one” means that it will be smooth sailing! You both have to empty your trunk of junk from the past, air your expectations in marriage and make a plan for this new family unit that you can both agree to. You guessed it…get pre-marital counseling! By the way, counseling should start when you both decide to pursue each other for the purpose of marriage – courtship. It does not start after you have sent out your “Save the Dates” for the wedding.
This preparation period if mishandled will turn something beautiful into a horror show! Besides the trunk of junk that each person carries into relationships, each has undefined expectations that one may consider is commonly known. Oh, contrary!
Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Pr 4:7
God is entrusting you to love His daughter or His son and it will require serious adjustments on both sides. Some things will come naturally for you, while others, you will be taught in the process of learning to love each other. It is work! It’s not automatic! The more you are yielded to God, the more easily you will love like 1 Cor 13. This chapter speaks of committed love, the only kind that marriage should be built on. Note…1 Cor 13 goes where no emotion nor fling can follow. It too takes work!
Courting is an exciting time of discovery and romance, laden with the mystery of weaving two lives together. I remember how keenly we planned our many excursions which strangely erased unfamiliarity and brought us closer together. The task of getting to know each other was the most rewarding job we could have been given. Certainly, we would do it well...like two nerds with sharpened pencils at the front of the class.
When we decided to upgrade from friendship to courtship, we promptly brought our decision to our pastor. So here was the assignment: get a journal and extensively log all your expectations in marriage and after writing, exchange books with each other. Hmmmm…interesting!!!
While you may call our premarital counseling somewhat of a drive-by counseling, these two nerds took the assignment to task journeying across Jamaica with our journals. Whether with fresh caught fish on the seaside or discovering a castle on a mountainside, we pulled out our Expectations journals (EJ). Discovering each other stirred deep conversations.
Like flipping the pages of our hearts to view the next set of details we uncovered our expectations in marriage ranging from how we want to be loved to who washes the dishes. Dating became fruitful and very interesting.
As I often say, the marriage you’re going to have is already programmed into your heart. It therefore makes sense to unveil the heart unashamedly in the early stages so each gather enough information to know if this is the one worth committing to. Differences are certain, but an amicable conclusion can often be reached.
After honestly and diligently going through a range of topics in our EJ, we were better prepared to tackle the tumultuous early years of marriage, understanding each other’s expectations.
Here’s a taste of a question you’ll tackle in the EJ, “If we have a conflict, how would you like me to approach you?”
After 20 years of marriage, we want to help couples navigate through the premarital stages with the Expectations Journal.
Unlike a plain journal, we have made it special with prompts and pictures that you will make into your own memorabilia, while getting on the same page with your spouse. We have provided a list of potent subjects that premarital couples should certainly discuss before marriage.
Interestingly, we still have our Expectations Journal and carry them on almost every anniversary. We chuckle over want we use to expect and refresh what we now expect. This premarital tool can accompany you on any date.
Get ready! Choose a topic. Write your heart out about it! Exchange books !
You may think you know what to expect!
Enjoy each other!
Order your copy of The Expectations Journal by Tania Case on Amazon.com.