Written by Katie Sprunger
Valentine's Day! A day we think about love, flowers, chocolates, and gushy cards. Instead, it often leads to a day of unmet expectations and hurt feelings. Trust me, I speak from experience.
Let’s start at the beginning. At a young age, we have a deep need to be noticed, appreciated, and loved. I think these are needs in all of us. And I think these needs are in us because God created us that way. He created us for relationships and intimacy with Him and others. Just read the beginning of Genesis. God created a partner for Adam because Adam needed someone else to do life with. He needed a partner. He needed relationships.
As women, we have a strong desire for close relationships. We are wired for intimacy. When discussing our marriages or dating relationships, we can fail miserably. Why do I say this? Well, I believe that our expectations kill our relationships. When we think about Hollywood and social media, we are often left feeling as though our spouse or boyfriend doesn’t care about us or notice our needs. We expect him to be “god” in our lives and he can never live up to that expectation.
I spent many years learning this the hard way. After being married 5-6 years, we continued to have this ongoing circle in our relationship. Though for the most part, I was very satisfied in our relationship, I still struggled with my unmet expectations. I’d often question myself, “Doesn’t he see he isn’t speaking my love language? Why do we keep arguing about this or that?” I’d try to talk with him about it and it ended up leaving us both really frustrated with one another.
Then one day I finally reached surrender. I started to just let my husband be himself. I desperately tried to send my expectations out the door. I released my husband to just love me as he saw fit. I made it more a priority to pray for myself to grant him freedom and I prayed over him that God would direct him how to best love and care for me. And let me tell you, something transformational has happened in our marriage.
My husband who struggled to mutter a few words of affirmation to me began immersing me in encouragement. I began to speak to him how I wanted to honor him and respect him. I shared with him what I loved about him. He did the same to me. We started to communicate about our expectations and when we felt disappointed with one another, rather than allow frustration to take hold.
You see, this couldn’t happen when I continued to fight for something that wasn’t mine to fight. God needed me to surrender this. God needed to teach my husband how to best love and care for me. And I needed God to teach me how to best love my husband. Oh, and let me tell you, I’m not perfect at this thing called marriage. However, I can say that I have learned to ask for forgiveness and apologize much more quickly than I used to.
So this Valentine’s Day, celebrate the gift of love and that special someone in your life. Get dressed up, buy a fun card, and go on a date. Just remember to not place so many expectations on that one night. He may not buy you a card or get you flowers. Is it really that big of a deal? Choose your battles and encourage your man to be exactly what God designed him to be. I promise you can’t go wrong with that!