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Unpacking Expectations in Marriage

Setting the Stage for Healthy Intimacy

"Things are as they are… we suffer because we IMAGINED different." -Anonymous

In the realm of marriage, disappointment can sometimes feel like an unwelcome houseguest, overstaying its welcome and creating discomfort and discontent. A forgotten anniversary, a neglected chore, or even a lack of enthusiasm over a promotion. The seeds of disappointment, once planted, can grow into a sprawling tree of past failures and hurts, overshadowing the love and commitment that forms the foundation of the relationship. It's a cunning scheme by the enemy, using a single misstep to make you question your entire decision of marriage.

As mentioned in 2 Corinthians 9:8, "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work." This grace extends to our understanding of intimacy and the expectations we bring into our marriages.

What are Your Expectations for Intimacy?

In the context of marital intimacy, our expectations can sometimes be the elephant in the room. Contrary to popular belief, marital sex isn't always the earth-shattering, passion-filled encounter that media and popular culture depict. Sometimes, it's simply 'meh'. Other times, the rhythm might be elusive for months or even years. Interruptions are frequent, and disappointment often accompanies them.

If sex is a topic of contention in your marriage, the first step towards reconciliation is understanding and acknowledging these expectations. It's crucial to remember that both partners are bringing their own expectations, and disappointments, to the table. Embracing this reality is the first step towards realigning your marital compass.

The Ripple Effect of Unmet Expectations

Unmet expectations can easily transform into resentment, laying the groundwork for bitterness. This stubborn root spreads quickly if not addressed and eradicated promptly. For instance, if one partner dreams of a particular intimate act that the other is uncomfortable with, disappointment can easily set in. It's important to understand that it's okay, and healthy, to admit such feelings. It's not a life sentence of disappointment but merely a moment of sadness.

However, it's equally critical to avoid swinging the pendulum to the other extreme of expecting the worst in every intimate encounter. Such negativity is self-defeating and can detrimentally impact your desire for intimacy. Therefore, the best approach is to foster open and honest conversations about sexual expectations. Creating a 'no offense' zone can help both partners freely express their thoughts and desires without the fear of judgement, shame, or anger.

Setting Healthy Expectations

So, what constitutes healthy expectations in marital intimacy? Here are a few guiding principles:

  • Accept that not every intimate encounter will be amazing.

  • Understand that sex drives may differ or change over time.

  • Realize that there will always be new things to learn about your partner's body.

  • Recognize that you won't always be "in the mood" immediately.

  • Be comfortable with occasionally saying, "not tonight."

  • Make learning about each other fun and shame-free.

  • Embrace laughter in the bedroom.

  • Be open about what doesn't feel right or good.

  • Appreciate the enjoyment our bodies bring us as a God-given gift, free from sin.

Final Thoughts

In marriage, cultivating healthy expectations about sex is an ongoing journey, characterized by open conversations, mutual respect, and a deep understanding of each other's needs and desires. As you continue to navigate this journey together, remember the grace of God and His capacity to provide sufficiency in all things.

May your journey be blessed, your conversations fruitful, and your bond strengthened in this beautiful exploration of intimacy in your marriage. With God's grace and guidance, you're on a lifelong journey of discovery, learning to cherish each other and to grow together in love, understanding, and mutual respect.

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