What If My Marriage Has Disappointed me?

Photo Credit: Quotes Tree

Photo Credit: Quotes Tree

This post continues the conversation that began with our post You Could Be Dissing Your Marriage And Not Know It.

I’ve been thinking a lot about disappointments and how detrimental they can be to a marriage. If you have a normal marriage there will be disappointments because God intends to use our disappointments to teach us in ways we would never learn without them.

We all have expectations. But is this bad? It’s a good thing when we’re expecting realistic things from our spouse, like faithfulness, provisions, strong work ethic, and a willingness to fight sexual temptations on a daily basis. But sometimes our expectations go too far. A wife may expect her husband to come home from a long day at work and be 100% at her service. A husband may think his wife should always be ready for hot and heavy sex without regard for her day or emotional state, after all this doesn’t hinder his desire.

There are many other examples, but these are two that can be a continual drip.

It’s no surprise that we will face disappointments. The important question to ask is how should we handle them?

It’s good to look at the Bible for our conclusions. When Moses came down from the mountain after receiving God’s commandments etched in stone by His very hand, he found the entire nation whoring after other gods. Sure, Moses had been gone a long time–over a month–but that time was short when measuring the faithfulness of one’s heart.

One of my favorite accounts in the Bible is the story of Jesus comforting Mary and Martha after the death of their brother, Lazarus. They knew Jesus was the Son of God, so they couldn’t fathom His unwillingness to come heal their brother when he became sick. What did this mean except that Christ didn’t care for them. Based on this false assumption Mary and Martha were greatly disappointed.

Yet in both of these circumstances, God was doing something bigger in order to display His glory on a larger scale. He promised He will never leave us. When we are disappointed in the way our marriage is going, the first thing most of us do is pray. We know that He is a present help to us in our times of need, but what do we do with disappointment when God seems to be silent? Does this give us a license to take matters into our own hands?

Going back to the story of Moses, Aaron was disappointed that his brother had delayed so long in returning. The people were even more disappointed and demanded action. Instead of encouraging the people to wait on their faithful God to send Moses back, they quickly ran after other gods, even gods they had crafted with their own hands. And Aaron not only allowed it, but did what he could to please their demands.

Wow. It’s hard to believe they couldn’t trust Moses for 30 plus days. Yet if we’re honest we do this with our spouse. If they have told us they’ll do something and there is a longer than expected delay, we’re tempted to assume the worse and attach motives to their lack.

How do I know? Because I do this to Tom far more than I care to admit. If we want to change and grow our marriage for God’s glory we MUST admit, confess and repent of our disappointments that turn to critical demands.

In what ways are you disappointed, right now, with your spouse?

Is it a reasonable expectation? Have you attached motives that you assume are the cause of their lack? May I encourage you to stop. Give your spouse the benefit of the doubt. There may be things hindering them that you don’t realize. The only way to know for sure is to talk. Don’t let your disappointments cause an unhealthy separation between you. Instead use them to discover more about your own heart. These times are intended by God to help us see what we’re craving. The Israelites were craving a God who was more comfortable that they could see, feel and control. We may be craving to control our spouse as well, but that’s another post for another day.

What disappointments is the Lord highlighting in your heart right now. Will you purpose to talk with your spouse about your struggle? Here’s a helpful hint: Let the conversation be focused on you and your heart rather than on what they have or haven’t done. After all God uses the lack in our spouse to reveal lack in our own trust of Him and His ability to do what seems impossible.

About Debi Walter

Face it, marriage is hard work. But when cultivated daily the fruit produced will satisfy for a lifetime. We're here to help with ideas and encouragement along the way. Having been married 36 years and counting, we share what we've learned with practical tips, Biblical Truths, Date night ideas to help you plow your own vineyard for God's glory.
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16 Responses to What If My Marriage Has Disappointed me?

  1. anonymous says:

    But what to do when he won’t talk. So very disappointed. We’ve been married 18 years. His adult daughter, who lived with us a few years as a child, excludes me. On our family vacation she took pictures of our family, including her family. She sends us pictures and there is not one photo of me in all the pictures. Mother’s Day she sends me nothing, not even a call. Father’s Day, her children send my husband a card and gift. I send them gifts and she tells them it’s from grandpa….not mentioning me. They call and want to talk to grandpa….not mentioning me. Yes, I feel left out. When I tried to talk to my husband, he acknowledges that he sees it, but says, “what do you want me to do?” I don’t want him/you to ‘do’ anything. I just want you to talk to me and comfort me. Does he? No. We end the night not talking to one another because he can’t talk to me or comfort me. ….
    I want to be able to talk to my husband. Like I told him, I just want to talk to you. I don’t want to go to another person and seek comfort from a friend…it’s you I want to talk to.
    So I just give it to God and pray for Gd to help me to forgive him and his daughter and help me to love them like He loves me and them. Even when it’s undeserved or when I don’t feel loved or when I don’t feel like loving them. Please pray for me. If it were not for my own kids, I would walk out of this marriage. They’re in their late teens. I truly often wish God would just take me…..or him. I know that is killing him in my heart. And I truly am sorry to feel this way. Praying for God’s forgiveness and to help me to love.

