I have a wedding day regret.
I didn’t look at my soon-to-be husband while I was walking down the aisle.
Looking back, I wish someone had reminded me 4.3 seconds before the church doors opened: There will be many distractions, many people. Keep your eyes on your man. The look he gives you will be priceless. You’ll share tears. Don’t. Look. Away.
But no one reminded me, and as soon as the church doors opened, my eyes were distracted by the full pews, the photographer, the wet tears streaming down my face.
About five steps before reaching the altar, I looked up at my man and wondered how I had missed him on this most important day.
This memory came back recently as I was reading Jen Weaver’s new book, A Wife’s Secret to Happiness.
First of all, I have to say that Jen’s writing is hilariously honest and full of convicting, powerful truths.
When I finished the book, I wanted to invite her over for coffee and dessert. She feels like a friend. She gets the coinciding struggle and beauty of the wife life.
But back to my regret…
As I think back on the few moments I spent walking down the aisle, I’m tempted to let it follow me around. For months after our wedding day, I went to weddings and watched as brides didn’t make the same mistake I had made. I wished for a do-over.
Want to know why I struggled with this fairly small incident for so many months?
The world tells us that our wedding day will be a certain way – that we should wear a fancy dress, walk down a beautiful aisle, stare into our soon-to-be-husband’s eyes, and share beautiful tears together. And I so easily bought into it.
Even after my wedding day I was still buying into it.
So, as I read the following paragraph from Jen’s book, something in me softened.
“See, long before the ‘first comes love, then comes marriage’ checklist, first came love and his name is Jesus. Before we could ever walk down the aisle, make mistakes, or create our tasks lists, Christ established our worth. The Lord doesn’t prescribe to the lay-in-the-bed-you-made philosophy. He calls us into lives of abundance.”
This applies to so much more than my wedding day mistake.
It applies to the labels we’ve given ourselves (or our husbands). It applies to the mistakes we’ve made and the failures we’d like to forget. And it applies to our false expectations of marriage.
I strongly believe that expectations – big and small alike – are killing our marriages. We start by expecting the perfect wedding day, then move on to expectations about our sex lives, our family roles, and the future.
I do this. And if you’re a human woman, you do this too.
How do we step away from false, worldly expectations in marriage?
According to Jen (and I agree wholeheartedly), we enjoy the blessing of confident expectation – the blessing of what God will do when we surrender our lives and marriages to Him.
At the end of the chapter that holds the refreshing quote I shared above, Jen offers several ways to grow as wives.
Here are my three favorites related to this whole mess of expectations in marriage and seeking Truth in the midst of them.
How to Deal with Expectations in Marriage
ONE – Talk with Jesus about your identity in him. Ask Him how he would describe you to his friends. Ask Jesus to help you see yourself through his eyes and according to his titles, not your own.
TWO – Be honest with your husband about each of your expectations and responsibilities. Talk through your perspectives and find ways to make each other’s role a joy, not a burden.
THREE – It’s okay to be disappointed if things aren’t turning out like you hoped. But don’t dwell in discouragement. Acknowledge your emotions and ask the Lord to build your faith.
All of this goodness – the truth shared here about expectations and our reality in Christ – is taken from only one chapter of Jen’s book. There are ten more chapters brimming with gold nuggets of wisdom related to the blessings God intends for marriage.
I love Jen’s book because she challenges us to dig into our habits as wives and choose to live differently. This challenge to live in confident expectation is one of those habits.
Some of the others include the blessing of…
- a provider
- dreams fulfilled
- a safe haven
- …and more.
Now, as I write these words to you, the pit-in-my-stomach feeling related to my wedding day regret is no longer present. And the lessons I learned from that moment have spilled over into many more sweet lessons about my marriage and my worth.
Do I wish I had a do-over? Yes.
Do I recognize that expectations kill marriages, identities, and futures? Yes.
Do I choose to live in abundance, recognizing daily my worth in Christ? Yes.
I pray that you will consider grabbing Jen’s book today. There is so much beauty – so much freedom – in the blessings God set aside for marriage.
Loosening our grip on worldly expectations just barely scratches the surface.
“In a world of not enough, and marriages settling for good enough, press further into God and receive his more-than-enough.” – Jen Weaver