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Realistic Expectations: Your Husband Is Not Jesus Jr.

You cannot hold your husband to a standard so high that he would have to be Jesus Jr. to achieve it. 

Even though your spouse is saved and being sanctified, he is not perfect (as you are not perfect); his old habits and sins did not fall away in the flesh when he accepted Christ as his Savior, only in the spirit, and we know the spirit and the flesh are always at war with one another.

For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. Galatians 5:17

One of the things that tears at and does damage to a marriage is unrealistic expectations, both in the physical and the spiritual relationship.  There is many a sad tale of ladies who have married men with habits and traits they found unacceptable in some fashion, believing that he would change after the fact, only to find out that this was woefully untrue.

It is true, however, that inviting Jesus to come and abide in us and make us new will yield a permanent (to the extent the recipient wishes to change) positive effect, but it will not happen overnight, and he may stumble.  Another mistake is to judge your husband against another, whether Christian or not. Judging anyone’s spiritual growth is better left to God while we admit we have no place in this work as we remember what Matthew imparted to us in chapter 7, verses 1-2:

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Before we can begin to release those unrighteous thoughts and attitudes we must first recognize them for what they are.  One morning as I was pouring out my heart to God, detailing all the things wrong with my husband, God interrupted me to say, “You are no picnic to live with either!”  And don’t be fooled into thinking God doesn’t speak that way because He communicates with us in the way He knows will be most effective.

I sat up and opened my eyes, and said, “Oh, yeah, right.”  Now that’s totally true, and it is true of most, if not all of us.  Living with someone is to be on a constant course of conflict because they have their own quirks and biases and struggles, and you have yours.  I don’t mean to say you will clash and fight all of the time.  What I mean to say is that conflict is inevitable and the only thing you can change is the outcome by way of your reaction.

Realize your spouse is fallible and his flesh is weak.  Give him credit for how far he has come in the Lord and help him on his journey.  Lead by example.

Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives. Peter 3:1

When my husband is being very un-Christ-like, I pray.  I acknowledge that God is in charge of attitudes, and I, only mine. I ask God to do a work, to intervene on my behalf.  Sometimes He does, sometimes He does not.  Sometimes the situation warrants His intervention; sometimes He means for me to grow under the challenge conflict brings and learn how to deal.  Whatever the case, I do my spouse an injustice when I fail to acknowledge and thank God for his admirable traits, and when I judge him on his less-than-admirable ones alone.

Marriage is a wonderful opportunity to give grace and more grace, as does the Lord. This makes you over into the image of Jesus just as your spouse is being made over as well.

In what ways are you tempted to point out your spouses flaws? How can you see God using these circumstances to refine you?

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