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    • Debi Walter says:

      Dear Anon,
      I’m so sorry to hear of your troubled marriage. The best encouragement I can offer is to remember God has not left you alone as you wait for Him to bring the changes you desire. Ask Him to help you see and change the things He’s after in your heart during this time. It’s always good to run to the arms of your Savior when the arms of your spouse aren’t comforting you. He knows what it is to be disappointed in relationships, even betrayed. But it didn’t change His commitment to love us to the point of death on a Cross. Certainly we can’t love perfectly like He does, but He will help us do what is impossible in our own strength. I will pray for you that God will give you hope even when it seems there is none, and that He will help you love your husband and his children sacrificially as Christ has loved us.
      May you be comforted by His Word today:
      “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.”

      (2 Corinthians 1:3-7 ESV)

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  2. anonymous says:

    Just to add…..in case you’re wondering. I met him 5 years after his divorce. He had full custody of his daughter. Her mom has always been part of her life, but not the kind of mom she needed. I cannot take the place of her mom….as a mom myself, I understand that. She has said she wants her family to be like ours. I don’t know what is keeping her from accepting me or loving me. I’ve tried to talk to her, but get no where. She has feelings of abandonment and wanting to be loved and have everyone’s affection and attention…except mine. I want to understand this not only with my mind, but with my heart and to show her grace and mercy. Please pray for me to be able to do this, because as she seeks this love and affection from everyone around me, my tendency is to feel left out and unloved by not only her, but the rest of my own family. Ahhh, the sin in my own heart of self. I know I need to die to self! Again, please pray for me.

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  3. Mary-Jo Pallotto says:

    Thank you these thoughts and ideas are very helpful.

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  4. Scott says:

    Great post Debi. You are so right that proactively addressing disappointments is so crucial to keeping wounds from festering.

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  5. carol says:

    Pray for me as I address some issues that keep cropping up in our marriage. I feel like we have a good marriage. At the same time there are some things that do need to be worked on. Money things, as well as spiritual things.

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    • Debi Walter says:

      Carol,
      Our best advice is to go making observations, not accusations.

      Father, I pray for Carol now that you will perfectly orchestrate the timing of this needed conversation. We realize every good work comes from you, even in our marriage. Please help Carol say what she needs to say in a way that stirs her husband to respond and that it will glorify You.
      In Jesus’ name,
      Amen

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  6. Amy Morgan says:

    I also get “what do you want me to do?” This makes me so mad. It isn’t that I think he can do something about what is going on, but I would feel better if he would hug me and tell me that things will work out and be ok. I don’t get that. That is what festers worse than anything.

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    • Debi Walter says:

      Amy, one question, have you shared with your husband exactly how you would like him to respond, like you did in this comment? Our husbands don’t think like us and they need help in getting this from us. And it’s best to not do it in the heat of the moment when the tension is already high.

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      • mrsrooster says:

        He is not a really “physical” kind of guy. It is like pulling teeth.

        Things are really stressful here due to unemployment and all the mess that goes with it. No one ever said that it would be easy. I just wish we could get a break. The last year has been terrible. We will be married 16 years in August.

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      • Debi Walter says:

        Mrs. Rooster,
        I’m so sorry to hear of your struggle. Unemployment is a very difficult thing. Your husband is most likely feeling all kinds of discouragement. I would encourage you to pray and ask God to help you think of ways to come alongside him and encourage him. It has to be something he would find encouraging, not necessarily what you would. God will answer such prayers because He is all about helping your marriage make it through this stressful time. I’m praying things improve.
        Debi

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      • mrsrooster says:

        Thank you Debi. I have tears in my eyes because you cared enough to reply to me. Also while reading your blog again, my Rooster got a call about a job that is set to start in 3 weeks to a month. It is for a very small family run company. It is funny because after reading your blog earlier, I was sitting out on our balcony and told him that I didn’t care what he did, that I loved him no matter what. I told him that I supported him no matter what. He hugged me. He also reminded me it was date night and that we couldn’t forget that. I also had downloaded a free Praying for your Husband email from a site.

        Thank you again. It means so much to me and I look forward to reading your blog more.

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      • Debi Walter says:

        Now I have tears in my eyes at the faithfulness of God to lift your eyes above the trouble to Him! I pray you have the best date night you’ve had in a while. Recount the goodness of God!
        Blessings,
        Debi

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