Friday, 5 July 2013

A Formula for a Satisfying Marriage

Frankly the title of this particular blog is a little presumptuous not to mention misleading.  First let’s put things in perspective: God most likely wants you to have, at the very least, a satisfying marriage but He is more concerned that your marriage glorifies Him, that it brings Him honor and praise. 

The formula to which I refer is Satisfaction = Experience - Expectations

In other words the degree to which one finds their marriage satisfactory is dependent upon whether or not what they experience as married life is equal to or greater than what they expected being married would be like.

What you will discover is that the higher your expectations the less likely it is that you will be satisfied.  By definition an expectation is something you feel entitled to, something you deserve.  Therefore if my husband/wife meets my expectations I will not be appreciative because I feel that they are only doing for me what they “should” be doing for me.

In reality expectations start out as desires, they morph into expectations which become needs which ultimately become demands.  It doesn’t matter whether or not my expectations are reasonable or not, what matters is whether or not I feel “cheated” because I am not getting  what I think I deserve.

On the other hand even if my spouse doesn’t fulfill all my expectations, if my life with him/her is so good that it outweighs those items on my “wish list” that have gone unfulfilled,  I will still feel satisfied in my marriage.

Another way of thinking about this is to consider a scale, the kind with a balance beam and a plate on either side.  One side has a pile of your expectations, the other side has a stack of all you positive experiences.  If the expectation side weighs more you will be dissatisfied;  if the positive experiences outweigh the expectations you will be satisfied.

God says that He will supply all of our needs. (Philippians 4:19), do you think He is not capable of doing that?  Package up your demands, your perceived needs and your expectations and put them back into the desire box from whence they came.  When your husband/wife fulfills one of those desires thank him/her.  By the way there is nothing wrong with sharing your desires with your spouse provided it is something they can achieve.   If they fulfill them be thankful, if they don’t assume that it is something God deems you do not need.

The lower your expectations and the higher your experience as a married partner the more satisfied you will be.  Work on both pieces of the equation.  Look for ways to continue to increase your experiences as a married couple while at the same time reducing the number of expectations that you have brought into the marriage.  Your satisfaction will dramatically increase.

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