Welcome back to Marriage Monday! Did you catch my post last week on Avoiding Unrealistic Expectations in Marriage? It is so easy to enter into marriage with starry-eyed notions. Let's face it, we all have unrealistic expectations about life in general! For example, I expected my Internet to be working this weekend, which it wasn't. I also expected the Marriage Monday post for today that I started last week to still be waiting for me in my Drafts folder for me to quickly finish this morning. Of course, it wasn't there! I also expected my blog button to be working, which you may have already discovered wasn't the case! Yes, daily life is full of many unexpected trials, delays, disappointments and difficulties, so of course, we shouldn't expect the marriage of two imperfect individuals to be any different. But somehow we do!
As young brides we often expect our handsome, young husbands to be our "knights in shining armor," saving us from all of our problems! Even if we notice a few "warts" during our dating or courtship, we expect those to all disappear when we say, "I do," because we fully expect that frog to become our Prince Charming! In real life, our Prince may continue to exhibit a few frog-like characteristics for the rest of his life! The real test of our commitment and love is whether we are willing to treat him like a Prince even if he sometimes acts like a frog!
Many of the disappointments that women (and men) face in marriage are a result of not understanding the differences between men and women. I love the way Virginia Fugate explains this in her excellent book, On the Other Side of the Garden:
Courtship days are probably one of the happiest times of a woman's life, because she and her future husband spend a great deal of time together. During this time a woman's future husband becomes the center of her life. She usually assumes that her fiancee wants to make her the center of her life as well. Therefore, when after the wedding her husband's pursuit ceases somewhat, or even altogether, she may become confused and hurt. Because he no longer does the things he did while they dated, she may begin to feel that her husband doesn't love her anymore. A wife can overcome many of her disappointments when she accepts that her husband's drives in their relationship are not, nor ever will be, identical to her own.
In contrast to a woman's desire to make her man the center of her life, a man's major drive is to lead, protect and provide for his family. However, such responsibility is an extremely difficult, lonely and discouraging task. Therefore, a man's goal during courtship is to identify and to secure a supportive helpmate and companion. He feels a strong need for a wife to ease his loneliness and to support his responsibility. A man is attracted to the woman who supports his dreams for the future and the one who encourages him during the times he feels like giving up. Once a man has married, the objective of winning the woman of his choice is completed and the husband is ready to move on to conquer his main pursuits -- that of protecting and providing for his family. Furthermore, he expects his wife to move on to become his helpmate -- that is to help make his task less lonely and difficult. He too, may feel puzzled when he discovers that his wife wants to continue the activities of courtship, rather than to move on to other goals of living. This fact may not be very flattering to a woman's romantic, feminine soul, but men are motivated more by goals than by their emotions. It isn't that a man is totally void of any emotional desire for intimacy; however, developing close relationships is not usually a goal a man actively works to achieve."
I'm curious what you think of this quote? Did you find this to be true in your marriage? Did your husband change his focus from pursuing you and winning your heart to providing for and protecting you after you got married?? With so much role confusion these days, I wonder if this changes the way men interact with their wives and what their expectations are. I know that many men enter marriage expecting their wives to help provide for the family. Many women may enter marriage with that expectation as well. I think that women still like being protected by their man. Is that true? I realize that young men are being trained to be more sensitive and relationship-oriented than in the past. However, the basic nature of men and women has not changed, and the roles that God designed are still the pattern for success.
Your Turn to Share:
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Did you find married life to be different from what you expected? Did your husband treat you differently after you were married? Did you sense him turning his focus away from "winning you" and towards his career? or other goals? How have you adjusted your expectations to fit reality? What do you do when your Prince acts like a Frog?? I'd love your feedback on any of these topics! Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment here or over on my Facebook page, so we might all be encouraged and built up as wives!
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